Breath is the vehicle of life and the bridge between spirit and matter. In german language breath means ‘Atem’. Still in these words there is the connection to our highest inner self, in Sanskrit: The ‘Ātman’ visible. Conscious and unconscious forces combine through breathing as magically as nowhere else in our body. Unfortunately, not enough people know about the vast potential of the breath, which is often so unconsciously carried out. It has healing effects for all realms of our body and mind. Proper breathing in our day to day life alone can resolve chronic ailments that are never thought to have had anything to do with the breath. But everything in our body has to do with it. Correct inhalation supplies all organs with sufficient oxygen. Hopefully, through exhalation, the carbon dioxide leaves the body as completely as possible. Books can be filled with the description of this process. Our livelong and intertwined exchange with mother nature. Taking in and letting go.


Breath itself lives

The breath itself is alive. We experience this as soon as we become calm like in a in a Vipassana Pranayama meditation. By strengthening the breath and and increasing its rhythm, our whole self-perception will totally change. That is the way it is been done in a Breathwork session. With good conditions and only after a few minutes, the breathing person enters into a state, in which the self-healing processes, important for the dissolving of traumas, can be triggered. Conscious and strong breathing work is a key for sustainable emotional healing in altered states of consciousness without any medication.

The number of Google searches with the term Breathwork has increased almost five-fold in the last four years. The main reason for this is: Breathwork works and more and more people are noticing something.

How it works

In a workshop, the breathing people usually lie next to each other in a circle on the floor. Everyone is watched by a sitter, who is not breathing himself. He gives security and trust. This is important for the breather as he should be able to totally let go of the surroundings and focus on inner activities. The sound of ambient, tribal, percussive and ethereal music is pulsating the connecting people as they start with their inner journey. It becomes stronger and stronger. As higher consciousness integrates all of the lower ones including the normal or better said, so familiar ‘waking consciousness’, you are present for the things that happen around you. But you may want to follow an inner, physical or visual realm that is opening before you. This in strong Holotropic Breathwork sessions leads participants back to birth-related or pre-birth events. But you might also find yourself in another room or another person at the same time.

Breathwork doesn’t always have to go that far. The breath work can also be built into a meditation as an intense, much shorter episode. Then it does not pursue the claim to a trauma resolution, but simply has a relieving effect on the nervous and immune systems. If the Breathwork session is intended to go as far, then a group sharing will take place for everyone to tell and integrate the experiences. It is not recommended to go to several sessions in a row, as new life structures need some time to evolve around the inner re-connection.

And the risk?

Without the right set and setting, including trust in the workshop providers and your own companion, there will be no healing process. In contrast to the more externally induced change in consciousness about substances, there is no risk of someone getting lost in the process and lacking the necessary help. Why is breathing so safe? The intensive work of breathing can strengthen the inner healer sufficiently to overcome the built-up inner resistance and fears and to go his own way – or not. In the worst case scenario, nothing happens during a session. At least then nothing noticeable for the participant. As a rule, however, the work dissolves trauma in its very origin, which conventional psychiatric therapies rarely could make visible.

Human beings are only a few breaths away from the resolution of identifications associated with many everyday problems. It is not easy to describe in words what this connection and the memory of establishing the connection with just a few deep breaths means for persons, who returned to the everyday breathing of ‘waking’ consciousness. I support the strong popularization of breathing workshops, for example by Holotropic Breathwork or Grof Breathwork – the schools around the creator and re-discoverer of this fascinating method Stan Grof, The Alchemy of Breath or Sacred Breath.

The fact that you could today become a Breathwork Facilitator/ Trainer within two weeks during a yoga retreat in Bali is a positive sign for the for awareness of this method. It gives hope that one day everyone will at least know about its existence, just as everyone knows about yoga. Breathwork should be something normal. There is no need for guru teachers charging thousands of dollars for a two-week training course, or hundreds of dollars in fees per breathing session. Breathwork is an inner work. It works anyway and only when the set and setting are right. Above all, it needs security and trust. Good facilitators have arrived at their own stability. You have sincere humility towards the individual healing processes of the participants and may even be able to support them with bodywork.

“He suddenly understood the message of so many spiritual teachers that the only revolution that can work is the inner transformation of every human being.”

Stanislav Grof