The Original Idea Behind Holotropic Breathwork | The magazine

Drug-Free Healing Journeys at Holotropic Breathwork San Diego

There is breath to get through your day, and then there is breath to leave your day entirely. To San Diego Holotropic Breathworkpractitioners go through three-hour sessions using breathing techniques to enter an altered state of consciousness.

The goal is to achieve the emotional release or therapeutic benefits that some people associate with psychedelic drugs, but without the real part of drug ingestion, says Lori Camp, a facilitator who has practiced the technique for more than 17 years.

“When you’re at the peak of feeling your emotions, you become aware of certain feelings that are stuck,” she says. “And when you become aware of them, you can process them by breathing through them.”

His work is based on the theories of Dr. Stan Grof, a Czech psychiatrist who studied the effects of LSD on the psyche and developed a process to achieve similar results without taking hallucinogens. For the first hour, practitioners breathe very rapidly – not quite hyperventilating, but almost – while listening to very intense music. “Like African tribal drums,” Camp says.

Holotropic Breathwork, Cow Tongue

The second hour is emotional music. At this point, the breathing slows down and “the music guides you on the journey to a place where you are at the height of your emotions,” she says.

The third hour is soothing music where you come back to your current reality and create an art mandala (a meditation object). The intention of the mandala is to remind you of what you have been through and to help you reintegrate into your waking life.

The practice is like taking a deep breath but on an extreme level. Facilitators and camp participants alike guide, teaching them how to use the breath to overcome emotional trauma that may have left a small anchor in their body, causing them pain. Holotropic breathwork allows participants to overcome these negative moments.

Holotropic Breathwork, Mat

“Sometimes someone is doing their breathing work and all of a sudden they freeze up and stop breathing because there’s some kind of emotional blockage embedded somewhere in their body,” Camp says. “So if they’re making a conscious effort with the guidance of whoever’s sitting with them, the encouragement is to keep breathing, to keep breathing, and then you breathe through that. You might cry, or some people might even scream. But that’s part of the process of letting go of that particular ingrained emotion.

The camp offers five to six hour private sessions or larger group sessions. She says people who have had sessions say it has helped them develop healthier habits, lose weight or work through a difficult relationship.

“I built a soundproof room in my living room because if someone starts screaming, I want to be ready,” says Camp, who offers sessions at her home. “Also the music is pretty loud because you don’t want to be distracted by the ambulances or the jackhammer or the birds.”

Irene B. Bowles