Holotropic Breathwork

Holotropic Breathwork Workshops

Full-day Group Breathwork events are generally offered in Fairfield, Iowa, twice per year
$125 per person
email JeffreyandCielle@gmail.com for details

Private one-on-one Breathwork sessions
Cielle and Jeffrey also offer private Breathwork sessions in Fairfield, Iowa.  These sessions last 4 to 5 hours including preparation, experience and integration.
$50 per hour. Preparation before the session includes watching a video we've made to familiarize you with the process.

email JeffreyandCielle@gmail.com for details on workshops and private breathwork sessions.

Jeffrey and Cielle Backstrom were certified as Holotropic Breathwork facilitators in July 2017

Short videos featuring Stan Grof

YouTube Video

The Way of the Psychonaut Teaser

The best, concise, and most succinct description we've seen!  

We didn’t know quite what we were getting into!

We had joined a weekend gathering with a group of people, largely involving indigenous, inner-journeying practices. The retreat was offered by a Jungian psychologist who was also familiar with shamanic practices. And we learned we would be having a “breathwork” session; that sounded pretty interesting. We were way more right than we expected!

What we soon found out is that this breathing, this particular form of breathing, is powerful stuff indeed. Holotropic Breathwork, developed by Stanislav Grof (one of the founders of Transpersonal Psychology) is a potent catalyzing technology, using breath in a specific way, together with music and supportive help as needed, which does indeed move us “toward wholeness” - that is to say: “holo-tropic.”

So what do we mean by moving toward wholeness, and what are the characteristics and effects of such a journey? Here’s a working definition: A process is “holotropic” when it enhances the natural movement of all parts of the self - body, mind, emotions, spirit, soul - toward maturity, fullness, and harmony - toward wholeness. The body is supporting our day-to-day needs as well as our ongoing drive to fulfill our potential. We’re able to think clearly; emotionally we’re increasingly free from the sabotage of old psychic wounds or trauma. As a result we’re increasingly free to enjoy interactions with others. And free to respond without encumbrance, to the stirrings which our deepest self calls forth.

Czech-born psychiatrist Stanislav Grof began his work with the deep psyche in the 1950’s. He found that incorporating methodologies to bring conscious access to very deep material could allow subjects to complete old processes which have been stuck - held in the deep psyche - and thence to resolve them. He learned that such “uncompleted processes” may include not only the traumatic events of early life, but also those from birth, pre-natal, and even past-life or ancestral material.

Holotropic Breathwork is the methodology Grof developed to allow access to such material, and to further facilitate the completion and/or release of such material.

A high point of 2017 for us was being certified as Holotropic Breathwork facilitators, the culmination of a 3-year training process. We now offer workshops and private sessions in Holotropic Breathwork.

Here we are in July 2017 at the completion of our Holotropic Breathwork facilitor training course with Tav Sparks.
Tav is the Director of Grof Transpersonal Training and leads training events in the United States and worldwide. He has been the primary faculty member since the training began in 1989. Since 1985, Tav has led numerous workshops internationally in Holotropic Breathwork and in transpersonal approaches to wellness and recovery.

What is Holotropic Breathwork?

Holotropic Breathwork combines use of controlled breathing, music, and body work with an intention to heal. The process involves working in pairs where one person is in the role of “breather” and the other takes the role of "sitter". Sessions last for two to three hours. The sitter's role is simply to be available to assist the breather, not to interfere or interrupt the process. The same is true for trained facilitators, who are available as helpers if necessary.

Breathers lie down on mats on the floor while the sitter sits nearby. Participants are advised that it is better not to have a goal or specific agenda when beginning a breathwork, but rather to trust that whatever happens is the best outcome for healing. The facilitators lead a guided relaxation to help the breather relax the body in preparation for the breathing. The Holotropic Breathwork experience is, for the most part, internal and largely nonverbal, without interventions. Although facilitators suggest to breathers, at the beginning of the session, that they increase the pace and depth of the breath, breathers are also encouraged to find their own pace and rhythm. Thus, after the breathwork session begins, breathers are not "coached" in any particular way of breathing. The facilitators play evocative or rhythmic music as the breathing deepens.

With the help of the breath, evocative music, a safe atmosphere, relaxation, and a willingness to embrace the experiences, breathers are guided by their own inner healing function to whatever experience will bring them healing and transformation.

The music continues for two to three hours. Sitters watch over their breather, providing a sense of shelter and support. During the breathwork process, the breather can have quite a wide range of possible experiences. What is visible from the outside varies. Some people are very still while others rock, cry out, or move to the music. Experiences can include a variety of physical sensations, deep feelings of joy or serenity, “yogic sleep,” meditative states, or re-experiencing and releasing trauma or traumas or the birth process. Some people report encounters with mythic or archetypal storylines, past-life experiences, or direct spiritual or religious awakenings. Many see emotionally charged visual images, feel energy moving through their bodies, receive intuitive insights, and clarify troublesome issues in their lives.

Often participants report that they release accumulated stress, release emotions from old traumas, gain an increased trust in themselves and their bodies, and feel that they have understood and can now transcend old patterns of behavior that have brought unwanted results.

The experiences vary from individual to individual and from session to session. The same individual will often have different experiences each time he or she does Breathwork.

At the end of the session, the facilitator checks in with the breather. If the breathwork has not resolved all of the emotional and physical tensions activated during the session, the facilitator may offer focused work to help release any stuck energy .