Holotropic Breathwork Work Shop:January 28 Palo Alto, California

by frankiespeakin 23 Replies latest jw friends

  • frankiespeakin

    I figured some of those those in the California bay area might be interested. I plan on attending if all goes well. Czechoslovakian psychiatrist Stanislav Groff conducted research on LSD for use in therapy(pychoanalysis) he is also the originator of Holotropic Breathwork.

    Here is a link to his web site:http://www.holotropic.com/

    Also heres an interesting interview that professor Grof had with LSD discoverer Dr. Albert Hoffman:http://www.maps.org/news-letters/v11n2/11222gro.html

    Partial clip:

    Before we start this interview, I would like to add a little personal note. Dr. Hofmann's discovery of LSD and his work, in general, have had a profound impact on my own professional and personal life, for which I am immensely grateful. My first LSD session in 1956, when I was a beginning psychiatrist, was a critical landmark and turning point for me and since then my life has never been the same. So this interview gives me the opportunity to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to Dr. Hofmann for the influence he has had on my life. What I would like to ask you first has something to do with the way people tend to qualify your discovery of the psychedelic effects of LSD. It is usually referred to as a pure accident, implying that there was nothing more involved in this entire matter than your fortuitous intoxication. But I know from you that the history was somewhat more complex than that. Can you clarify this for us?

    Hofmann: Yes, it is true that my discovery of LSD was a chance discovery, but it was the outcome of planned experiments and these experiments took place in the framework of systematic pharmaceutical, chemical research. It could better be described as serendipity. That means that you look for something, you have a certain plan, and then you find something else, different, that may nevertheless be useful.
    And that is exactly what happened with LSD. I had developed a method for the synthesis of lysergic acid amides in the context of a systematic study, the purpose of which was to synthesize natural ergot alkaloids. At that time, in the 1930s, a new ergot alkaloid had been discovered which is named ergometrine, or ergonovine. It is the real active principle of ergot. The presence of this alkaloid in ergot is the reason why it has been used in obstetrics to stop uterine bleeding and as an oxytoxic. And this substance turned out to be an amide of lysergic acid.
    Until the late 1930s, it had not been possible to prepare such substances in the laboratory. I discovered a technical procedure that made it possible and was able to achieve partial synthesis of ergonovine; I then also used this procedure to prepare other lysergamides. First came the modifications of ergonovine and one of these modifications, methergine, a homologue of ergonovine, is today the leading medicament in obstetrics to stop postpartum bleeding. I also used this procedure to prepare not so close derivatives of ergonovine, more different than methergine. And one of these compounds was LSD-25, lysergic acid diethylamide. The plan, the intention I had, was to prepare an analeptic, a circulatory and breathing stimulant.

    Grof: Was there some indication in the early animal experiments that LSD could be an activating agent?

    Hofmann: No, I made LSD because it is an analog of coramine, which is diethylamide of nicotinic acid. Because of the structural relationship between LSD and the ring of the nicotinic acid, I hoped to get an analeptic. But our pharmacologist concluded that lysergic acid diethylamide did not have any clinically interesting properties and suggested that it be dropped out of research. That happened in the year 1938. But all along, I had a strange feeling that we should again test this substance on a broader scale. Then, five years later, in 1943, I finally decided to synthesize another sample of LSD. At the end of the synthesis, something very strange happened. I got into a dreamlike condition, in which all of my surrounding was transforming. My experience of reality had changed and it was rather agreeable. In any case, I left the laboratory, went home, lay down and enjoyed a nice dreamlike state which then passed away.

    Grof: Did you immediately suspect that this was an intoxication from the drug you were working with?

    Hofmann: I had the suspicion that it was caused by something from the laboratory, but I believed that it could have been caused by the solvent I had used at that time. I had used dichlorethylene, something like chloroform, in the very final state of preparation. So, the next day in the laboratory, I tried the solvent and nothing happened. Then I considered the possibility that it might have been the substance I had prepared. But it did not make any sense. I knew I was very careful and my work was very clean. And, of course, I did not taste anything.
    But I was open to the fact that, maybe, some trace of the substance had in some way passed into my body. That, maybe, a drop of the solution had come onto my fingertips and, when I rubbed my eyes, it got into the conjunctival sacs. But, if this compound was the reason for this strange experience I had, then it had to be very, very active. That was clear from the very beginning because I had not ingested anything. I was puzzled and decided to conduct some experiments to clear up this thing, to find out what was the reason for that extraordinary condition I had experienced.
    Being a cautious man, I started this experiment with only 0.25 milligrams (the ergot alkaloids are usually administered in milligram dosages). That is an extremely low dose and I expected it would not have any activity. I thought I would increase very cautiously the quantity of LSD in subsequent experiments to see if any of the dosages were active. It turned out that when I ingested this quarter of a milligram, I had taken a very strong, a very high dosage of a very, very active compound. I got into a strange state of consciousness. Everything in my surroundings changed - the colors, the forms, and also the feeling of my ego had changed. It was very strange! And I became very anxious that I had taken too much and I asked my assistant to accompany me home. At that time we had no car available and we went home by bicycle.

    Holotropic Breathwork is a powerful approach to self-exploration and healing that integrates insights from modern consciousness research, anthropology, various depth psychologies, transpersonal psychology, Eastern spiritual practices, and mystical traditions of the world. The name Holotropic means literally "moving toward wholeness" (from the Greek "holos"=whole and "trepein"=moving in the direction of something).

    The process itself uses very simple means: it combines accelerated breathing with evocative music in a special set and setting. With the eyes closed and lying on a mat, each person uses their own breath and the music in the room to enter a non-ordinary state of consciousness. This state activates the natural inner healing process of the individual's psyche, bringing him or her a particular set of internal experiences. With the inner healing intelligence guiding the process, the quality and content brought forth is unique to each person and for that particular time and place. While recurring themes are common, no two sessions are ever alike.

    Additional elements of the process include focused energy release work and mandala drawing. Holotropic Breathwork is usually done in groups, although individual sessions are also possible. Within the groups, people work in pairs and alternate in the roles of experiencer and "sitter". 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.

  • Incense_and_Peppermints

    forgive me if i missed something, but how do Holotropic Breathwork and LSD fit together in this? confused... i meditate and really know how breathing can completely alter your physical and emotional state, although i've never heard of this.

    this sounds really interesting>> Additional elements of the process include focused energy release work and mandala drawing.

    i have some sand that i got from a mandala 'demonstration'... i have yet to release it however...

  • frankiespeakin


    I gave that info to give a little insight about Dr. Grof he has sevral books out.

    Heres a link that discribes breathwork:


    Hope you enjoy it.

  • Incense_and_Peppermints

    "A buildup of oxygen in the blood in combination with evocative music and a special set and setting causes the breather to experience a sort of mild trip." that's true, and in my experience, you can get to that space a little on your own, even in an ordinary place, especially if you do "Buddah breathing". thanks, Frankie, for the cool info...

  • frankiespeakin


    Thanks, for the info. I'm trying to find out more before I do the work shop and I might experiment before. I know I have a lot of childhood trama that is being corrected everyday. I think to do this surpervised might get me on the right track. I think if a person can get in touch with his higherself a lot of problems can be solved,,I think you can do so,,then perhaps some powerful healing will happen for you mentally as well as physically. Right now I have these waves of what seems to be compassion. Some times they leave me weak,,as I reflect on unkindnesses I did to my grandmother when I was 5 or 6,,I was troubled by my mothers and fathers violence towards themselves and sometime me,,not very often did this happen but when it did it was tramatic and caused me to loss feelings. Not all feeling but maybe 60% and so when I think of my loving grandmother and how I didn't listen to her and caused her emotional pain. While it happened I was oblivious to what I was doing. And to see it is to be filled with compassion. I know I should not beat myself up over this but just look at it and sort of burn it up so to speak.

    Here an interesting place where a guy that does book reviews.Here is part of an interesting review on the book:

    The Stormy Search For The Self, Christina Grof and Stanislav Grof, M.D.,


    Here a little snipet:

    Reviewed by John A. Speyrer

    This is a most interesting and important book. Yet, during its first reading, a few years ago, I was not as impressed as when I re-read it four years later. The first occasion was immediately after I had attended one of Dr. Stanislav Grof's Holotropic Breathwork workshops in New Orleans. (See From Primal Therapy To Holotropic Breathwork). I have always found the relationship between some psychoses and mysticism fascinating.

    As the webmaster of the Primal Psychotherapy Page, I received a number of article submissions about this subject (See A Personal Experience in Primal Therapy by Bernadette Murphy), and have written book reviews dealing with transpersonal aspects of severe mental breakdowns. Over the years, my interest in learning more about the interfaces of psychosis, mysticism, and transpersonal phenomena has grown. I had the opportunity to re-read The Stormy Search For The Self when a local book store went out of business and offered deep discounts of their entire inventory. (Would you believe, $1.00 per book?) I bought a shopping basket of books and one of them was the subject of this review.

    * * *

    This book came to be written when Christina Grof began having transformative experiences initially triggered by the aftermath of the delivery and birth of her first child. The experience consisted of uncontrollable shaking and visions of white light. Two years later, when she gave birth to her second child, her defenses were again lowered and a similar, but more powerful experience occurred. Later when she began spiritual exercises with an Indian guru the process continued to build.

    Soon afterwards, an automobile accident even further intensified her emerging process with feelings of union with all of the universe including feelings of death and rebirth. (Also see Mary Lynn Adzema's Resurrection On Highway 101 ). After a divorce and fearful of what her escalating lack of equanimity might signify, she sought help at Esalen in Big Sur, California, where she met (and later married) Stanislav Grof, a Czech Republic native and psychiatrist who had done extensive clinical research with the use of LSD in psychotherapy.

    Christina Grof was experiencing the very same material which her husband had observed in his LSD patients who were exploring the depths of their unconscious under the psychedelic's influence. Grof soon realized that his wife was enduring a ". . .crisis of spiritual transformation and opening." Such disturbing access, they write in this book, is a relatively common experience, and has been recorded in world literature from antiquity to the present. Because of the critical nature of the material being uncovered, the Grofs named the experience a spiritual emergency. Such emergences, when properly supported, and not tranquilized away by drugs, often lead to spiritual emergence and/or physical and mental health breakthroughs, which are the result of making conscious, concealed unconscious traumas of one's past.

    According to the Grofs, these experiences

    "When someone is reliving the memory of birth he or she often confronts
    extreme forms of fear of death, loss of control, and insanity; as a result
    he or she may behave in most unusual ways and the condition
    can have a psychoticlike character."
    -- Stanislav Grof, M.D.

  • Incense_and_Peppermints
    I'm trying to find out more before I do the work shop and I might experiment before.

    that sounds good. what are you gonna do, if you don't mind sharing. (if not, it's ok.)

    Some times they leave me weak,,as I reflect on unkindnesses I did to my grandmother when I was 5 or 6........While it happened I was oblivious to what I was doing. And to see it is to be filled with compassion. I know I should not beat myself up over this

    i hope you don't. you were only five years old, and not accountable in the least. sometimes we wish we could go back and do something differently, and you can't. but you are filled with compassion now. i love what you said about "burning it up"... one thing i did when i was in therapy was to write down the names of people who hurt me. i was told to do this with my left hand, so i would really have to concentrate, and the writing came out all crooked like a child's. then i lit a fire outside in the portable fireplace and set fire to it. i found so much comfort watching it burn... fire is very purifying, whether it's a real fre or a symbolic one. my experiences caused me to feel everything way too much... i empathize with everything so acutely that i feel the weight of it pressing on me and i wish i could just go numb. i hear Prozac makes you do that... go numb....but i can't bear the thought of surrendering my mind to a chemical. i read this quote and i think of myself: "A human creature born abnormally, inhumanely sensitive. To him...a touch is a blow, a sound is a noise, a misfortune is a tragedy, a joy is an ecstasy, a friend is a lover, a lover is a god, and failure is death."

    I know I have a lot of childhood trama that is being corrected everyday

    it's a never-ending process, that's for sure. thank you for the links - i'll definitely read them. if you feel like sharing when it's all over, please let me know how it went. and if not, that's all right too. i'll keep good thoughts for you.

  • frankiespeakin


    that sounds good. what are you gonna do, if you don't mind sharing. (if not, it's ok.)

    I may read some books and try beathing on my own. I also ordered some Amanita Muscara (114 dried grams)(it's legal thru the mail). I've done them before, I went into a time warp with them once,, took abouot 20 grams and good pot. I may increase it to 30 grams I don't seem to get very sick on them at all. I've experienced the void a couple of times thru various psychodelics,,so I think I will perhaps do a trip or 2 in the before the workshop. I seem to be getting a little stronger emotionally and not so oblivious as before.

  • Incense_and_Peppermints

    "Amanita Muscara"?

  • frankiespeakin

    Just punch in your Google " Amanita muscaria " and a ton of sites come up that's the cheapest one I found so far.


  • twolips

    Hoffman's Brew was a very interesting movie.It's about the history of LSD. I bought it on a canadian web site. It won a Canadian movie award last year.

    Also a good book is Zig ZAg Zen , Buddhism and Psychedelics with many people contributing to make this book. With great art work by Alex Grey and others. He also helped with the editing. Just started reading it . I found it at Esalen, Big Sur.

    The workshop sounds intersting Frankiespeaking. Thanks for the other info too.

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