What can I expect in a workshop?
Holotropic Breathwork™ workshops are led by trained facilitators and follow a consistent format designed to create a supportive and safe container for the participants’ experience. Workshops may vary in length from one day to five or six days, but the flow of the sessions is always similar, incorporating three essential elements: preparation, session, and integration..
The workshop typically begins with an introductory circle and a detailed orientation to the process. This gives you the opportunity to get to know the other group members and prepare for the work ahead.
You will be asked to choose a partner for the sessions. Between you, you will decide who will be the breather in the first session and who will be the sitter (the support person). We try and create time for the breathers and sitters to get acquainted and to talk about their aspirations for the workshop before the sessions begin.
Each breathwork session is two-and-a-half to three hours long. The session begins with breathers lying on a mat with their support person sitting beside them. One of the facilitators will lead a brief guided reflection to help everyone settle into a relaxed state.
The breathers will then be asked to focus on their breath and to breathe more deeply and a little faster than usual. This is the extent of the technique, and for each person the breathing will be somewhat different. As a breather we encourage you to continue this emphasis on the breathing for the first part of the session – coming back to the breath throughout the session. During the reflection, the facilitator will suggest that you focus your awareness not only on your breath but also your body – sensations, feelings and movements – as a means of connecting with what is emerging in your process.
There will be music playing throughout the session. It will begin with a strong, driving rhythm and be played quite loudly, helping to energize your breathing. Over the course of the session, the quality and tempo of the music will change, acting as a ‘carrier wave’ for your experience.
The facilitators are there to help you as you enter into and move through the experience. They are not there to lead you or influence the session. Facilitators will rarely interrupt your experience, but are there if you need support or want encouragement or guidance.
Entering a non-ordinary state of consciousness through breathwork is different for each person. Some experiences are expansive and blissful while others may be physically challenging or emotionally intense.
You may find that at times the process is very quiet, inward and contemplative. At other times you may feel as if you want to express the experiences or feelings through movements or sounds. The facilitators and sitters will make sure that you are safe and supported if the need for expression arises.
You are in charge of the process at all times and can come back to ‘normal’ consciousness when you wish.
Your experience may not feel like a logical sequence, but it will usually lead you through experiences that (upon reflection, if not at the time) offer meaningful personal insight. Although aspects of the session may seem initially confusing or challenging, there is almost inevitably an important gem that materialises from the experience.
Over time, the elegant ‘rightness’ of the experience usually becomes clear. It is as if we each have an inner wisdom that intuitively guides us to experience what will most support our individual movement towards healing, insight and wholeness.
After the breathwork session you are encouraged to take some quiet time to create images from your inner journey with art materials or collage, or to write notes to help recall what you experienced during the session. At some point you will have the opportunity to share your experience with your breathwork partner and the rest of the group.
The workshop usually concludes with a group integration session, reflecting on what each person has learnt from the experience and to help with the transition back into everyday life.
We advise plenty of quiet time on the day after the workshop. Be gentle with yourself, and avoid going directly into socially or physically demanding situations. In other words, plan time to digest.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *