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History of Holotropic breathwork

Breathwork: resources
      The science and alternative medicine form of Holotropic Breathwork was developed by Stanislov and Cristina Grof during the 1970s and 1980s. During 1950s they studied medicine and psychoanalysis at the Charles University School of Medicine in Prague. During 1960s, Dr. Grof was involved in an important study as a principle investigator. This was a clinical study of the possible therapeutic potential of a psychedelic drug provided by Sandoz Pharmaceuticals. Sometime during the research he noticed that under highly controlled conditions, many subjects might enter a "non-ordinary state" which was "indistinguishable from those described in the ancient mystical traditions and spiritual philosophies of the East."

      Dr. Grof came to the United States in In 1967, and continued his research. He worked as an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University and then as the Chief of Psychiatric Research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center in Baltimore, Maryland. In collaboration with Abraham Maslow and Anthony Sutich, he started a new discipline called "Transpersonal Psychology." This form of psychology explored the experiences, which are outside the boundaries of our body and personal identity.

      In 1974, after ten years of yoga practice Christina Grof experienced a sudden experience of life-force energy and change in consciousness during a meditation period led by a Siddha Yoga Master from South India. Subsequently this led to a roller coaster of emotional experiences over the next year. In 1975, Christina Grof was referred to Dr. Stan Grof who helped her by staying with the emotions and moving through them.

      During the late 1970s, Stan Grof and Christina Grof began to develop the science of Holotropic Breathwork. From his past experience, Dr. Grof knew the most powerful technique of inducing non-ordinary states was psychedelic substances. However, use of such substances involve serious health risks. Grofs developed a safe and effective way of using one's own breath to induce non-ordinary states of consciousness comparable to the use of psychedelic substances.

      Christina Grof in 1980 founded the Spiritual Emergence Network (SEN) to help the many individuals who, like her, are struggling or had become stuck with their own inner transformation emotional conflicts.

      In the early 1980s, Stan and Christina Grof travelled all over the world to spread the messages of Holotropic Breathwork and Transpersonal Psychology. By 1987 they had developed their first structured training program in Holotropic Breathwork.

Selected reading

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