Holotropic Breathwork (HB) is a modality that was created by Dr. Stan Grof. A Holotropic Breathwork Workshop is an all-day event where participants pair up and have two separate roles during the day – Sitter and Breather. The “Sitter” experience is considered to be integral to the experience. The cost of the event is generally about $175.00 – $250.00. Also, it must be done in-person with one trained facilitator available for approx. every 8 – 10 participants. As a breather, the participant lays down, with the sitter beside him/her and does a deeper faster breathing for approximately 3 hours. The breathing session should be approx 3 hours, but an absolute minimum of 2 1/2 hours long, for it to be called Holotropic Breathwork. During that time, the sitter holds space for him/her, hands the breather tissues, water, etc etc. The sitter does not interfere in the breather’s process in any way unless specifically asked to do so. After the breathing session, there is mandala drawing as part of the integration process. Then, the two people switch roles and there is another 3 hour breathing session. After both people have breathed, there is a sharing circle and then an integration talk to close the day. The sharing circle is designed whereby participants share their experiences and the facilitator and other breathers just listen and hold space. There are no comments or feedback on the shares.
Neurodynamic Breathwork (NDB)
NDB was created by Michael Stone (who started out as being a Holotropic Breathwork Facilitator) for the purpose of allowing anybody, anywhere around the world to experience the benefits of regular breathwork sessions in a convenient, low cost format. Summary of differences:
- NDB can be safely done online (HB cannot be done online)
- sessions, including intro talk, breathwork and sharing circle last 2 – 2 1/2 hours (HB workshops lasts 10 hours)
- it can be done as a practice, with all the resultant benefits because 20 live sessions are available every month (HB workshops are generally available only once per month maximum).
- It is much less expensive
- It can be done from the comfort of your own home so no need to get in your car and drive home after the session
- Breathers are not distracted by other things going on in the room since it is online and they are in their own space
- Michael found that one hour of breathing was sufficient to allow people to have deep expanded state of awareness experiences online, allowing for shorter sessions so even very busy people can participate (in HB, the breathing sessions have to be three hours long)
- Anybody, anywhere in the world can participate. They just need an internet connection. (in HB, you have to find a facilitator, fly to where the person is, get a hotel room, have the experience, then find your way back home. Even if there is an HB facilitator in your hometown, you still need to get up quite early, drive to a venue and then drive home after an all day session).
- Sharing circle – the purpose of the sharing circle is not just to allow participants to share their experience but to allow the facilitator to actively support the breather in bringing the benefits of their experience into their lives and support them in interpreting and framing it (in HB, it is only for the participants to share their experiences)
The cost of an online session is $29.00 and there are also subscription plans that are available for people to do unlimited breathwork every month (we offer 20 live sessions/month) for $49.00. (go to: https://breathworkonline.com/subscriptions/ for more info). Michael has a science background and this is the first time ever that a facilitated, live breathwork modality has been available in a structure where participants can breathe multiple times per week if they choose to. It is a proven principle in neuroscience that “the neurons that fire together, wire together.” Regular breathers are reporting, after participating on a regular basis for a period of time, that they are getting much better access to their “inner intelligence/inner healer” on an everyday basis as their neural pathways strengthen from regular use–they are resolving issues more quickly, self-controlling their emotional states more efficiently and have better access to their creative impulse. “Inner Intelligence” or “higher self” or “future self” is that part of their psyche that is connected to the universal unconscious which already has all the answers.
NDB has been experienced by over 35,000 people from 120 different countries. It can be done in-person or online and can be done in a group or as a private session. Live facilitated online sessions are currently available 5 times per week. You can try out a free online session by going to: https://breathworkonline.com and clicking on “Try A Free Session”. Neurodymanic Breathwork Workshop generally takes about 2 – 2 1/2 hours if it is done online and about 3 – 4 hours if done in-person. It includes an intro talk, a 60 minute breathing session with everybody breathing at the same time, a sharing session and an integration talk. The purpose of the sharing circle (whether in-person or online) is not just for participants to self-express as in HB, it is to allow the facilitator to actively support the breather in bringing the benefits of their experience into their lives and support them in interpreting and framing it. Artwork as an integration tool is optional. Although there is not a facilitator physically present, there is always a facilitator available during the session via private chat if a breather needs or wants support.
Both modalities are based on the fundamental principle that everybody has an “inner intelligence”, that the answers lie within and it is the facilitator’s job to create a safe space for the participant to access their own inner guidance to get the experience that they need in that moment. The breathing technique is also similar in both modalities.