fruiticus

Holotropic Breath Work

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Apologies if this is a strange question - this is my first post. I was wondering what peoples views on Holotropic breathwork relates to Daoist practices. I am interested in how co2 and o2 levels alter consciousness. It seems easier to reach certain meditative states at altitude. 

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Welcome Fruiticus,

 

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Hi Fruiticus.  Welcome.

 

Well, based on what I know about our need for oxygen, the higher one goes in elevation the less oxygen there is available in the atmosphere.  Go high enough and you will die.

 

And basically, in small amounts, the more oxygen we have the more efficient our brain becomes.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

As far as Taoism and holotropics, I don't think its in the curriculum.  Taoism tends to be about natural and holotropics tends to be a forcing type of technique. 

 

It's not Taoist, but there is the practice of 9 Step Bottled Wind breathing.  Bodhi writes about it, a Tibetan practice and they know a thing or two about high altitudes.  Not holotropic but it uses long holds https://www.meditationexpert.com/meditation-techniques/m_9_step_bottled_wind_pranayama_practice.html . 

 

I was meaning to review the practice.  I've done some Wim Hof method where the breathing is similar but broken into pieces and includes long holds.  Perhaps having similar benefits. 

 

This might be up your alley-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A1Gv-Nn-OCE

 

**One last thing.  These kinds of breathing practices are intense, very yang.  Traditionally in rebirthing & holotropics and many of these modalities you had an expert by your side watching over you.  So.. if you choose to do these, take it slow and build up to full time slowly; start grounded, end grounded.  Don't push.  If its uncomfortable slow down or stop.  Do it in a safe environment.. yada yada.. 

 

Edited by thelerner
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I don't think Holotropic is compatible with Daoism. They're all about experiencing weird mental states with breathing very rapidly. Daoism isn't like that in my view.

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Posted (edited)

While Holotropic Breathwork should be approached like all breath work - with caution -  it is at the same time not the same as certain practices that breath heavily from the base of the spine - it is very different. It's intent is not to activate kundalini - it is a far broader practice and it can be of considerable help to women in particular as it blows past an enourmous amount of pain body energy quickly.

 

Histories of mental illlness and imbalance should be taken into account - it is not recommended for certain difficulties of this type.

 

With regard to Daoist practice - the dogma might say it would not fit but like all true paths - dogma and The Way are two different things.

 

My first encounter with this was at the end of a 23 day fast and I thought I would treat myself to a private session - I had done little research on this but enough to know I was not concerned for myself / body / being. As I lay flat on the floor as instructed a tennis ball was placed in each hand - I had no idea why.

 

I was instructed to begin breathing - fast shallow breathing with the emphasis on a quick push out - it was not abdominal breathing - it was quick chest breathing - for at least one hour - quite possibly more like 1.5 or so.

 

As the session progressed the "coach" would help me to remember to keep breathing as one can easily drift into a sort of sleep and not need to breath for several minutes. I was already in an exquisite state from many days of fasting and this was generally an uneventful extension of that with one very interesting effect: when the session ended the balls had to be pried from my hands and I could not speak because my mouth was tightly closed to a mere round hole for fast intentional breathing - I used my mangled fingers to pull open my mouth and also slowly worked my fingers into suppleness again.

 

She explained that the effect on the hands and face was common and the hands because particularly as children energies are often thwarted in the hands and arms for our safety's sake and so energy blocks / compressions accumulate there and so the energy during the sessions tends to get held up there and the muscles and tendons contract. In the lips it happens simply because the mechanics of fast breathing require somewhat rigid lips and over the course of an hour or more the muscles lock somewhat and take a bit to melt back out of it.

 

The entire body becomes light, the chakras become emphasized, channels around the eyes, ears and various areas clarify. 

 

Another time I joined a 2 or 4 week class - a total of two or four meetings (it's been awhile - about 35 year ago).

In the first class we partnered up and I was lucky to find a girl I knew fairly well there who understood energy fairly in depth. We were quite relaxed going forward knowing each of us could really assist the other if needed.

 

I was struck by one very very clear result - nearly every woman in there that was on the breathing end of the first session was drenched in tears and frequently in the throws of traumatic energy explosions and releases - not one guy was having a similar experience.

During the discussion period All of the women discussed pain and release and cataclysmic experiences - one or two also mention past life experiences. The guys did not speak of pain but rather visions and openings and past life experiences.

 

It was breathtaking to see how much in the way of pain pictures and obstructions women were able to push through in these sessions - it was like watching two years of meditation getting done in one hour. Pain pictures and the pain body as some have phrased it is a far greater block for women and this was really miraculous to watch - what a phenomenal tool! Once beyond this women have several clear advantages over men in progressing beyond their identified "self".

 

In my breathing session in the class several things happened that were wonderful and I would not have thought possible at that time with regard to one item:

At a certain point I was clearly in certain past lives - not an entirely uncommon experience for me - but then at one point I could not help but to form into an old Yoga pose that I could easily do 20 years earlier but had not done since and would not have considered possible - it is the one where you are in an inverted arch - belly button pointing to the ceiling and hands facing inverted toward your head.

 

Suddenly all of my chakras opened dramatically - I could clearly see in great detail all aspects - and feel all aspects - I could go to the finest particulate levels, see the energies and channels and the interpenetration of the various bodies. I already could see with my third eye and this type of sight I was already acclimated to - but never had my chakras become so dramatically open and enlivened and all at the same time. This was not "normal" subtle sight - it was visceral, clear and fully physical - even the ethereal was visceral.

 

The back channels and head - conical eye channels - middle of head and forward, back and above - all while becoming fully at ease in a very inverted arched position - I was so energized I could have pushed off the ground in the arch - I was light and lithe in a rediculous arch only half an hour earlier I would have considered impossible.

 

In the discussion period afterward it was the same as the first - all I could think of was what an incredible tool and what a miraculous tool for women in particular.

 

It was also refreshing to some extent in that it did not include any particular teaching that I remember - we came together, did breathing, shared our experiences and class ended. I never looked into advanced classes or meeting with the originator - Stanislav Grof- though I did consider meeting with him at another time.

 

I do not advocate what I have called "engineering" in practices - wherein one wills movement of energy and acts as the choreographer in things that they know nothing about and which are best left to gentle yet powerful natural means that bring about change wholistically and without reinforcing already false senses of control and following recipes.

 

From my experience - and perhaps I was lucky - Holotropic breathing was like a drink of clear cool water - nothing like a pranic breathing binge or forced energy practices. 

 

http://www.holotropic.com/holotropic-breathwork/about-holotropic-breathwork/

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Spotless
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Posted (edited)
On 5/25/2018 at 9:58 AM, Cheshire Cat said:

This type of breathing is described in the book Taoist Yoga

I have an old CD called Yogic Breathing by Christer Ekstrom.  When I first heard it I thought I'd been ripped off.  It was tones, in two styles.  One was an upward tone for 8 seconds then downward tone 8 seconds and another 15 at longer intervals going to 44-44.   The other style had 3 part breathing ie hold in the middle.  starting with 8-8-8 going up to 14-56-28.  It tended to like a 1/4/2 rhythm.   The 'secret' of the CD was to set your player on repeat.  Once you got comfortable with one timing, you'd stretch yourself and go on to the next until it was comfortable. 

 

The benefit of the practice for me was that this kind of breath work, made my natural, unforced breathing,  longer and deeper.  I usually use it for 10-40-20 breathing rhythm.   And its much much easier to do after I've done a few sets of Wim Hof sets.  Without the Wim Hof sets of fast breathing and holds, I can only do 8-32-16 for longer amounts of time.

Edited by thelerner
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