New approaches to consciousness are on the way to becoming more accessible and accepted.
Consciousness expansion medicines have been used for centuries by different cultures around the world for healing and transformation. Now with Michael Pollan’s book How to Change Your Mind, the creation of the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelics and Consciousness Research, the influx of VC capital into psychedelic drug companies and last but not least, groundbreaking non-profits like Usona and MAPS leading the charge of clinical trials and research, it’s clear that new approaches to holistic healing, growth and consciousness are on the way to becoming more accessible and accepted. Yet the question remains, how soon until these treatments become widely available and affordable? And how can breathwork provide related benefits to both create immediate access for more people as well as provide deepening and integration for those already involved with these medicines?
While ketamine has already been approved to treat depression, other medicines including psilocybin, the active compound in psychedelic mushrooms, MDMA, DMT and LSD are in clinical trials to treat anxiety, depression, PTSD, addictions and to aid in terminal illness. The efficacy of these medicines, combined with a holistic approach to healing, has the potential to expand consciousness across psychological, biological and spiritual levels and change the face of mental health.
This flourishing of new healing modalities is exciting. We are hopeful that these developments will continue to build acceptance and availability in the coming years. And yet, we are still talking about a relatively small number of people (for now) that will have access to (or be open to working with) these medicines.
Many of us reading this may already have some experience with these plant medicines and psychedelics and know that they’re not something most people can (or should) do every week. And that the focus on integration of these experiences is key for long lasting change and transformation. So how can we do this deep inner work on a more regular basis to support our continued healing and growth?
The answer lies in the work of the two breathwork visionaries, Dr. Stan Grof and Leonard Orr. Psychiatrist Dr. Stanislav Grof pioneered psychedelic assisted psychotherapy in the 1960s using LSD. Following the suppression of legal LSD use in the late 1960s, Grof developed Holotropic Breathwork based on the work of Leonard Orr, who discovered and founded Connected Breathing, also known as Rebirthing Breathwork.
These types of Breathwork, which, like LSD, also creates expanded states of consciousness, and offer patients the same benefits, namely the ability to treat depression, anxiety, addiction and PTSD. That’s right, breathwork can have similar effects and benefits as plant medicine and psychedelics, while being totally safe and legal.
Here are ten of the most common shared experiences with breathwork, plant medicine and psychedelics:
So we can see that Breathwork and Psychedelics have a lot in common. Now here are some reasons why we would recommend Breathwork as a weekly or daily practice:
Besides breathing, grieving is one of the most natural things that we do. We are designed with the capacity to grieve, and we intuitively know how to do it. Yes, it is sad, gut-wrenching, and hurts our hearts, but it is organic. Thus, grieving is not the problem, it is our relationship to it, a relationship that is largely impacted by the societal undervaluing of vulnerability.
2020 has quickly become the year of all things breath related, from Covid-19’s attack on our lungs and needing to breath through a mask, to the Black Lives Matter slogan #ICantBreathe, from the last words of Eric Garner, to the book Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor. We no longer can take our breath for granted. The truth is, we should never have taken our breath for granted.