What is the Holotropic Paradigm

Ultimate Guide to Holotropic Breathwork 

Journeys of transformation with breath and music

Who am I

I am Meena Iyer, coach, healer and breathwork facilitator. I am writing to share my experiences in the field of Holotropic Breathwork, Inner Child Healing and Addiction Recovery. 

Quick Intro and Disclaimer

I am Meena Iyer, coach, healer and breathwork facilitator. I have trained in counseling psychology, NLP, Hypnotherapy and breathwork facilitation. I have run my own de-addiction center in Gurgaon working individually and in groups with addicts, alcoholics and their families.I now offer one-on-one coaching and facilitate online and offline workshops/ retreats on Inner Child Healing and Breathwork. 

Here is a disclaimer too. As I share my knowledge, experience and skills, they are constantly evolving and transforming, keeping pace with my own growth. If you feel ready to embark on this journey taking responsibility for the outcomes, hop on. The information shared here is for educational purposes only and not meant to substitute any professional guidance. There could be material not from the public domain which has been used to illustrate or explain only and not for infringement of intellectual property rights. Pls do not copy or share in any manner and infringe intellectual property rights. Information here is as understood and applied by me. Pls use your discretion while applying the same.

Who is this post for (The Ultimate Guide to Holotropic Breathwork) 

Anyone and not limited to 

  • Those in therapy or coaching seeking to accelerate their healing 
  • Those actively seeking healing from significant emotional issues
  • Those dealing with loss – death of a loved one, divorce or a broken relationship
  • Those looking to work on chronic behavior patterns
  • Those seeking to strengthen spiritual connection
  • Practitioners of psychotherapeutic, energy healing modalities 
  • Those that are curious to journey into their psyche to enhance creativity
  • Those stuck or plateaued out in a life or work situation
  • Those facing chronic health issues (see contra-indications)

Why am I writing this post?

Holotropic Breathwork is a very powerful and deceptively simple healing process. I have found great benefits myself in participating in these sessions and certifying as a facilitator. I know that this technique works whether as a one off experiential session or taken in regular doses. It really speeds up trauma release from the body; sometimes without the effort needed to go into painful narratives. I am hosting workshops in different cities to reach a large audience. I am also in the process of  setting up  a training schedule for those who wish to get certified as facilitators. This blog is meant to reach those who are looking to participate and those who wish to train in  Holotropic Breathwork. I am writing this to distinguish Holotropic Breathwork from many other kinds of breathwork with or without the accompaniment of music. 

What am i going to cover ?

  • Holotropic Breathwork as an expanded view of Consciousness
  • The transpersonal and spiritual dimensions
  • Pre-natal and Perinatal influences
  • The potential for self healing
  • Experiential focus and group support aspect

The Holotropic Paradigm was proposed by psychiatrist and researcher Dr. Stanislav Grof and seconded by psychologist and collaborator in Holotropic Breathwork, Tav Sparks. It is significantly different from the conventional or “normal” paradigm of mainstream psychology in several key aspects.

  • Expanded View of Consciousness: As against the traditional view of consciousness as limited to waking, dreaming, and deep sleep states, this paradigm  introduces the concept of holotropic states – non-ordinary states of consciousness induced through techniques like Holotropic Breathwork.  In this state, we can explore dimensions beyond the ordinary waking state and expand traditional psychological work which is based on cognitive and behavioural aspects of consciousness.
  • Transpersonal and Spiritual Dimensions: The Holotropic Paradigm incorporates transpersonal and spiritual dimensions of human experience. It suggests that individuals can access not only personal memories but also archetypal and cosmic dimensions during altered states of consciousness. This broader perspective goes beyond  individual and interpersonal dynamics to include “the collective unconscious”.
  • Perinatal and Prenatal Influences: The Holotropic Paradigm places a unique emphasis on the impact of perinatal and prenatal experiences on psychological well-being. It allows individuals to access and process memories from the birthing process and even the womb experience. A  more comprehensive understanding of psychological challenges and growth becomes possible.  The traditional paradigm begins with early childhood experiences.
  • Self-Healing Potential: It is only the Holotropic Paradigm that introduces the concept of the psyche’s self-healing and self-regulating capacity. By entering into holotropic states and integrating psychodynamic material from the unconscious,  individuals can initiate their own healing and personal transformation. This method is not intervention-based. It is non-directional and non-diagnostic providing a wider canvas.
  • Group and Experiential Focus: The Holotropic Paradigm  involves group settings where participants share and support each other during their journeys of self-discovery. This communal and experiential aspect is very humanistic. It is different from the therapist aided analytical approaches prevalent in the mainstream.


In conclusion, the Holotropic Paradigm represents a departure from the conventional understanding of consciousness and therefore mental health and well being.  It introduces the perinatal and transpersonal  dimensions. Indeed it is important to understand and explore the therapeutic potential of non-ordinary states of consciousness. It presents an alternative framework for exploring the complexities of the human psyche and the quest for wholeness.


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