What is Breathwork Therapy?

Pranayama (control of prana or life force energy via the breath), is one of the 8 Limbs of Yoga, and as such has very ancient healing roots. However, the more modern version of therapeutic breathwork was born in the 1960s out of LSD research. When the government banned LSD, Stanislov Grof turned his attention to something that couldn’t be outlawed: breathing. Grof went on to trademark “Holotropic Breathwork“, a non-drug alternative to reaching altered states of consciousness.

Today, there are numerous styles of therapeutic breathwork. At the core, all breathwork therapy has benefits similar to other “psychedelic therapies” (such as Ayahuasca, magic mushrooms, and LSD) in that, as oxygen builds up in the blood, the breather experiences a mild sort of trip with the aim of promoting transcendental, ecstatic, religious or mystical peak experiences. Types of experiences usually fall into one or more of several categories:  sensory, biographic, perinatal, and yogic sleep states.

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Service to Others

This is the third article in the series, “The 12 Healing Tools“. These articles outline the things that I have found most useful in my journey to overcome childhood trauma and abuse, drug addiction, and debilitating depression.

Once I got clean back in the mid-90s, I really didn’t know who I was or what I was going to do with my life. I grew up with an overbearing mother (to put it mildly), I had no self-esteem, spent years trying to lose myself in men and drugs, etc. etc. etc. It was a rough road for quite a number of years.

The guy that I was with at the time – we’ll call him Marty – who, incidentally met me during my active addiction and stayed with me during rehab and after, convinced me to sign up for Americorps. Honestly, I just wanted the pay out at the end to help pay off my student loans, so I agreed. During this time, Marty also gave me some other volunteer work making art with kids in some local low income housing projects. I spent a full year in Americorps, doing art with kids, making murals, sweeping streets, fixing windows, and basically just giving back to the community. Eventually Marty and I parted ways, but I have to give him credit for this cuz selfless service really changed my life and probably helped keep me clean too.

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The 12 Steps

This is the second article in the series, “The 12 Healing Tools“. These articles outline the things that I have found most useful in my journey to overcome childhood trauma and abuse, drug addiction, and debilitating depression.


By the mid-90s my drug days were coming to an end. I couldn’t handle the lifestyle. I was tired of chasing the white dragon every day. Tired of seeing my friends die. Tired of feeling like a total waste and hating myself for it. Just TIRED. Life was truly unmanageable as every waking hour was consumed by this substance. I wanted to finally be free from heroin and try to act and feel “normal”, though that was part of the reason why I started to use drugs in the first place – I always felt (and was told) I was ‘different’ and didn’t understand why.

Anyway… after several failed attempts at detox centers and 30-day rehabs, I was somehow admitted to Colonial House for a 90-day inpatient program.

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A Burning Desire to Know the Truth of Reality

I write these words because I am 100% sure there are many more out there who have felt this way and/or are feeling this way right now. I want you to know that you are not alone. And there is a reason for everything that is happening in your life. Have faith, stay strong, keep seeking, and amazing things can happen.


As far back as I can remember, I felt like ‘reality’ wasn’t quite the way it seemed. And I especially knew that things were NOT the way those ‘grown ups’ in charge of me were telling me they were. It always felt like I was missing an important piece of the puzzle, like everybody was holding out on a key piece of information and I didn’t know why.

I remember things that my family tells me I shouldn’t remember – I was too young to remember they say. I feel like I came into life with a lot of memories. Memories that most of us want to forget when we embody, that blissful state of amnesia we choose to operate from most of our lives. But some of us ask to remember, NEED to remember – so we can do the work we came here to do. I am one of Those.

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