Medical forms, preparation instructions, and a list of things to bring are included here, and will be sent upon registration.
Faculty also recommends you read the following books in preparation for the course:
- Holotropic Breathwork: A New Approach to Self-Exploration and Therapy by Stanislav Grof and Christina Grof
- Shamanism as a Spiritual Practice for Daily Life by Tom Cowan
Iinstructions for the holotropic breathwork portion of the workshop is listed below. Please familiarize yourself with these instructions before arriving to the workshop.
If you have any questions, you may contact the faculty directly at 845-876-5556.
We look forward to seeing you this season!
Notes for BREATHERS
CHOOSING A PARTNER
If you are coming with a friend, consider whether your relationship can be set aside, so that you can fully experience your process without distraction. If you think it cannot, work with someone else. If this seems difficult, share your concern with your facilitator.
STAY THROUGHOUT THE WORKSHOP
To support your partner and the people in your small group (as well as to benefit yourself), make a commitment to attend all breathwork sessions and all the evening group sharing.
Eat lightly or even skip lunch before breathing. If your session is very long, dinner will be saved for you.
WHAT TO WEAR/REMOVE
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Remove any large or fragile pieces of jewelry. Remove contact lenses and dentures.
Breathwork sessions start promptly at the scheduled time. Being present and relaxed at the very beginning is essential to gaining a full experience. There are often last minute details to arrange; arrive early and get comfortable so you are ready to begin breathing in a relaxed atmosphere.
Know were the bathrooms are. Use them before breathing. If you need to use the bathroom during your session, it is better to empty your bladder than be distracted by it. Your sitter will walk you there. Open your eyes while walking. This will not impede your process and will protect you and the process of other breathers.
COMMUNICATING DURING THE SESSION
Before the session begins, establish some signals with your sitter. For example, if you need a tissue, point to your nose; point to your mouth for water; raise your hand for help getting up to go to the bathroom.
If you want to be reminded to breathe deeper or faster in case your pattern slows during the session, ask your sitter to breathe near your ear or to gently touch your shoulder. How long should your sitter wait? Perhaps you do NOT want to be reminded.
Tell your sitter and facilitator about any medical or physical considerations you have which need to be observed if they are doing bodywork with you. If you have any deep issues (for example, about being touched), let your sitter know.
If you need to communicate other things during your session, speak simply and without disturbing other breathers.
CONTENT OF THE SESSION
There is no need to "make something happen". Allow to arise whatever tries to come to awareness.
USE YOUR BODY AWARENESS
If you feel "stuck" and notice that you are thinking a lot, shift awareness to your body and re-focus on breathing or the music. If you find you are analyzing the music, let the vibration of the sounds move through your body and re-focus on breathing.
The code word to have a facilitator or your sitter stop working with you is "STOP!" This word will always be respected, so that you can feel in control at all times. When you say "stop", all intervention will stop. Other words may be part of your process and will not stop the facilitation.
Moving around on your mat is fine, but remain lying down for the entire session. This is for your safety as well as the safety of those around you. Your sitter will protect your space so the movement of others does not disrupt your session. Your sitter will also protect others from your movement, so there is no need to inhibit spontaneous body movements.
LEAVING DURING A SESSION
It is advised to remain in the session until your process comes to its own conclusion. If you feel the need to leave before that, check in with your facilitator. If you do leave, allow your sitter to accompany you, as you are liable to be less grounded than you realize.
Each session has its own termination. There is no need to wait for the music to end. You will know when your session is complete. When you think you have finished, it is imperative to check in with a facilitator before leaving. At times there is more to access than you are aware of.
SILENCE WHEN YOUR SESSION IS DONE
Though the temptation is great to share your experience with your sitter, please respect the process of other breathers: REFRAIN FROM TALKING IN THE HALL. Try to stay in silence with your experience. This will be to your benefit generally, and will support the process of others. If you need to talk, seek an area away from others.
Drawing helps to represent the experience non-verbally. Artistic merit is NOT the issue. The drawing will be the basis for sharing your experience with your small group. To support the concentration required for drawing, please maintain silence in the mandala room.
Notes for SITTERS
Your assignment is to support your breather with your full attention.
Breathwork sessions start promptly at the scheduled time. Being present at the very beginning is essential for your breather's sense of trust, going into this powerful experiential work. There are often last minutes details and agreements to settle in order to support your breather fully. Arrive early and relaxed.
Establish communication agreements with your breather. Listen to their needs and concerns. In order to have you fully support their experience, they may need to explain some deep personal issues to you. Make sure tissues, water and other accoutrements are at hand for them.
OTHER HELPING/HEALING PRACTICES
If you practice in other healing modes, you may be tempted to use your skills to help your breather. This can distract your breather from a full experience of his or her own process. Please refrain from interceding with unasked-for touch, aura-cleansing, pendulums, crystals, etc.
If you have questions, or your breather asks for facilitation, which is beyond you, ask for help. Raise your hand to get the attention of a facilitator. Any nearby will respond.
If you need to go to the bathroom - or leave momentarily for any reason - do not leave your breather alone: ask a facilitator to take your place. If your breather needs to go to the bathroom, accompany and gently guide them. Breathers, still in their process, may be quite ungrounded and unable to maneuver easily. They may need to be reminded to open their eyes as they walk. Make sure the space ahead of them is clear and that they do not disturb other breathers as they pass.
SUPPORT YOUR BREATHER
Give full attention to your breather, being ready for any need at any moment - even when they seem completely passive or asleep. Be attentive without needing anything to happen. The practice of attention is its own intense experience.
Offer assistance only in the manner agreed on. If you notice your desire to intervene, explore what need in you is active.
Have whatever might be needed on hand, or know where to locate them: towels, pillows, plastic bags, water, etc.
PROTECT YOUR BREATHER'S SPACE
If a neighboring breather is very active and likely to encroach on your breather's space, protect your breather with pillows. If your breather is flopping off the mat, put pillows under them so they don't hurt themselves.
If others are talking, please bring their disturbance to their attention or to the attention of a facilitator.
When the session has finished, be sure your breather checks in with a facilitator before leaving the room. Tidy your space as much as possible without being intrusive on others or abandoning your breather.
We will observe silence from the time the session ends through breakfast the next morning. If your breather has a strong need to talk about the experience, find a place where your conversation will not disturb others. Discourage trivial talk. There is ample time in the small group after dinner for breathers to explore their experience verbally.
Accompany your breather to the mandala room. Respect the silence there. You may also draw a mandala.
LEAVING YOUR BREATHER
When your breather is feeling grounded enough to be left alone, return to the hall and tidy up your space. Pick up any things your breather has left behind. There will be a place for garbage and a place for soiled towels. Move the mat to the side of the room.
If your breather is having a very long session and it looks like you will miss dinner, ask a facilitator to have food put aside for you and your breather.
EVENING SMALL GROUP
Attend the group after each breathwork session. Not only is it instructional, but it supports your partner in an essential way, for as breather and sitter. It is also an important part of maintaining the intimate bonds that are established within the group, especially in a retreat with so many participants. Not least, it is the way staff knows that you have completed your process, or to offer support in completing it.