Alchemy of Breathwork

Exchange: 80 RON. Workshop will be in English (or bilingual, if needed).

Group size is limited to 16. To register, sign up on FB and send an email to cura_shamanica (at) to confirm.

Calea Motilor nr 102 (rear building in the inner courtyard, upper floor).
Please bring with you: a yoga

mat, water bottle, notebook & pen.


In many languages breath and spirit are synonyms, and this esoteric link is the reason why ancient spiritual practices focused on working with the breath. In our recent Western context, the use of breathwork has shifted to its healing and therapeutic potentials. Wilhelm Reich & Alexander Lowen were the first to use breathwork for dissolving emotional blockages embedded in the body as neurotic armouring (which prevents the flow of energy). For Stanislav Grof, who experimented with LSD in psychotherapy before it became illegal, holotropic breathwork provided the portal for reaching altered states of consciousness and transpersonal peak experiences. And while Leonard Orr affirmed the connection of rebirthing breathwork to pranayama, he gave it a new direction as a means for releasing deeply unconscious birth traumas from the body’s cellular memory. It's only in the past two decades that breathwork has become widely popular, with many hybrids of these original traditions.

Based on my experience with different breathwork methods and schools, I see these as the essential axioms of working with the breath:
(1) Our birth experience (our emotional state when we took our first breath) and early childhood traumas (in which we suppressed and froze the breath) form the unconscious layers of our conditioning, and give rise to limiting beliefs, self-sabotaging behaviours and illness. How we breathe is thus a MIRROR of energetic blockages and emotional dysfunctions, and consciously changing the breath can be the key to transforming them.
(2) Controlled amplified breathing brings unconscious traumas and fears into awareness; once these surface, surrendering to the circular breath with trust and acceptance (a willingness to allow whatever happens, without avoiding or judging) means that we effectively override unconscious habits of escaping and suppressing. This is the ALCHEMY of breathwork that allows traumatic experiences to re-process and transform on their own.
(3) Breathwork can access PRE-LINGUISTIC experience (birth, womb and even past lives) on the deepest level of CELLULAR MEMORY, which remain outside ordinary, conceptual memory. This is the breath’s most miraculous gift, but also one of its limits - we need to trust that the “release” is often felt only as an energy discharge or sense of well-being, and that we may not have a visionary or conceptual understanding of what has shifted.
(4) The optimal breathing pattern (a flowing rhythm between abdomen and chest that is synchronised with biological cycles) allows us to take in more life-energy or prana, which creates healing, order and coherence in our microcosm. In this sense all breathwork is HOLOTROPIC because it tends toward WHOLENESS - even if it’s not linked to Grof's method or his focus on perinatal and transpersonal content.
(5) Circular connected breathing, if maintained long enough, can drop us into a NO-THOUGHT zone of awareness, characterised by profound relaxation, stillness and UNITY, transcending the dualities of conceptual experience. This transpersonal consciousness connects us to the rhythms of all life and to cosmic intelligence, and has the power to “reset” the system and correct errors that we’ve picked up in our life journeys.
(6) We have within ourselves all the resources we need for healing and developing our highest potentials. To echo a famous anarchist slogan: No Gods, no masters, no gurus - except the one within.

This experiential workshop will include:
● an overview of various breathwork traditions, and of the differences between awareness meditation, shamanic journeying, and breathwork
● a demonstration of short breathing sequences that can be used for re-centering and interrupting habits
● Reichian exercises for diagnosing and correcting breathing patterns
● experimenting with fire breathing (controlling the breath to bring up unconscious material) and circular breathing (surrendering to allow the material to process), in order to learn how to alternate between them
● a shamanic vision quest to connect to the innate wisdom of the body, followed by an hour-long breathwork journey
● movement exercises for re-grounding
● a closing integration circle


Joanne Richardson is a writer, teacher and activist, and has been trained in Jungian psychology, Hermeticist alchemy, Reichian bodywork and breathwork, 15 step hypnotherapy, Theta Healing and plant shamanism.
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Calea Motilor nr. 102
05 April , Thursday 18:00

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