Counseling Lessins: LSD & HOLOTROPIC BREATHING: Web Radio & articles by Sasha Lessin, PhD

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Today’s show, expanded with the article below, introduces you to Holotropic Breathing. Holo-breathing comes from Dr. Stan Grof’s discovery of how LSD can free us from the matrix of materialism, war and racism and hierarchy.

M.D.-Psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, who trained Dr. Lessin for three intense years, is the world’s foremost researcher on consciousness. His system combines hypnosis, evocative music, breathwork partnering, focused bodywork and mandala drawing..Dr. Grof developed his system as the result of scientific experiments with LSD to cure mental illness, ease everyday neurosis , facilitate art and expand consciousness. Grof calls the system developed “Holotropic Breathwork.” People in Grof Breathwork access healing experiences from their present, life history, gestation and birth. They also image past-lives, guiding spirits and encounters with the divine. Many experience ego-transcendence, karmic life reviews and symbolic rebirth.


by Sasha Lessin, Grof-Certified Holotropic Breathworker






You have “holos” within you–images, feelings, info to make you happier, wiser, healthier, more loving. When you holo, you let your unconscious show you holos. They heal your psychic, emotional and body wounds.

It’s easy to holo. Just close your eyes, breathe deep and fast to evocative music and have an attentive but not interfering person sitting for you. You soon lose everyday awareness. You holo instead. Grof breathing’s safe; thousands report it increased their vitality and insight.









But holotropic work does involve deep breathing, so use common sense. If you’ve had heart problems, hypertension, brain hemorrhage, psychotic tendencies, or if you’re pregnant, don’t do Grof Breathwork. Don’t do it when you have unhealed surgical wounds or contagious disease your partner might contract.

M.D.-Psychiatrist Stanislav Grof, the world’s foremost researcher on consciousness, combines hypnosis, evocative music, breathwork partnering, focused bodywork and mandala drawing. He calls the system he and his wife, Christina, developed “Holotropic Breathwork.”

People in Grof Breathwork access healing experiences from their present, life history, gestation and birth. They also image past-lives, guiding spirits and encounters with the divine. Many experience ego-transcendence, karmic life reviews and symbolic rebirth.







When you breath holotropically, the rhythm of music’ll help you breathe faster, deeper.

You might relax, feel turned-on, blessed. If so, rejoice. If not, rejoice anyhow. You get to improve. If you breathe on, you could have experiences that free you from robot-like reactions that wreck relations and wrack your body. After 45 minutes holotropic breathing, notice where you’re tense. Feel pain, deadness or paralysis grow there. You may convulse, contract and spasm in pain.

Sometimes you cry, scream, laugh, jabber gibberish. Or sweat, shiver, twist, flail, shake, cramp, stretch, grimace. Even choke, drool or vomit.

As you react like that to your images, remember that the sitter you chose will protect you. He or she can call the facilitator. Just breathe and experience your images.

Internally, picture, hear, feel and understand your key experiences. They programmed ways you struggle, hurt and cage yourself.

Get insights, images, memories, body feelings, emotional releases, internal dramas, forgiving lettings-go. Psychically complete experiences.

Complete them and you redo the self-limiting programs you built on them. You stop tethering your body and your being. You relax.


This is the exercise Janet does on Aquarian Radio to show you how to use it.

In Holotropic Breathwork, when you close your eyes, listen three hours to music and see images inside your lids. Four feelings, matching fetal phases, inspire many of the images: floating, compression, labor and birth.

Think of the first feeling, floating, as PAX. Let Pax stand for “floating” as you did in the womb when you were tiny. When Pax feelings are up, you relax and feel loving oneness.

SLOUGH (compression)–the second feeling stirred by breathwork–depresses. It’s doom, hopelessness, sorrow, limits. Slough feels like the months just before labor, when you outgrew the womb. Keep Slough in your awareness and sense your limits. Then you rouse the next fetal feeling.

The next feeling, RAMBO, your struggle to overcome the limits, echos your struggle to survive labor contractions. Labor taught you to perserve and perhaps cooperate.

Finally, WHOOPIE personifies birth, triumph, ecstasy, transcendence.


See within you–accept and understand–the dance of Pax, Slough, Rambo and Whoopie. Then you know and love more.

Pax and Co. comprise modules of the Master Matrix, the natural sequence of growth imprinted on us in our journey from conception to birth.

The Master Matrix

Feel your limits
Meet challenges
Relax again

Flow through this sequence and you enjoy repose (Pax), know when you need change (Slough), choose challenges (Rambo), triumph over trails (Whoopie), savor victory and relax (Pax’s back).


But suppose you don’t flow. You ignore one of the four feelings. You might, say, not see how you cage yourself. Or deny you struggle inside. Then, instead of pulsing through life with the rhythm of peace, limits, struggle, then triumph, you snag. You ail, agonize, ruin relations, suppress your spirit.

If you don’t allow all your inner sad and mad feelings, you create situations in life to make you sad and mad so the world outside you seems to warrent the feelings you repress inside.

If you repress pain of Slough–feeling limited–you make yourself feel forever guilty, hopeless, sad, caught. If you repress Rambo’s rage, you compulsively struggle, compete; never relax. Rather than stifle Slough and Rambo, see them in breathwork, feel them thoroughly, and integrate them with the love of Pax and joy of Whoopie.


Pax, Slough, Rambo and Whoopie run through each level of your consciousness. If you do a series of holobreathing sessions, you’ll likely see them in your life nowadays. You also image matrix modules in your biographical and fetal history. You image them too in past-life sequences, fantasies and mythic dramas. They permeate images of nature you generate holobreathing.


You’ll picture yourself enacting Pax & the other Master Matrix in your everyday roles, roles like
Mellow Fellow (Pax),
Sadsack (Slough),
Hero (Rambo) and
Star (Whoopie).


You’ll see Pax & Co. in scripts you got as a kid, rehearsed in the dramas of your life and still enact. You’ll recognize master matrix images as actors in your life history.
Pax’s cast as the relaxed, peaceful baby you still can be. Slough plays the role of the trapped kid still within you. Jailer, rebel or escapee scripts express Rambo. Whoopie’s role: ecstatic child.


Master matrix forces show when you image and relive your perinatal experiences: gestation, labor and delivery.

Pax. Perinatal Pax memories show up directly or symbolically when you holobreathe and relive your first months of life. Months when you relaxed–safe, comfortable, satisfied, at one with the womb. You and it met each other’s needs.

You seem tiny again, afloat in fluid. Your head’s big as your body. You suck your fingers, rub your cord and genitals; you hear your mother’s heart and inner gurgles again. Her ills, smoke, drinks, diet sometimes upset you. So do her coitus, pelvic exams and noise-exposure. But, mostly, you like floating.

Mom poisoned your Perinatal Pax, however, if she didn’t want you, if she sickened, raged, shot-up, took abuse, tried to abort or almost miscarried. She poisoned it if she drank, smoked or snorted, worked in noise or stress, if she felt tense, unhappy or unloved. Or perhaps a twin crowded your would-be heaven, filling the floating space.

Even if Mom polluted your uterine paradise, you can still image a peaceful placental paradise–perinatal Pax–from your fantasy and past-life ideation.

Slough. You get Slough images and feelings from the months before labor, when you outgrew the womb. It pressed you. Now and then it squeezed, almost crushed you. Squeezes scrunched-off oxygen, food, warmth, contact.

Slough sensations stop after you again feel the womb shove you against the cervix, which opens. You may remember this or experience it symbolically. Perhaps you see a whirlpool, volcano or labyrinth engulf you (or a creature representing you); maybe a crocodile, octopus, spider, whale or boa snares you.

Imaging Rambo in breathwork, you feel your mother open her cervix and push you through her vagina. Her contractions put up to 100 pounds pressure on you. You learned power, as you identified with it. It clamped your jaw shut and almost smashed you, specially your skull. You lost warmth and oxygen when you looped the cord or caught it between your head and Mom’s pelvis. You almost suffocated.

When, struggling toward birth, you felt strangled, you also felt aroused. You sensed your mother’s sexy feelings you pushed through her vagina. There you linked sex and struggle as part of your Rambo tendancies.

In labor, you slid through blood, urine, feces, fetal liquid. So your feeings about sex mingled with feelings about feces, membranes and menses. If anesthetic invaded labor, you smell, feel and taste it again when you do breathwork. A drug denied you the lesson you need for an integrated Rambo–you can struggle and win. So as an adult, you quit too soon and drug yourself with alcohol, cocaine or narcotics. To cure quitting and addiction, relive drugged labor. Then enact finishing it.

When you image a bird that burns, forms again, then flies, you’re about to relive birth, Whoopie energy.

Whoopie. When Mom delivered you, she freed you from terrific tension. Whoopie images reflect the feelings of unbearable agony at the beginning of delivery and then ecstatic triumph and freedom in birth.

If your birth was traumatic, you relive its pain. Then you fantasize and enpower your Whoopie feelings with an alternate, better birth.


When you imagine prior lives, Pax manifests as lives in which you and others joined, shared, loved, merged, sated, relaxed with each other.

In Slough lives you were caged, gassed, executed, suffocated. Or died of drink, drugs or plauge.

You know Rambo in prior lives resonating labor. In some Rambo lives, a bully, portraying the perverse pleasure of the contracting canal, raped, punished, terrorized, humiliated, murdered you. In others, you hated, avenged and killed him/her. A Rambo life may involve battle or violent suicide. You may imagine struggling, centuries past, as tyrant or rebel–echoing the struggle of canal and babe.

You perhaps relive Rambo lives where you participated in primitive and satanic orgies, fertility rites, temple prostitution, bacchanalian dancing, where you mixed suffering, strangulation, sensuality, ecstasy and spirituality.

Past lives reflecting Whoopie or birth feelings may involve failure, sacrifice, death-falls or ego death, corresponding to the unbearable moment just before birth. Whoopie shows in past lives as you escape sharks, beasts or human menaces; survive accidents, illness, surgery, storms, earthquakes, tidal waves, air raids, wars. You vanquished menaces. In Whoopie sequences from lapsed lives, you triumph–purified, redeemed, cleansed, sacred, safe, free.


Holobreathing may give you images of nonhuman past lives, mythic sequences and fantasies with which you identify.

You image Pax as an anemone, seaweed, jellyfish, fish or whale, astronaut or bird, gold or gems. Pax manifests in images of human, animal, plant, planetary or cosmic oceanic ecstasy, symbiosis, unity, peace, nirvana. You merge in bliss with the Great Mother, deities, other archetypes, or the Universe.

When you breath holotropically, you may get Slough-pervaded images of freaks and monsters in an ugly, evil, flat, robotic, inhuman world. You image dead deserts, winterlands, moon mountains. You see skeletons, insane asylum inmates, the wretched of the world. You conjure tales of eternal torture; you suffer as Jesus, Sisyphus or Prometheus.

You could get Rambo images–struggle symbols–where fierce forces fight. Enormous energies erupt. You visualize volcanos, tornadoes, hurricanes, tidal waves, explosions, rocket blasts, lightning, air raids, novas, quakes, floods. Armies, demons and gods battle. Atlantis, Pompeii, Hiroshima, Sodom or Earth die. Scenes of sacrifice, suicide, massacre, execution, crucifixion, mutilation, murder and torture torment and tantalize you. You feel and fight the Hitler, Abu Nidal, witch, devil, werewolf, tiger, monster and boa within you.

Rambo energy fuels flame fantasies that resonate the final moments of labor. Just before your mother delivered you, you stretched her tissues to the extreme. Her nerves and yours all fired, making you both feel aflame. You represent this as torched towns, flaring forests and witches searing at the stake.

Whoopie images from the unbearable beginning of delivery include death and sacrifice, Shiva, Christ, Dionysus, Moloch, Kali. You see Herod and Hitler–like the birth canal putting ultimate pressure on you at birth–murder babies.

Then you image triumphant heroes (representing birth) vanquish menaces; St. George slays the dragon, Persus the Medusa. God defeats Satan; Thor, the giants; good, evil. You picture and experience union with Mother goddesses, Mary, Isis, Parvati, Hera, your innermost, divine source, the sun, the tao.

You behold brilliant white or radiant golden light, rainbows, peacock designs, Spring. You image majestic halls, mountains, valleys, meadows, lakes, oceans. You watch glaciers crack, snow melt and flow as water; birds hatch, trees blossom, animals bear and feed their young. Reach the mountaintop. Triumph–purified, redeemed, cleansed, sacred, safe, free.


Is there anything to forgive this sub for or anything it needs to give forgiveness for?
If so, do you? If so and you don’t, look for more dramatic expression at past-life and deeper levels.


Is there anything to forgive this sub for or anything it needs to give forgiveness for?
If so, do you? If so and you don’t, look for more dramatic expression at mytho level.

(To be continued)


Grof, S., Realms of the Unconscious: Observations from LSD Research, New York:  Dutton, 1976

Grof, S., LSD Psychotherapy, Pomona: Hunter House, 1980

Grof, S., Beyond The Brain: Birth, Death and Transcendence in Psychotherapy, Albany:  SUNY,

Grof, S., The Adventure of Self-Discovery: Dimensions of Consciousness and New  Perspectives in Psychotherapy and Inner Exploration; Albany: SUNY, 1988;

Grof, C. and S., Spiritual Emergency: When Transformation Becomes a Crisis, Los Angeles:  Tarcher, 1989;

Grof, S., The Stormy Search for the Self, Los Angeles:  Tarcher, 1990.

Janov, A., The Feeling Child,

Hoffman, B., Getting Divorced From Mother and Dad, New York: Dutton, 1976.

Houston, J., The Search for the Beloved, 1987.

Lessin, S. & Lessin, J.K., All-Chakra Tantra

Progoff, I. At A Journal Workshop, 1975.

Russell, P., The Global Brain, Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1983.

Tobin, S., “Saying Goodbye in Gestalt Therapy” in Banet, A., (ed.), Creative Psychotherapy, La Jolla: University Associates, 1976

Wilber, K., The Spectrum of Consciousness Theosophical Publishing, 1977.

Woolger, R. Other Lives, Other Selves, 1987.


More on Holotropics
by SASHA LESSIN, PH.D., see preview of book below at:

Sasha Lessin, Ph. D 

This book extends Holotropic BreathworkTM. In breathwork you breathe to music and get holos–experiences, images and insights so you grow. Holos, properly integrated, can cure your psychic, emotional and physical ills, so you enjoy, know and love more.Stanislav and Christina Grof designed Holotropic Breathwork to access holos. Breathwork blends psychology and sacred studies with deep breathing, evocative music, hypnosis, focused bodywork and art therapy.1In Holotropic work, you evoke inner experiences and express them your way. If you’re healthy and happy, Grof sessions expand your awareness; if you suffer, breathwork helps you heal. Grof’s Adventure of Self-Discovery describes breathwork in depth.0I divide this book, Heighten Your Holos, in two parts. Part I, “Heed Your Holos,” summarizes Grof’s findings. Then Part II, “Heat Your Holos,” gives rites: contemplations for before and after you breathe to music. Before a breathing session, pick a rite to stir your psyche. After you complete the session, choose a rite to deepen and integrate images you got breathing.

Breathwork and the rites in this book free your most loving capacity. The breathing and contemplations are safe, easy, practical ways to discharge any pain or anger you may hold from personal or empathized experiences. Grof breathing leaves you placid and able to contribute more to the world.  

     Chapters Include: Heed Your Holos: The Ideas, Stan’s Plan, How To Do Holotropic Breathing, The Master Matrix, Heat Your Holos: The Rites, Rites, Conquer Current Concerns, Celebrate Your Subselves, Mind Your Body, Delve Dreams, Pacify The Past, Finish Farewells, Prune Parents’ Programs, Remember Mom, Deal With Dad, Play It Again With Love, Unite Adult and Child, Parent Yourself, Feel Fetal Phases, Prize Pastlives, Fantasize the Future, Find Your Purpose, Transcend Death, Conjure a Coming Incarnation, Explore the Spiritual, Peak, Access the Collective Unconscious, Chat With an Archetype, Travel As A Holotropic Shaman, Get Your Guiding Myth, Be Earth, God.


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