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THB Volume 2, No. 2 , 2000

Volume 2, No. 2 , 2000

Contents and Abstracts

Articles

‘Admira – a Breathwork Case History with a handicapped client' by Urs Baumgartner

Urs Baumgartner presents a rebirthing breathwork case history of his work with Admira, an adolescent with minor cerebral palsy. He describes how he used his own breath to support and gradually increase her ability to breathe consciously. Slowly the client became aware of her fears and began to be able to deal with them. There were improvement also in the client's squint and body control.

‘The Natural Breath: Towards Further Dialogue Between Western Somatic And Eastern Spiritual Approaches to the Body Awareness of Breathing' by Neil Douglas-Klotz

The nature of breathing and the potential use of breath experiments or exercises has over the past 70 years raised a great deal of controversy in various schools of somatic psychology and education, spiritual training, and mystical transformation. The common stereotype in Western somatic psychology that most Eastern' breathing practices are disembodied" is more a matter of emphasis than substance. The attitudes of somatic pioneers Elsa Gindler, Gerda Alexander, Wilhelm Reich, and F M. Alexander suggest a dialogue with those in the Vijnana Bhairava Sutra of the Yoga tradition and from the Chishti Sufi tradition with regards to the relationship of breath awareness to neuroticism, schizophrenia, and visionary states of awareness. A functional dialogue between the various models can be explored by approaching breathing experiments in an integrated fashion, which involves proprioceptive awareness, emotional feeling, and conscious movement with awareness of surroundings.

‘Reexperiencing Pre- And Perinatal Imprints In Non-Ordinary States Of Con­scious­ness:Remarks On Stan Grof's Theory Of The Perinatal Matrices' by Mark Seelig

This paper is intended as a survey of the basic theories pertaining to the birth process, as laid out by the psychiatrist, psychotherapist and consciousness researcher Stanislav Grof. After taking a short look at the developments in this century that led to a clearly increasing acceptance of Otto Rank's early insights concerning the ‘birth trauma', we will focus on Grof's theory of the ‘perinatal matrices', four distinct phases of birth, which he has discovered during the initial years of his now roughly four decades of research. Closely related to this core-theory is the understanding that, beyond the merely biographical level of the human psyche, there are perinatal and transpersonal dimensions of consciousness which profoundly inform our understanding of who we are and strongly influence our general outlook on life as such. Equally as important is Grof's concept of the ‘CoEx's', the ‘systems of condensed experience'. Holotropic Breathwork, a method to induce non-ordinary states of consciousness, is discussed as a means to access, re-experience, and integrate pre- and perinatal imprints and their effects on the life of the adult. The theoretical and experiential models Grof and his wife Christina have created provide explanatory tools for a host of psychological and medical problems. These tools seem to considerably exceed biographically confined models of the human psyche in their explanatory and healing potential. The paper is concluded with a commented personal account of a birth, and some final thoughts on birth and its relation to scientific epistemology and the current state of our specie's evolution.

‘What is Natural Breath?' by Margot Biestman

Book Reviews

Robert Fried, Breathe Well, Be Well. A Program to Relieve Stress, Anxiety, Asthma, Hypertension, Migraine, and Other Disorders for Better Health . New York : John Wyley & Sons, Inc., 1999, reviewed both by Catherine Dowling and Wilfried Ehrmann, Ph.D

Stella Weller, The Breath Book: 20 Ways to Breathe Away Stress, Anxiety and Fatigue , London : Thorsons, 1999)

Larry Dossey, M.D. (1997), Be Careful What You Pray For … You Just Might Get It: What We Can Do About the Unintentional Effects of Our Thoughts, Prayers, and Wishes. New York : Harper Collins

 

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