#372 – Exploring Holotropic Breathwork with Jungian Analyst Monika Wikman

Monika Wikman Stan Grof


Monika Wikman, Ph.D. was my guest on episodes #344 – Archetypal Phenomena Surrounding Death, #286 on Jungian Active Imagination and #235 – Using Alchemical Archetypes in Jungian Analysis. She is a Jungian Analyst and author of Pregnant Darkness: Alchemy and the Rebirth of Consciousness (2005) and a chapter entitled Sophia’s Dreaming Body: Night Sky as Alchemical Mirror in the book The Dream and its Amplification (2013), along with various articles in Jungian psychology journals. Monika obtained her BA from UC San Diego and her doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego, where her research took her deep into the study of dreams of people with terminal cancer. After teaching graduate students at California State University, Los Angeles, she graduated as a diplomat from the Jung-Von Franz Center for Depth Psychology in Zurich. She lectures internationally on mythology and symbolism, dreams and wellness, alchemy and creativity. And Monika particularly enjoys collaborating with Diane Haug creating weeklong retreats with breathwork as a component for diving deeply into the living waters of the psyche. In private practice as a Jungian Analyst and astrologer, she lives and works in Tesuque, New Mexico and Santa Barbara, California with her partner, Tom Elsner.

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A psychology podcast by David Van Nuys, Ph.D.

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  1. Dr. Michael Ocana
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this episode very much.
    I realized that I had in fact had a “peak experience” in a recent session of “somatic experiencing” as part of my training.
    This event seemed to contain all the ingredients you and Monica referred to. It seems there are many pathways to such an experience which again points to the convergence of many different fields on common underlying pathways.
    I very much liked your metaphor of pointing your skis down the hill. That is a great description of the process in somatic experiencing where you allow yourself to voluntarily enter a profoundly altered state of consciousness.
    I agree with Monica injunction to bring these practices back to our western culture.
    I feel like I am engaging the “Puer archetype” in this work. I am already bringing the fruit of this work back to my practice and hope to share it more broadly at some time in the future.

  2. Alan Tabor
    Posted January 23, 2014 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Hi Dave,

    I’m actually managing to hit the comments section with this one as per your request.

    It’s a false dichotomy to look at holotropic breathing as either hyper-ventilation or something else. It is hyper-ventilation >and< it is holotropic breathwork.

    The techne, however, disappears after a few sessions. I had it in the first 2-3 maybe and never after that. I also had a stint of sessions in which I had periods of intense dizziness that I think had something to do with a somatic memory (or something similar) of anesthesia. I view both the techne and the dizziness as something breathed through, released, and left behind. To my mind, what’s described as the symptoms of hyper-ventilation are a subset of the effects of this type of breathing.

    I’ve been doing this for 25+ years and some rebirthing before that. I’ve, also, found reference to the same types of breathing…defined as sustained ‘chained’ breath with no pause between inhales and exhales…in a other places. One, for example, is the Secret of the Golden Flower: the Chinese alchemical text whose English translation was published with an introduction by Carl Jung. Yogic breath of fire is basically this minus the real loud music.

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