In the ever-evolving landscape of holistic healing and mind-expanding practices, we often encounter individuals whose life journeys have led them to pioneer new frontiers of consciousness. Meet Yulia Meshoyrer, a Grof Breathwork Facilitator and the visionary founder behind “Holotropic Space.” Yulia’s life is a testament to the boundless potential of human exploration, as she has embarked on a path that takes individuals on profound inner journeys, utilizing the power of the breath to expand the boundaries of the mind. As we delve into the world of Grof Breathwork and the transformative experiences it offers, Yulia’s story stands as a shining example of how one person’s pursuit of spiritual and mental growth can open up new dimensions of self-discovery and healing. Join Mystic Mag on this compelling voyage into the realm of consciousness and self-discovery as we explore the remarkable work of Yulia Meshoyrer and the transformative sanctuary she has crafted within “Holotropic Space.”
Can you share a personal transformative experience you’ve had through Holotropic Breathwork? How did it impact your journey as a facilitator?
I had my first Holotropic Breathwork experience at 14 in Russia. Here is my experience: “The darkness was complete. Nothing existed in it; neither time, nor direction, nor distance. And in this absolute void, just a tiny particle of my consciousness, without a physical shell but conscious of itself, was carried at a terrifying speed. Down? So, it could be said that this dimension had a bottom. The disheveled ‘I’ was rapidly rushing to nowhere, experiencing the terrible torment of free fall, bound by fear and awareness of the complete hopelessness of the situation. Strangely, the entire spectrum of ordinary human emotions and sensations was not lost without a body. A burning and slippery lump of cosmic horror and hopelessness got closer and closer to a non-existent throat. The situation also seemed hopeless because nothing could stop this senseless fall. There was no hope either, and it went on indefinitely. At some point, through the veil of oblivion, it began to seem that there was something else in this void. It took a lot of effort and concentration to see this – a hand in a white glove, carried at the same speed as me. The hand was open, and this hand was my only chance of salvation. But how could I cling to it if there was no physical body? Now, my whole essence was turned to this palm. I made attempts and, in powerlessness, retreated from what I intended, afraid of losing the last glimmer of conscious thought. Finally, I managed to reach it. And… I woke up. All wet from tears, silent sobs still shook my body.”
It was a hazardous situation; the facilitator needed to be trained to work with difficult experiences but disappeared the next day. But as a result, it set me on the path of trying to make sense of what I went through, and I decided to pursue my first psychological degree back in Russia. Studying Western Psychology brought more questions than answers. I moved to the United States and found the work of Stan Grof, a psychiatrist and psychologist from Prague. The more I read, the more I could address my questions that the classic model of psychology I had been studying for five years didn’t come close to answering. That is why I chose Transpersonal psychology, and Stan Grof became my first teacher in this field. My purpose in pursuing a Transpersonal education was to help myself and others recognize, develop, and use inner power and intuitive abilities to ease suffering and grow in goodness, love, compassion, and wisdom.
How does your background in Spiritual Psychology inform your approach to guiding individuals through the Holotropic Breathwork process?
My background in Transpersonal Psychology and Spiritual Guidance provides me as a facilitator with a comprehensive understanding of the spiritual and transpersonal dimensions of the human experience. This allows me to support participants through transformative journeys, helping them to connect with their inner wisdom we call “Inner Healer” – a mechanism of the human psyche that in the holotropic (means “moving towards Wholeness”) states brings up to attention and opportunity for re-living unresolved issues and memories of the breathers. In Holotropic Breathwork, we do not guide people through their experience but follow their Inner Healers, facilitating their process in a safe setting.
Meditation, psychedelics, breathwork, or intense spiritual practices may induce non-ordinary states of consciousness. I have experienced Spiritual Emergency (a profound and intense psychological crisis or awakening, often characterized by a significant and sudden shift in one’s spiritual or mystical experience; this term was coined by Stan and Christina Grof, who used it to describe the positive and challenging aspects of spiritual transformation.) myself during my Holotropic Breathwork Certification in 2014. These two weeks, filled with a massive amount of profound practices, exercises, and breathwork sessions, suddenly brought me into a vulnerable and very unusual physical and emotional state: I was shaking, sweating, and feeling a heat wave rising from the bottom of my spine, bringing a sensation of tremendous fear and panic. Being in a safe place, supported by trained facilitators and trainees, I could process an acute crisis, which led me to a new level of perception and healing. While spiritual emergencies can be profoundly positive, they can also be challenging, leading to confusion, fear, or feeling overwhelmed. After reflecting on what happened to me at certification, I felt called to continue my education about Spiritual Emergencies and enrolled in the Spiritual Emergency Coaching program at Integrative Mental Health University with Emma Bragdon. Now, with an understanding of this term from a personal perspective, I have more tools to recognize and support those on their path of deep self-exploration and spiritual discovery. Breathwork helps to get in touch with different levels of our psyche and often prevents acute crises. It is also an excellent tool for integrating intense emotions, including joy, ecstasy, or terror, as they navigate their newfound spiritual terrain.
Kundalini yoga and Holotropic Breathwork both involve altered states of consciousness. How do you see these practices complementing each other, and what unique benefits do they offer when combined?
Grof Breathwork is an intense practice and has a carefully structured protocol. We usually do not combine breathwork with anything else, excluding some silence meditation and simple relaxation before breathwork. Kundalini yoga might be an excellent practice for integration after the session or a suitable method to connect to the body and the breath before the session. We also suggest to our trainees in Grof Legacy Training that every practitioner of holotropic breathwork finds his own Spiritual discipline and follows it regularly in order to be a good facilitator. My practice – is taking regular classes with my Kundalini teacher Siri Sat Kaur, and a few personal rituals I perform every morning.
What type of services do you offer?
– In “Holotropic Space” we offer a classic Grof Breathwork workshop, which means participants are working in pairs, and after Preparation for the session, Relaxation, and 3- hours breathwork session, supported by specifically combined evocative music, partners exchange their roles as Breather and as a Sitter for the second breathwork. We always end the workshop with a Sharing circle and talk about Integration.
– We also provide Individual Breathwork sessions, staying in a format of Grof Breathwork structure. I suggest experiencing at least one group session before an individual.
– I offer counseling sessions that help to integrate experience after deep work in non-ordinary states of consciousness. These one-on-one sessions could help provide support after Grof Breathwork or psychedelics.
Holotropic Breathwork often involves non-ordinary states of consciousness. How do you help participants integrate their experiences into their everyday lives and personal growth?
Integration is a very important part of this work (not less than in psychedelics). In the breathwork workshop, there is mandatory mandala drawing – artwork right after the session, which helps participants to integrate experience without verbalizing it. Sharing circle is a practice where we are not criticizing or analyzing the experience of others; it provides breathers a chance to conceptualize experience primarily for themselves and receive unconditional and non-judgmental support by listening. We also give the breathers practical strategies and tools for psycho-spiritual and physical integration.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering trying Holotropic Breathwork for the first time? How can they prepare themselves mentally and emotionally for the experience?
Grof breathwork (named Holotropic by Stan Grof) doesn’t require previous experience and is open to everyone. However, before registering for a workshop, please read carefully about contraindications! You also might want to consult with your doctor or contact a facilitator with any medical concerns. I would also recommend reading one of Stanislav Grof’s books, where you learn how this method was developed and comprehend the general shift in Psychology toward the Holotropic paradigm.