What is our work
The BreathExperience practice connects with the source of allowing the breath to come and go on its own, by sensing the movement of breath in your body.
You practice this in sitting, using a stool, or standing and moving, following the invitations of the teacher who guides you through simple sequences that will facilitate your allowing the breath to come and go on its own and your sensing the movement of breath in your body.
In this way you enter a processes of growing and developing using your own innate intelligent resources, your teacher within, holding your own unique, individual path of healing.
BreathExperience will feel very different from practices that actively manage the breath – for example, certain yogic practices or an approach like Wim Hof. In BreathExperience there is no manipulation, influence or control: the breath needs to have every possibility available to be able to do what is needed. If we direct the breath with a plan, it can fulfill a plan, but it may not necessarily be the development needed at that moment. The breath that comes and goes on its own, in its undisturbed state, that we consciously experience, will indicate the steps that need to happen. The experience of breath becomes our teacher.
There are also several meditative practices where attention is given to breath; however, the focus for these practices usually emphasizes the spirit or the emotions. BreathExperience is rooted in the sensation of the movement of breath in our body. It is through this sensation, together with our presence and conscious experience, that we come to know not only our body, but also our soul and spirit. In our work we come to understand that a spiritual or emotional experience is never separate from an experience of Self, an experience of body, and an experience of breath. Through the sensation of the movement of breath we have a simple door to access all of this.
People come to somatic and meditative works with all sorts of goals, and absolutely participants in BreathExperience report beneficial effects.
- reduction of stress and anxiety,
- emotional balance
- increased stability and flexibility in mind and body,
- clearing of holdings and restrictions along the skeletal structure/posture in the spine, so that it becomes naturally realigned and balanced
- Sense of overall wellbeing
- Personal growth and more fulfilled partnerships
- and more
One quality that people seem to deeply appreciate with BreathExperience in particular is that helps with a strong sense of authenticity – that it helps you be more who you are. And that since your teacher is your own experience, it builds a sense of self-reliance and less need for an outside resource to “fix” something.
There have been practioners who’ve looked at BreathExperience from a scientific point of view. Here is a summary of a study looking at how BreathExperience work was as helpful as skilled physical therapy in treating lower back pain.
About the work
Since its inception this artistic form of breathing education has achieved international attention for its effectiveness as a somatic healing and growth process. Professor Ilse Middendorf began practicing her work in 1935. She founded the Institute of the Perceptible Breath, or Breathexperience, in 1965, lived and worked in Berlin, Germany, maintaining a full schedule-leading workshops and training practitioners throughout the world up until shortly before her death in May 2009. Juerg Roffler is the current director and founder of several Institutes for BreathExperience. He is continuing Ilse's work and has developed it further, participating in each of the schools as a team member of the training staff.
In Europe this work is recognized as one of the major practices in somatic education. It has seen a pattern of steady growth and each year schools graduate between seventy and ninety new Breathexperience practitioners who work in a variety of areas of private practice, music and acting schools, clinics for rehabilitation, and psychology. During COVID our institutes offer mainly online classes. Workshops, retreats, classes, and private sessions with certified practitioners will resume as soon as possible.