For centuries breathwork has been an element of Eastern spiritual traditions. Breathwork of various kinds is integral to the practice of meditation, yoga and tantra. In the West, the power of breathwork was discovered in the mid-twentieth century by pioneers of psychotherapy such as Wilhelm Reich. Interest grew slowly until the counter culture movement of the 1960’s when the use of breathwork as a spiritual and psychotherapeutic practice burgeoned.
At that time, psychiatrist Stanislav Grof and his wife Cristina developed Holotropic Breathwork out of Grof’s work in psychiatric institutions. In the late 60’s Leonard Orr discovered Rebirthing Breathwork in the course of his personal search for spiritual growth and the expansion of consciousness. Since then other forms of breathwork have been developed and utilised in a variety of situations and setting.
Contemporary breathwork in all its rich and diverse forms has been developing and evolving at an increasing pace since then. Today, many countries have their own national associations of breathwork oriented therapists and registers of qualified breathwork practitioners. Breathwork forms part of many mainstream psychotherapy training courses. The Breathing Circle movement has spread around the world with circles taking place in over 20 countries.
With this international movement in mind, in 1994, Gunnel Minett, the author of Breath and Spirit (The Aquarian Press, 1994) founded the Global Inspiration Conference. Together with fellow Swedish Rebirthers Bo Walstrom and Lena Kristina Tuulse. They invited Breathwork Professionals and Practitioners from around the world to join them in Sweden for a week of breathing, sharing and fun. Out of that first conference grew the International Breathwork Foundation.