Photo of trainees at Return to the Sacred Breathwork intensive with Leonard Orr, 2010 at Sierra Hot springs
Return to the Sacred training with Leonard Orr, 2010 at Sierra Hot springs, CA

There has been a real polarity within the Breathwork community regarding group sessions vs individual sessions.

Leonard D. Orr, founder of the modern day Breathwork movement, experimented with group Breathwork only a few times in the early days of developing rebirthing and quickly abandoned it for individual sessions. He was openly very critical of group Breathwork and it is my sense that this created a rift within the community.

We do not have to be pitted against each other. Group Breathwork and individual Rebirthing Breathwork sessions are two very different things. Although based on the same concept of connected breaths, to compare them is apples and oranges. Leonard developed goals of Rebirthing Breathwork that are very specific and unique to his methods.

Group Breathwork isn’t going to go away. Individual sessions are not going to go away.   Leonard trained thousands of students around the world in his technique of Rebirthing Breathwork. It would be a real tragedy if the technique Leonard created and perfected were lost to us and were mistakenly regarded as only a beginning of the evolution of Breathwork. His technique is a standalone method within its own right and deserves a space at the table as well. 

People have the right to know that the individual sessions as taught and developed by Leonard are an option for them today.   People have the right to choose which method they wish to utilize. 

Now, perhaps more than ever, we need to breathe in our full human potential, to embody our highest, divine, inspired selves and actualize our work and contribution to humanity. We need to come together as a community and support the global Breathwork movement in all of its forms with a mutual respect of all its variations. 

There is low quality Breathwork and high quality Breathwork in both groups and individual sessions. We as a community and professional practice are evolving into a place of better understanding and self regulation. I deeply appreciate and respect the work that has been made in various organizations around the globe to ensure that a safe, educated, and ethical Breathwork profession emerges. 

Group Breathwork is not for everyone, and individual sessions are not for everyone either.  I know many people who would choose to not do Breathwork at all rather than experience their feelings of self consciousness and have the intimacy of someone sitting with them watching them and supporting them individually. 

I also have met many people who have done group Breathwork and shared that it was the most powerful experience of their life, but they would never do it again.  

Leonard’s method of Individual Breathwork  sessions provide a more gentle initiation into the power of ones breath. Perhaps these people would still be practicing Breathwork if they had known of this option?

I value people that are sensitive to energy and are empathic. Often these are the people who are uncomfortable in group settings. Empathy and sensitivity are a vitally important part of what makes us human. Our world could use more of this.

As Breathworkers, our main goal is to get people breathing in an environment that feels safe for them. If someone knows they are sensitive to energy and would not feel comfortable or feel overwhelmed in a group setting, we can inform them that individual sessions might be a better fit for them.  I respect people’s freedom of choice. 

Some Common Myths about Individual Sessions:

  • Myth 1. “Your healing is limited in an individual session. Some things can only be healed in a group rebirth, for example the trauma of being placed in the hospital nursery right after birth, alone with other babies.”

You do not have to recreate any of the traumatic circumstances for the breath to heal you. Breath releases the cellular memories of traumas carried in the body. Breathwork does not require any logistical recreation of the trauma in order to heal. 

  • Myth 2. “Individual sessions don’t provide any group energy or collective connection. You can only experience this level of connection in group Breathwork.” 

Come to one of our Trainings based in Leonard’s Rebirthing Breathwork and you can experience first hand the collective love, family, healing, connection, and total high that a group of people can experience together when they do the practices he taught as a collective tribe. Our sharing circles, ongoing support groups and One Year Seminars provide a very elevated group connection and inspiration.  

  • Myth 3. “As a Breathworker, it is not worth my time to focus one-on-one with people when I can reach so many more through groups.”

In individual sessions we practice presence and know that the initiation into the power of the breath is worth the time and attention of a one on one setting.

We recognize the value and importance of breathing while in the full attention and presence of a Breathworker who has visited and healed many of their own darkest aspects, birth trauma, death urge, etc and is able to hold space directly for the person breathing, to be that embodied, cellular resonance that supports and lifts up awareness and healing.

A person given this attention and taken through the basic first ten sessions can begin to facilitate sessions safely within a supervised training format. The steps to get certified and work professionally easily follow from there. We are creating more Breathworkers that are empowered to be independent and utilize Breathwork for themselves on their own or for others at any time in their personal life and professional life. In this way, the number of people we reach is exponential.

As for myself personally, although in my early days as a Rebirther I had experience in both receiving and facilitating group sessions, I eventually chose to practice individual sessions only. The form of Breathwork I resonate most with is Leonard’s method, philosophies and complete healing system with the elements.

I’d love to read your comments… What other myths have you heard about individual sessions?