PT293 – Stanislav & Brigitte Grof – The Evolution of Breathwork and The Psychology of the Future

In this episode of the podcast, Joe and Kyle finally sit down with one of their all-time heroes: Stanislav Grof, MD, Ph.D., who joins them with his wife and collaborator (and co-creator of Grof® Legacy Training), Brigitte Grof, MA. 

If you’re a fan of Psychedelics Today, you know that one of the major reasons Joe and Kyle met and decided to start this whole thing up was due to a mutual admiration for Grof’s work and a strong desire to spread it through the world of psychedelia. Due to Stan’s stroke a few years ago, we haven’t been able to have him on, but he has recovered enough to grace us with an appearance. 

Stan and Brigitte talk about his stroke and recovery; developments in his concept of birth perinatal matrices; how they see breathwork evolving; how we get to the psychology of the future; the inner healing intelligence; and the need for more practitioners to have more training in non-ordinary states of consciousness. Stan also tells stories of how he discovered the power of breathwork and bodywork, and a funny story about missing a huge event at Harvard to instead relearn how to say “monkeys eat bananas.”

While the stroke set Stan back a bit in terms of speech, “the problem is in the cables, not the content,” as Brigitte says, and that is evident – as is Stan’s refreshing and humbling self-awareness and ability to laugh at his struggles. And what’s even more evident is the love between the two of them and how much Brigitte has helped him through this difficult time, and continues to help keep his knowledge in the forefront of this psychedelic renaissance (as we’re trying to do). 

Notable Quotes

“This was the only situation where I could see what LSD is actually about, because once you get beyond the matrices, there is no real material substrate for the images. It’s basically just consciousness, and the question is how far the consciousness goes further back.” -Stan

“I believe that if psychiatry goes in the right direction (not where it is going now) that it ultimately should be done with non-ordinary states of consciousness (not necessarily just psychedelics; it could be breathwork or it could be working with people who have spontaneous experiences, spiritual emergency and so-on), …because some of the deeper sources; they are not reached with verbal talking and just suppressing symptoms. It’s very bad psychiatry. So I believe, if it [goes] in the right direction, that it’s going to be [working] with non-ordinary states of consciousness.” -Stan

“I find something that is absolutely essential for breathwork …is that the psyche has the intelligence.” -Stan

“The processes are similar. …Certainly with psychedelics, it’s more visual and it’s longer, but what you could see is anything you can see in breathwork. So if you learn how to deal with this by breathwork training, …it’s an easy step to be a psychedelic sitter or starting to do psychedelics yourself. …When you know how to deal with breathwork and bodywork and everything, then you can deal with psychedelic sessions. It’s a very short, small step to move over to that area.” -Brigitte

“People can become artists who haven’t been before. It can awaken these abilities, or healing qualities, or people can maybe get some psychic experiences, or just become yourself more, whoever you are or whoever you’re supposed to be. I think that’s what it’s about.” -Brigitte


The Way of the Psychonaut: Encyclopedia for Inner Journeys (Volume One), by Stanislav Grof, M.D., Ph.D.  (Volume Two) “The Psyche & Cosmos,” with Transpersonal Psychologist Stanislav Grof, MD and Philosopher Richard Tarnas, Ph.D.: 18-module On-demand Video Training “Psychology of the Future,” with Psychiatrist and Transpersonal Psychology Pioneer Stanislav Grof, MD, Ph.D.: A 7-Module Online Course “The Way of the Psychonaut,” with Psychiatrist and Transpersonal Psychology Pioneer Stanislav Grof, MD, Ph.D.: A 24-Session Recorded Video Training “Psyche & The Cosmos: Using Archetypal Astrology as a Telescope Into Your Depths,” with Transpersonal Psychologist Stanislav Grof, MD, and Philosopher Richard Tarnas, Ph.D.: An 8-Module Online Video Course

Buy Psyche Unbound: Essays in Honor of Stanislav Grof here!

Enter the giveaway here!

The Tim Ferriss Show: Stan Grof (#347) (transcription and audio)

Psychology of the Future, by Stanislav Grof

The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness, by Erich Fromm

About Stanislav Grof, MD, Ph.D.

Stanislav Grof, MD, Ph.D., is a psychiatrist with more than sixty years of experience in research of non-ordinary states of consciousness. In the past, he was Chief of Psychiatric Research at the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and Scholar-in-Residence at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA. Currently, he is Professor of Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) in San Francisco, CA. In August 2019, his life’s work encyclopedia, The Way of the Psychonaut, was published, and the documentary film about his life and work was published as well: “The Way of the Psychonaut- Stan Grof and the journey of consciousness.

About Brigitte Grof, MA

Brigitte Grof, MA, is a psychologist, licensed psychotherapist, and artist with 35 years of experience in holotropic breathwork. She was certified in the first Grof training groups in USA and Switzerland. She has led breathwork workshops and taught training modules in the US and in Germany. Currently she works in her private practice in Wiesbaden, Germany, and leads workshops and retreats.

Since April 2016, Stan and Brigitte Grof are happily married, live in Germany and California, and conduct seminars, trainings and holotropic breathwork workshops worldwide. In May 2020, they launched their new training in working with Holotropic States of Consciousness, the international Grof® Legacy Training (

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