Giten & our core lead faculty share in a mini-interview what led them to BBTRS® and why they felt so inspired to share it supporting others on their path to embodiment.
Meet Giten Tonkov, Founder of BBTRS®
1. As the founder and creator of the Biodynamic Breathwork and Trauma Release System® (BBTRS®), what was the initial inspiration behind developing this unique modality? And how has your vision evolved over the years?
The initial inspiration for BBTRS® came from studying a different breathwork modality and having a background as a massage therapist. I saw how powerful breathwork can be. But with my background as a massage therapist and bodyworker, I realized how the combination of both can produce the most incredible results. The first two elements out of the six biodynamic breathwork elements were originally breath and bodywork. This inspiration came simply by observing how the body responds to the breath and how bodywork helped people to go deeper into that opening. As I continued to explore, it became apparent to me that movement was also important and it became the third main element of this modality.
Over the years, my vision evolved as I continued working with the first three elements that I created with breath, movement, and touch (bodywork). I became more and more interested in how this work was impacting people. And began to wonder what new elements needed to come in to allow people to go even deeper. The inspiration came from observing what was happening in front of me while working individually and with groups. It evolved simply by noticing what needed to happen next. Noticing the direction that the work was taking and being attuned to what elements would support that direction, allowed it all to flow through almost effortlessly. That was the beauty of the development – it evolved simply through experience.
2. Your training in various body-oriented therapies is extensive, ranging from massage therapy to breath and body-oriented therapy. How have these different approaches influenced the development of BBTRS®, and how do you integrate them into your practice and teaching?
I would not have developed BBTRS® if I was not fully trained in these modalities that I have practiced for years. I became a massage therapist in 1994 and it was my main practice. And for at least 15 to 20 years, I exclusively practiced massage therapy in medical and rehabilitation settings. This gave me a strong basis for understanding the physical workings of the body, how the body responds to touch, and how the body responds to various aspects of touch. This helped me to get clear on the effects of bodywork in combination with breath, and on the physical experience of a person who’s been working with it. Biodynamic Breathwork is an amalgamation of several healing modalities that I practiced and studied including massage therapy, breathwork, body-oriented psychology, trauma-informed practices, and family constellations. All of that gave me a set of tools to bring into creating Biodynamic Breathwork and its six elements of breath, touch, movement, sound, meditation, and emotions.
3. Having lived and worked in various parts of the world, such as Ukraine, New York, Italy, India, and California, how have these diverse cultures and experiences influenced your approach to breathwork and trauma release?
Living and working in different parts of the world has certainly exposed me to a multitude of cultural, familial, and religious conditions, all of which people carry into their individual and group sessions. What we aim to uncover in our work, however, is that beneath all these layers of conditioning, we are fundamentally the same. Our essence does not pertain to any particular culture, family, sexual orientation, or identity. It is a neutral, divine nature that all of us possess, often concealed by various belief systems, identities, and affiliations.
The core objective of our work, particularly with BBTRS®, is to reveal this essence, this unifying force within humankind. To accomplish this, it’s necessary to release trauma, to let go of the tension we’re holding, to remove everything blocking this divine essence from flowing freely and allowing us to truly see each other. It’s a beautiful journey, and it’s deeply gratifying to guide people through this process of healing and self-discovery!