Leonard Orr is the founder of Rebirthing Breathwork, also called Conscious Breathing or Intuitive Energy Breathing.
He discovered this holistic healing modality in 1962 by taking long baths in which he began breathing spontaneously in a connected rhythm, experiencing great levels of relaxation and healing. Leonard continued experimenting with his own individual breathing sessions until 1973, when people asked him to facilitate sessions for them.
Early Rebirthing Breathwork sessions were conducted in hot tubs with snorkels and nose clips to create a womblike experience. “People experienced the peace that surpasses all understanding,” Leonard observed. “They breathed themselves out of pain and tension into relaxation and peace. Most Rebirthing Breathwork sessions are physical, emotional, and spiritual. People experience breathing out pain, tension, drama, and trauma into relaxation and peace.”
By 1975, Leonard had facilitated hundreds of sessions and witnessed the transformation of his clients’ breathing and the miraculous healing that ensued.
Leonard eventually discovered that Rebirthing could also be facilitated effectively out of the water, which made it possible for Rebirthing to become a mass movement. Among his many clients are Werner Erhard of Est (Landmark Education) and Stanislov Grof (Holotropic Breathwork). Students of Leonard’s include: Sondra Ray (Liberation Breathing), Jim Morningstar (School of Integrative Psychology), Dan Brule (Breath Therapy), and Judith Kravitz (Transformational Breathing). He was a guest lecturer at the National Institute of Health and the Esalen Institute. Leonard was featured on “Sixty Minutes” and “Twenty-Twenty.”
Leonard Orr founded Rebirthing Breathwork International (RBI) and spent more than 40 years introducing millions of people to breathwork.
He taught Rebirthing throughout Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America, India and the U.S. Leonard wrote more than 29 books translated into many languages, including: Breaking the Death Habit (1998) and Physical Immortality (1981). He co-authored: Rebirthing in the New Age (1983) with Sondra Ray and Manual for Rebirthers with Fannie van Laere (2011).
Along with Rebirthing Breathwork, Leonard advocated the practices of meditation, yoga, cultivating a positive mind, utilizing positive affirmations, eating a healthy vegetarian diet, and spiritual purification with the elements of earth, air, water and fire.
In 2008, he met Elvi Jogeva, who was born in Estonia and worked as a French teacher.
At the time, Elvi was searching for alternative healing methods and drawn to spiritual teachings. Attending the 9-Day Rebirthing Breathwork and Spiritual Purification Training led by Leonard was an experience of healing and community she had been longing for.
Elvi and Leonard got married in 2009. It was a profoundly meaningful and enriching time to be sharing life and transformative experiences. Together they continued traveling internationally and teaching participants in the training center in Staunton, Virginia.
Leonard passed September 5th, 2019 at the age of 81. Elvi Orr continues to honor Leonard’s profound and extensive legacy through her ongoing work with the team of RBI.
She lives in Asheville, North Carolina and joyfully practices Rebirthing Breathwork with individual clients and facilitates Rebirthing Trainings (both currently online).
In 2019, she co-founded the Leonard D. Orr Foundation to preserve and continue sharing the life’s work and teachings of her late husband.