Breath reflects every aspect of our life, on all levels of being - physical, emotional and spiritual. More than this, if the intent is to participate consciously in the breath experience without control, we can access resources within. Breath lets us know what is needed to come into balance and maintain health. The Experience of Breath, the Middendorf Breath Work, is a unique education toward healing through breath.

For more than 65 years, Prof. Ilse Middendorf of Berlin, Germany developed The Experience of Breath, a somatic work, based on the autonomic mode of breathing. This approach promotes a conscious experience of breath, free from control of the human will.

Breath not only reaches our inner world and moves us, it also connects us to the world outside. Breath that comes and goes on its own creates movements both inward and outward, in an ever-continuing act of filling and emptying, receiving and giving, the masculine and the feminine in a dialogue, searching for balance and growth.

Breath Movement becomes meaningful. Through simple exercises we become aware of breath laws and principles, and use them as a tool to experience and understand breath movements as the source of our creative forces as well as an outlet for their expression. The Self becomes embodied through the movements and gestures that are initiated by breath. We enter a self-analytical process of growth and development. Body, soul, and spirit can be experienced as one.

Every single breath cycle actualizes past, present and perspective of our being. By learning to listen to our breath we connect with a source that can help to direct and lead us through an appropriate process of integration. Breath becomes our teacher and healer.


Since its inception, this artistic form of breathing education, developed by Professor Ilse Middendorf, has achieved international attention for its effectiveness as a somatic healing and growth process. Professor Middendorf began practicing her work in 1935. In 1965 in Berlin, she founded the Institute for the Perceptible Breath (now called The Experience of Breath), which certifies practitioners in the Middendorf Breathwork.

This work has seen a pattern of steady growth, so there are now several Middendorf schools in Europe. Each year these schools graduate between seventy and ninety new practitioners who work in a variety of areas of private practice music and acting schools, clinics for rehabilitation, and psychology, counseling offices, etc..

In 1986, Advanced Seminars of Berkeley, California, a center for Feldenkrais education and other somatic explorations, together with the Berlin Middendorf Breath Institute, sponsored the introduction of Professor Middendorf's work to the United States. After that first workshop, Ilse Middendorf and her close associate, Juerg Roffler, returned each year to conduct workshops and training seminars. In 1989, to support the growing interest in the Middendorf Breathwork, Juerg Roffler, initiated the first training program leading to the certification of Middendorf practitioners in the United States. In 1991 Juerg founded the Middendorf Breath Institute and the first group of certified practitioners graduated in April, 1992. The newly formatted 3 block Professional Training Program is offered in the Bay Area. The Berlin and Berkeley Institutes use the same curriculum for the certification and training program.

In 1995, The Breath Center of San Francisco (BCSF) was founded as a non-profit organization for the advancement of the Middendorf Breathwork. The Middendorf Breath Institute and BCSF are closely related.

The Professional Training and Certification Program is approved by the California Council for Private Post-secondary and Vocational Education. The Institute is authorized to be a Continuing Education Provider for Nurses, MFCC's, and Social Workers.


The Middendorf Training Program is designed for professionals working in the somatic, psychological, artistic, or educational fields, or for persons who want to further their own personal growth. Experience working with groups is desirable.


Participants must be in good physical and mental health, and able to take responsibility for any influence the program may have in those areas.

Participants must provide proof of completion of basic knowledge of anatomy. If the anatomy requirement is not fulfilled before entering the third block of the training (full certification), students take a course in anatomy from Faith Hornbacher, staff member of the Middendorf Institute for Breathexperience, Berkeley.


JUERG ROFFLER, Director and founder of the Middendorf Institute for Breathexperience, is a certified Middendorf practitioner and former instructor at the Ilse Middendorf Berlin Institute for Breathexperience. He has more than thirty years of training and experience in breath therapy, somatic work, and body-psychotherapy. Juerg conducts workshops, professional trainings and postgraduate trainings throughout North America and Europe. He offers his extensive experience also through the "breathmoved"  porgrams (the art of being moved by the breath) and the Breathexperience in Relationship programs. Both of these programs are a further development of the breathexperience work.
Juerg teaches most of the segments in the 3 block training programs. 


MARGOT BIESTMAN is a certified practitioner of Middendorf Breathexperience with a private practice in Sausalito and The Sea Ranch. She is also an author and artist, and teaches classes in Creative Living. She has more than 30 years of experience in education with people from ages 3-93. Margot is a member of the teaching staff of the Middendorf Institute for Breathexperience.

MARTY BARCLAY is a professional gardener and garden designer for 29 years. She has been involved in Breathexperience since 1992 and is a certified practitioner of Middendorf Breathexperience. She is a staff member of the Middendorf Institute for Breathexperience and has a private practice in Berkeley.

FAITH HORNBACHER is a certified practitioner of Middendorf Breathexperience, with a private practice in Palo Alto. She is also a certified practitioner of Aston-Patterning and has been in practice for 25 years. She is an artist and has illustrated books in the field of health education. Faith is a member of the teaching staff of the Middendorf Institute for Breathexperience, and teaches a course in anatomy.

NELL SMYTH is a certified practitioner of Middendorf Breathexperience and a member of the teaching staff of the Middendorf Institute in Berkeley. She works both in Europe and the States and has particular expertise in working with children and teachers in a variety of settings. Her book The Breathing Circle was published by Hawthorn Press. She is currently writing her next book on breath and theater arts as integrative in school curricula.



CECILY GRABURN is the book keeper and in charge of the Newsletter, distributed by Constant Contact.

MARIAN JONA is the administrator of the MIBE facebook page.



Over the course of each training program, other certified Middendorf teachers from Europe and the United States, will visit and assist in the training.


To become a trainer of a Middendorf Training Program independent of the Middendorf Institute for Breathexperience, the requirements are to: 1) actively practice Middendorf Breathwork for seven years after certification; 2) participate in at least three post-graduate training courses in a period of five years; 3) become an assistant teacher in a training program for at least three years; 4) demonstrate depth of understanding; and 5) obtain authorization from Juerg Roffler.

PROGRAM SUMMARY - traditional schedule - Class O

The Professional Training consists of three blocks which totals 14 segments and is spread over a three + year period. Each segment lasts twelve days, including a two-day break in the middle of the segment. Two individual sessions with a certified Middendorf practitioner are included with each segment as a part of the program. Complete attendance in all 14 segments (all three Blocks) is required, as part of the fulfillment for final certification. Complete attendance in the first 8 segments (Blocks I and II) is required as part of the fulfillment to receive Teaching Authorization for certification.



Seg. I  - April 4-15, 2015
Seg. II  - July 4-15, 2015
Seg. III  - Oct. 3-14, 2015
Seg. IV  - Jan. 9-20, 2016
Seg. V  - April 2-13, 2016
Seg. VI  - July 2-13, 2016
Seg. VII  - Oct. 1-12, 2016
Seg. VIII  - Jan. 4-14, 2017 (date changed)
Seg. IX  - April 1-12, 2017
Seg. X  - June 26 -July 7, 2017
Seg. XI  - Sept. 30 - Oct. 11, 2017
Seg. XII  -  Jan. 6-17, 2018
Seg. XIII  - April 7-18, 2018
Seg. XIV  - July 7-18, 2018  -  Graduation, Sunday, July 15, 2018

See also:


GROUP Q (new training)

Seg. I - Oct. 6-17, 2018

Seg. II - Jan.5-16, 2019

Seg III - April 6-17, 2019

Seg IV - July 6-17, 2019

Seg V - Oct. 5-16, 2019


Tuition for the training is $975.00 for each segment (traditional schedule, Class O) or each 5 day segment including two weekend segments (new scheduling format, Class N). This includes both the instruction provided during the classes and two individual sessions. Payment for each segment is due five days before the beginning of the segment. A certification fee of $300.00 is due with tuition for Segment XIV, the last segment of Block III.



Please note: If you pay online, PayPal charges MIBE a service fee. We will ask you to reimburse us for this convenience. The fee varies depending on if you pay in US dollars or foreign currancy.



All segments take place at:

Middendorf Institute for Breathexperience
801 Camelia Street, Suite C
Berkeley, California, 94710-1459
(510) 981-1710 


"The Perceptible Breath" by Prof. Ilse Middendorf, (book with audio tapes), Junfermann-Verlag, Paderborn, 1990) $30.00 plus postage and tax if a California resident.

"The Revelation of the Breath: A Tribute to its Wisdom, Power and Beauty" ed. by Sharon G. Mijares. (Chapter 10 is by Juerg Roffler.) Excelsior Editions: State University of New York Press, Albany, New York. 2009. $25.00 plus postage and tax if a California resident.

"River of Breath" by Margot Biestman. iUniverse Press, 2008. $25.00 plus postage and tax if a California resident.

"The Breathing Circle: Learning through the movement of the natural breath" by Nell Smyth. Hawthorn Press, 2006. $25.00 plus postage and tax if a California resident. Note: This book is for people who love, have and/or work with children.

"The Breathing Self: The Experience of Breath as an Art to Healing Yourself" by Prof. Ilse Middendorf and Juerg Roffler. Article in the Journal of the International Association of Yoga Therapists, January 1995)

"Randomized, Controlled Trial of Breath Therapy for Patients with Chronic Low-Back Pain" by Wolf E. Mehling, MD; Kathryn A. Hamel, PhD; Michael Acree, PhD; Nancy Byl, PhD, PT; & Frederick M. Hecht, MD, MPH. Article in Alternative Therapies, July/Aug. 2005, Vol, 11. No. 4.

"Breathexperience: The Art of Living" by Juerg Roffler, Margot Biestman and Anne Smith. Article in Massage & Bodywork, June/July 2007.



To apply, students must send a brief description of their background, education, current profession and a statement of their motivation for participating in the program.

Applicants who are accepted will be enrolled on a first-come, first-serve basis.  The maximum enrollment for each training group is currently limited to 16 persons.

After receiving an application for admission, two copies of the training contract will be sent to you. Sign and initial both copies in all indicated spaces and return both copies to the office, address below. Include your non-refundable $75.00 administrative fee. We will then sign and date both copies and return one copy to you for your files and keep one copy for our files.

Final acceptance in the training is guaranteed with the mutual signing of a contract.
Send application and student enrollment agreement to:

                       The Middendorf Institute for Breathexperience
                        801 Camelia Street, Suite C
                        Berkeley, CA  94710-1459

 Any questions, call: (510) 981-1710 or email us at




I am applying for the Middendorf Personal Growth & Professional Training Program in Berkeley.

Block I ____ Block I I ____ Block I I I____  Starting Date   ________________________

Last Name _________________________________________________________

First Name, Middle ___________________________________________________

Address ___________________________________________________________

City ___________________________  State and Zip ________________________

Phone    Home ______________________  Work  ___________________________

Date of Birth ______________________ E-Mail _____________________________

Single ______________  Married ________________ Divorced ________________

Education (traditional) _________________________________________________


Motivation __________________________________________________________



Experience with Middendorf Breath Work __________________________________


Additional Comments _________________________________________________


Signature ________________________________Date_______________________