Breema is a teaching of the heart, an expression of the unifying principle of Existence. Its purpose is to create harmony and balance between your mind, feelings, and body, and in your relationship to yourself, to others, and to all life.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Child of Existence, Child of Society

Our life has three stages. In the first stage of life, we begin as a cell, which soon becomes this incredible human form. Within this form, there is an essence given to us by Existence. In this first stage of life (which lasts a few years), this essence, the reality of ourself, grows.

The second stage of life begins as our essence begins to be covered over by what we learn. We learn by education and imitation. And what we acquire this way forms our personality. We learn how to get along with people, and how to earn money to buy the things we want. In the second stage of life, you could become the best at something. You could become rich, famous, admired by everyone. In short, in the second stage, you have a chance to get the best that outer life offers. Instead of being yourself, you try to be something you are not. You learn to behave according to the social standard. You become an imaginary person, imagining you are someone you are not. And your life becomes a series of interactions with other people who also imagine they are someone they are not, without any connection to reality.

The third stage of life is for those who aren’t satisfied with what life offers. They experience an inner emptiness, even if they are outwardly successful. They somehow feel the meaninglessness of things. Those who wish to find meaning may come to the third stage of life. The second stage is about becoming better and better, greater and greater, until you reach the top. But in the third stage of life, you become less and less, until you taste your own nothingness.

The great Teachers and prophets taught about the third stage of life. Their teachings weren’t to help us become more successful and accumulate more. They were to help us really become human, to help us transform ourselves from unconscious creatures into human beings, and then into perfected human beings. This is the real meaning of alchemy. It begins with self-study. To do that, you have to become familiar with what you want to study. You have to look. If you look, you see that one part of you thinks, one part feels, and another part moves. By observing, you can see that your mind, feelings, and body are never in harmony. You think one way, but you feel another way, and what you do is often something different than what you think or feel. The process of seeing gives you self-knowledge. You don’t only think you are like that—you know it, because you’ve seen it for yourself.

When you have self-knowledge, your direction becomes clear—bring body and mind together, and keep them together until your feelings join in. Then, instead of being automatic and mechanical, you have more ability to choose how you manifest. You have Being-participation in your activity, and all of the Nine Principles of Harmony manifest in your activity.

Excerpted from Child of Existence, Child of Society, by Jon Schreiber.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Six Reasons to Come to a Breema Intensive

There are many reasons to participate in Breema intensives and workshops. Here are a few of them:

  • Discover a unique atmosphere of Mutual Support that makes learning natural and enjoyable and supports physical, mental, and emotional well-being.  
  • Learn and practice a repertoire of dynamic Breema treatments and Self-Breema exercises that nurture and vitalize you.
  • Meet and practice with students from all over the country and the world.
  • Participate in a practical exploration of  Breema's Nine Principles of Harmony that can transform your experience of life.
  • Gain perspective and clarity about your essential life goals and how you can take steps towards fulfilling them harmoniously.
  • Find out how to make your activities and your life more fulfilling and meaningful.

Fall Breema Intensive October 17-22, 2015
Earlybird payment discount through Sept 1, use code EARLYBIRD when you register online here.
Multiple attendance options are available, contact us!
More info.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The ‘Art of Being Present’ Premieres in Olympia, WA June 19-21

The post was contributed by Elaine Pendergrast

June is the first time Breema is coming to Olympia, and some people are already very excited. Caroline Pettipiece, owner of Blue Water Health, is one of them. She has taken Breema workshops in Seattle with Roxanne Caswell and Birthe Kaarsholm, the same instructors that will be teaching here.

“One of the things I value most about Breema is the mind-body connection that happens,” she said of her experience. “I think it is a very strong element that sets Breema apart. Doing Breema helps me to slow down and remember to enjoy the important things in life: my connection to my self and my connection to others.”

Developed over the last 30 years in Oakland, California, Breema is a comprehensive, holistic system that uses movement and touch, integrated with universal principles, to support becoming present and remaining present. It consists of three components: two-person Breema bodywork (where one person gives and the other receives), Self-Breema movement exercises (done with one’s own body), and the underlying philosophy, as expressed in the Nine Principles of Harmony.

Caroline continued, “Another thing I really love about Breema is that it is for everybody. People of all different shapes, sizes, and ages can all do Breema. As a massage therapist of 12 years I have taken a lot of different continuing education and I appreciate that Breema workshops are not filled with just massage therapists. It's so much fun to do bodywork with people that don't do bodywork all day for a living.”

Also excited is Jena Hennessey, a Self-Breema Instructor from Seattle, who is coming down to participate in the workshop. She first read a description of Breema in a catalog for Breitenbush Hot Springs in Oregon, which hosts two Breema workshops every year. The listing of the Nine Principles of Harmony especially resonated with her. Having experienced injury as professional bodyworker, she was looking for new ways to support herself and was intrigued that Breema’s focus was on the practitioner instead of on the client. “I had never even thought about that approach before, but knew it was what I needed and wanted,” she told me. “When I started studying Breema, working with Body Comfortable gave me permission to actually find how to be more comfortable, and to have acceptance of my body however it was. I became more relaxed and more present. It was as if my body, mind, and feelings were learning how to speak a new language in which I was included in whatever I was doing, and could benefit more from doing it.”

Through reading books on Breema Jena started to delve more deeply into the philosophy and principles, applying them in personal relationships as well as professionally. She continued, “The principles have had such a direct impact on all my relationships. They’ve opened up new ways of seeing others and relating more harmoniously. I use them often and they are like friends to me now.”

In the weekend workshop participants will practice working with coming to body-mind connection while exploring the Nine Principles. Through being present and actualizing the principles in a Breema class, an atmosphere of acceptance is created. Working with movement and touch in this nonjudgmental way can help us be more accepting of ourselves, and show us that we are not separate from anything in the universe.

Roxanne Caswell and Birthe Kaarsholm, Certified Breema Instructors with many years of combined experience, will be teaching the workshop, and are looking forward to bringing Breema to Olympia. They related why they love teaching Breema and how they have benefited from having it be an everyday practice. “At the Breema Center, we say that Breema introduces us to a way of moving, thinking, and feeling that is a direct expression of our degree of presence,” Birthe explained.
“What I appreciate about Breema most is the tools it gives me to be more balanced and available in my daily life, whatever activity I’m engaged in,” Birthe related. “Even when I’m sitting in the office at my computer, I can come to body-mind connection and experience my weight sitting on the chair, and my body breathing. That can remind me of a principle, for example No Extra, so I can drop my concerns about the past and future and more fully participate in what I’m doing at the moment. My energy and interest are renewed, and I become more present. When I am present, I don’t have resistance to what I’m doing, and don’t feel as drained.”

Roxanne added, “When I remember and apply the Principles, I see that they really benefit how I relate to others, and to myself.” She continued, “Often Single Moment/Single Activity reminds me to take the time to actually look at and listen to others. I can slow down the chatter in my mind racing to jump in with what I intend to say, and simply be open to receiving not only what the other person is saying, but how they are and how I am. Then, instead of a ready-made conversation based on past expectations and preferences, there’s a more meaningful exchange.”

The workshop takes place at Motion in Balance Studio, located at 219 Legion Way SW, Suite 203–A. A free experiential Open House evening, where participants can receive a mini-session and find out more, precedes the workshop on Friday, June 19 from 7-9 at the same location.

Continuing Education is offered for massage therapists and bodyworkers. Registration is available by calling or emailing the Breema Center at 510-428-0937 or, or online by going to the website at

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Breema Supports Physicians in Caring for Others—and Themselves

Recently I had a series of inspiring interviews with healthcare professionals who are also Breema instructors and practitioners. In keeping with their aim to bring Breema to every aspect of their lives, they use the philosophy and principles of Breema in their practices, transforming their interactions with patients and colleagues and finding balance in the midst of tremendously demanding schedules.

They all said that the philosophy of Breema supports them to view both themselves and their patients as much more than their outward condition. "I try to remember that it is doing a disservice to the patient to see them as just a set of symptoms, or a condition I need to 'fix,' says Laura Rawson, LAc.
"Breema taught me how important it is to accept people as they are."

Karen Burt, MD, agrees. "In Breema classes I learned that to just be with someone, to be truly present with them, in a moment of life together, is one of the most healing activities I can do. Some of my patients who expressed the most gratitude to me—I never felt that I 'fixed' their problem."

‪‪Alexandra Johnson, MD, also r‬ecognizes that it's impossible to really know what someone else needs. In her interaction with patients, she supports them to look a little deeper at their condition and its causes.‬ "I know the potential for learning and growth that comes from our relationship to our bodies," she said. "I try to help my patients figure out what they need to support their own health and vitality, recognizing that everyone has that wisdom within them, and they just need to get connected to it. This posture came directly from studying Breema."

All three physicians emphasized that developing connection and trust with their patients was the crucial element in their movement towards health. "Healing means wholeness," Karen said. "I've seen in the groups that I worked with that people need to find a connection to some aspect of themselves that is inherently whole and healthy, in order to rise above their resistance to change. Sometimes a real connection with the doctor, or with other group members, is what supports this connection in themselves."

Breema principles also provide support in dealing with the challenges of practicing medicine in the modern world. "There are times when I'm seeing many patients in quick succession," Laura said. "At first I had the idea I need to "conserve" my energy, but I soon saw that Full Participation was a better approach. Fully participating in each exchange—and working with Single Moment, Single Activity too—actually gives me energy and makes short interactions feel complete." She also uses the Breema touch with her patients—holding with one hand on their body as she places needles with the other hand. Touching the patient while placing the needles isn't "necessary" for acupuncture, but she finds that it is very supportive, helping her remember her wish to be present and increasing the connection between herself and her patient.

Using the nurturing touch of Breema bodywork with patients could take the form of giving Breema as part of an examination or prior to a procedure, or simply holding a hand while being present, with body-mind connection. "I used to see patients and they would rest their arm on the small desk at which we were seated, and I would just place my hand on their arm, and focus on my breath as I listened to their stories, says Karen Burt. "That supported me to be receptive rather than focused on my own agenda, and when I became present, this receptivity made it more possible to find what was needed. It also helped me to really listen—sometimes truly listening to someone is all you need to do."

Alexandra often offers a Breema foot treatment to women about to give birth. "The birth process can be scary," she said. "As we go through it together,  I try to help them stay grounded in the present, to actually experience their body in each moment. Staying out of the past and future reduces the fear."

Using Breema principles and body-mind connection also supports these doctors under the demands of their job. "If a colleague gets tense or upset around me, I remember the principles of Mutual Support and No Judgment," says Alexandra. "I know that when Breema principles are alive for me,  I am supporting everyone in the room, including myself— no matter what specific role I may be playing in an operation or procedure. So it helps me let go of ego and keeps me available to what is needed." She's also involved in resident education to support physician wellness and burnout prevention. Her classes include body-centered meditation and she teaches residents how to create reminders to support themselves to stay balanced and grounded throughout their day. "Every time I disinfect my hands between patients, I use that motion to remind me to come to my body. I encourage the residents to find reminders like this for themselves. The more we bring this type of self-care into physician's education, the more we'll have physicians who don't burn out."

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How Breema Helps My Therapy Practice

The single most important aspect of the therapeutic process is the connection and trust between therapist and client and the level of presence the therapist can bring to the interaction.

That is the consensus of four Breema instructors who are also professional therapists. I spoke with them about how Breema has supported them and their practice. "As a client, when I look at the person who is my therapist, I want to know that someone is home there," says Aron Saltiel, psychotherapist in Graz, Austria. "I don't want someone who is trying to compute how they can fix me, I want to know that I am actually being seen and heard. So how does the therapist make sure they are actually seeing and hearing the other person? By experiencing their own presence." Aron has a private therapy practice in addition to organizing and teaching many Breema classes, workshops and intensives. "Everything else can only happen once this presence and connection is established, and becomes available in the moment. All the tools I have acquired in my professional training become available to me when I am present, and I know what is needed."

The other therapists agreed, and also see that when they have body, mind and feelings united—in other words, when they are truly present—they have much more confidence in the process of the session than when they rely only on mental processes to determine what the other person needs. "When I'm present while I'm with people, I often know what is the right thing to say or do," says Ann Hudson, LCSW. She is currently working with hospice patients and their families. "When my mind is directing the interaction, I don't experience that connection between myself and the other people. Breema is a real source of confidence for me."

Acceptance is key

"In the session, I represent acceptance for my clients. I work with being present so I can model that for them," says Matthew Tousignant, a somatic psychotherapist in private practice in Pennsylvania. "Because of my study and practice of Breema, I may have developed that more, but my goal is to help them find that in themselves." Matthew actually gives Breema bodywork during sessions with his clients. He finds it increases their openness, helps them experience body-mind connection, introduces them to acceptance and non-judgment, and opens them up to experiencing the atmosphere of presence which ultimately can guide them to experiencing their essential aspect and inherent health. It also helps the client to be more balanced, and receptive to looking at themselves and their situation with less judgment. "I can support them because I don't need them to be anything other than what they are. Over time, they may experience moments of No Judgment, or No Extra, or come to recognize that they are being supported." He works with the Nine Principles of Harmony with some of his clients, as guidance towards coming to balance and harmony, especially when they have had an experience of becoming balanced by receiving Breema bodywork.

Supporting the therapist supports the client

Angela Porter, Program Director at New Bridge Foundation, a drug and alcohol treatment center, is an IMF and Registered Addiction Specialist. "From the time I pull into the parking lot, I'm working with body-mind connection, whenever I can remember," she said in reply to a question I asked about how she uses Breema at her work. "I use body-centered meditation and Self-Breema exercises at the beginning and end of groups I lead. I talk about the Breema principles, helping clients to work with Body Comfortable or No Extra so they can move a little in the direction of being present. This facilitates their process without a lot of emotional 'extra,' and they don't get stuck in whatever catharsis they are going through." Angela also sees her own level of presence as vital to support the process. "When I am connected to myself, the atmosphere that is created in the room supports the client to trust, to take risks, and supports me to know when it's time to stop, when we've done enough for that session." Many of the clients she works with have experienced a lot of trauma, and she finds that helping them to connect to their bodies is an invaluable tool that supports them to come easily back to balance, even in cases of 'emotional flooding.' "The goal is that they ultimately learn to do this for themselves. They don't become dependent on me, the therapist, to 'fix' them," she says. "The principle of No Judgment allows people to experience that they are really OK. No matter what their stories are, they have the chance to see that they are not only their stories, not only what has happened to them in the past."

She also feels that it is necessary for her own self-care. "I absolutely could not do the work I do—because of the intensity level—if I didn't have a practice that brings me back to myself by bringing me back to my body over and over again through the day. I would get exhausted and drained by my work with clients (a definite hazard of the field—vicarious trauma and burnout are big issues). That would happen to me much more without Breema. I don't get so identified with my clients' problems, yet am able to have genuine well wishing and warm regard for them regardless of their issues—this helps me and them."

All of these therapists mentioned that therapy was more effective in the atmosphere of No Judgment. "If I have the ambition to 'heal' my patient, it comes from my personality and gets in the way," says Aron. "The atmosphere of acceptance is what supports the process of healing." Breema practice helps Aron become present in many different aspects of his life, including the therapist-client relationship, and helps him see when he is not receptive. He also teaches Self-Breema exercises to clients, and in practicing them together, finds support for his own aim to be present.

The support of connection to the body

Ann Hudson was a longtime Breema instructor and practitioner before going into practice as a therapist. "Having worked with Breema and its philosophy and principles for so many years forms the background of how I look at my hospice work and the process of dying," she told me. "Connection to my own body is such a support in the highly emotionally charged situations I find myself in in this work. I have the wish to remember this when I'm with my clients, but I have to support that possibility by practicing it in the walk up to the front door, as I ring the doorbell, as I stand there waiting for the door to open. Then, even if I get emotionally involved during the time I am with them, I can come back to body-mind connection after the interaction, and that helps me come back to balance. The wisdom of the Breema teaching—that in reality there is only the process of formation and transformation—helps me to view death and dying as a natural process, and that supports me to have acceptance and willingness to be there in support of my clients."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Becoming Balanced

To solve our problems with others, we first have to come to balance and harmony with ourselves, with our surroundings, and with all life. We first have to become a balanced human being, regardless of outer conditions, and then we may be able to do something about the conditions themselves. By coming to the breath and the body, we become less reactive. The less reactive we are, the more possibilities we have. Many of our problems come because we react when we’re trying to communicate with others, and then they react to our reactions. Coming to the body and the breath doesn’t guarantee a solution to our problems. But it gives us a direction.

—from Every Moment Is Eternal by Jon Schreiber

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A photo tour of some recent Breema events around the world:

Breema workshop in Susak, Croatia
Montserrat, Spain, site of the
Barcelona Breema Intensive
Practicing at the Intensive in Spain

Breema Intensive in Bühl. Germany
Doing Self-Breema at the
weekend workshop in Israel
Demonstrating Breema at a
workshop in Eugene, OR
Leading a Self-Breema class on the beach
in Sylt, Germany

Breema workshop in Nicaragua