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.

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

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