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Breema Bodywork: Being Present in the Body

by Mara Bright

The first time I experienced BreemaR bodywork I knew the moment I got up off the floor that I had to have more. I continued to receive Breema, and it wasn't long before I decided I needed to become a practitioner myself. I began attending local workshops and eventually traveled to Oakland, California for more intensive study at the Breema Center.

What stands out for a new client is how nurturing Breema is. The recipient, fully clothed, lies down on her back on a mat on the floor. (Most Breema sequences are received in the supine position.) As the practitioner moves the client's body into different positions, the client receives different combinations of leans, stretches, holds, brushes and playful taps. What I loved about my first session was the experience of having my head cradled in the practitioner's hands and ever-so-gently rocked, of having my legs draped over her thigh while she leaned into the soft place below my clavicle, of feeling contact on four points of my body at the same time as she used her hands and feet.

During a session the practitioner fits her body around her client's, offering maximum support and using the weight of the client's body to support the movements she chooses. (Breema is based on Nine Principles of Harmony, one of which is Mutual Support.) Because Breema is non-diagnostic, the practitioner leaves behind what could be her personal stake in “fixing” or “healing” the client, exchanging that instead for trusting Existence to provide both client and practitioner exactly what they need in the moment.

When I give Breema, I begin with well-wishing for the recipient and the desire to fully participate in the session. I use the weight of my own body and my breath to remind me to come home to my Self. When I receive a taste of being right where I am, I'm ready to place my hands on my partner. As the session unfolds, and each one is different, calling forth different movements, I continually come back to my own body and breath, using them as anchors to keep me in the present moment. In that state of Being both of us receive; life gives to life. Breema harmonizes, restores, rebalances, relaxes and rejuvenates. Without my mind directing me to address a specific condition, the condition is addressed. The client gets up off the floor with a particular Breema radiance. Her body has received what it needs.

Many practitioners of Breema bodywork repeatedly come back to Breema's Nine Principles, both while giving a session and in their daily lives. Each principle serves as a reminder to support the wish to be present in the moment. They are: Body Comfortable; Single Moment, Single Activity; No Hurry, No Pause; Full Participation; No Force; No Extra; Gentleness and Firmness; and No Judgment. Practitioners are encouraged to work with one principle for a week. The results of noticing, for example, how often judgment shows up in a given day are often surprising.

As further support, Self-Breema exercises are designed for clients and practitioners to practice on their own bodies and give both another opportunity to connect to the present moment. When I do Self-Breema, leaning, stretching, tapping, rocking, and holding my own body, I act as both giver and receiver. The aim of each exercise is for me to participate fully, not to push my body to stretch according to some mental prescription I have for myself. At the end of each exercise I register for a few moments its effect on my body. As I bring my attention inward, I feel connected to the Breema atmosphere of ease and complete acceptance. I know that I exist, and that's enough.

Breema practitioners and instructors are available worldwide. The Breema Center maintains an up-to-date website that lists their names and contact information, as well as classes, workshops and events. In addition www.breema.com provides in-depth information about Breema, Self-Breema and the Nine Principles.

Mara fell in love with Breema bodywork five years ago. Immediately she trained to become a certified practitioner. Later she became a certified instructor. She and Luc Bodin teach Breema on Cape Cod and in Western Massachusetts.

Mara also practices Reiki, Shamballa, Temple Academies energy work, Integrated Energy Therapy, and Thai hot stone massage.

Mara runs a weekly writers' group that uses Self-Breema and body-centered meditation as preparation for writing. bright@crocker.com

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