Breema: The Art of Being Present

Practitioner gives a Breema bodywork session

There is a warm vibrancy in my body as I gently shift my weight forward and back, allowing my palms to alternately brush my recipient’s belly with the movement. I’m filled up with gratitude and truly wish for nothing else in this moment. When Amy stands up, I’m glad to find out how balancing the treatment has been for her too.

This bodywork is a key element in a holistic system called Breema: The Art of Being Present. The other two essential elements are the dynamic Self-Breema exercises, done with our own bodies, and the Nine Principles of Harmony. These principles are simple and tangible and include No Force and Body Comfortable. Their purpose is to help us experience a taste of being present - free from entanglements of past and future.

As I’m sitting snug up against Amy’s side, with one hand holding her belly and the other on my thigh, I see that my mind is somewhere else. This is no big deal because I know that my aim is to be present. I remember “No Force” and simply register the weight of my body as I lean back and forth. The principles always lead me back to body mind connection.

When I move through a diverse series of sequences throughout the treatment, I am sometimes standing and holding her arms or legs, sometimes sitting at her feet, and sometimes moving in a lively, dancelike way. With the aid of principles like Body Comfortable, I keep including myself - actually letting this experience be enjoyable and nurturing.

Matthew Tousignant practicing Breema with a recipient

My direction is the same with Self-Breema. I get to work with body mind connection throughout many different exercises that include playful tapping, brushes, stretches, free-flowing movements and new postures. These help bring vitality into my day and give me an openness to life.

Gradually, I am learning that when the mind is not connected to the body there is always tension and force. When I observe this, Breema gives me simple tools to take a step towards being present. I get to develop a new relationship between the mind and body, one where the feelings can come in too, and I can know the delight of being alive. Most importantly, Breema isn’t just a bodywork. It doesn’t stop in the treatment room.

I can be standing at the sink, washing a dish and see how busy my mind is. My shoulders are hunched. I’m hurrying to get to something else without actually letting myself be here. Still toweling off a dish, I register one breath, and I remember that I wish to be present. Then there is a shift as my body and mind join together in this activity. I am more fully in the picture, and no different than that experience with Amy’s treatment, I am grateful for life right now.

David Pratt, LMT, BA has been practicing Breema since 2001, and he is continuously amazed by this art’s ability to promote real health. He is co-instructing a Breema workshop at the 2012 AMTA Ohio Convention with Mary Cuneo, Program Director and senior instructor at the Breema Center in Oakland, Ca. Read more at

*Breema: The Art of Being Present was written by David Pratt and originally published in Hands Across Ohio.