Nurturing Harmony: How Breema Supports Nurses by Elaine Pendergrast

Nurses need support for staying balanced in the midst of their demanding jobs, so they can deal with stress, avoid burnout, and nurture their own health. Here’s how three nurses, all long-time Breema students, described how Breema has been of benefit to them.


“Nurses give so much of themselves, so they need a lot of self-care,” Lisa Rhudy told me. A nurse since 1980, Lisa came to her first Breema Intensive in 2000. Living in the Yosemite Valley area, she worked in a small rural hospital and local medical clinic, and as a Mariposa County Public Health Nurse. Now nearing retirement, she does part-time administrative work and consulting with social workers in a child welfare agency. “While learning the bodywork sequences in class I didn’t have to be in my mind at all,” she continued. “As a nurse I’m always thinking, using logic.
While doing Breema, I could just put my hand on someone’s body and didn’t have to worry about their organs, or their particular health problem. I could just do it in a way that felt completely nurturing for both of us, and that was so liberating.”
When asked how she uses Breema in her daily life, she responded, “No matter what’s going on, remembering that I can take a moment to register body breathes and body has weight is a support. Often when I get out of my car and walk into my work place, I register each foot as I walk, and that I’m breathing, to arrive at my workstation in a more centered place. And if I feel reactive at my job, I use one of the Nine Principles, such as No Judgment, to step away from that and not be as identified. Applying it to myself as well as coworkers is of great value.”


“To me, Breema is an invitation for presence,” Isabelle La Plante related. Isabel works in an ICU in a medium-sized community hospital on Cortes Island, Canada. She also spends hours performing a variety of foot-related services at a local foot clinic.
“Through Breema I’ve often been able to incorporate presence into my practice as a nurse,” she said. “When putting a blood pressure cuff on a patient I sometimes ask myself, “How can I be present and be with my own body while feeling their pulse? How can I really be engaged? Then I can come to knowing body breathes and has weight for a moment, and a principle like No Hurry, No Pause comes alive. That supports me to do what needs to be done without rushing through it or objecting to how long it takes.”

“Breema also helps me to relate on an intimate level with my patients without having any attachment to outcome, and no need to figure the other person out. When I remember No Judgment and Mutual Support, I can just be with what is—tuning into what’s alive in the moment, receiving what the other person’s experience is, without having to change it. I can just listen, and there’s nothing to fix.”

“Self-Breema is also a definite support for being present in my day,” she added. “At my last Intensive at the Breema Center there was a shift, and I experienced a real delight about starting my day doing a few Self-Breema exercises, and continue with that. Now when I walk in the forest, I sometimes do a little Self-Breema, which reconnects me to the atmosphere of the Intensive and restores my energy.”


Rebecca Wolfe has been a nurse for 10 years. She currently works in hospice home health nurse at agency-run facilities and in private residences in Eugene, Oregon. Rebecca started doing Breema seven years ago after she saw how much her sister benefitted from studying it.
“I walked into my first Breema workshop depleted, and left with my energy bubbling over,” she told me “Breema provides a safe, nurturing human connection. We don’t talk about Breema as healing, but in truth it is, because it nurtures all the cells of the body.”
“Using the principles, I can focus on the essence of the human being in front of me, rather than my ideas about them. And I can include myself in whatever I’m doing, so my attention is not all on others. That keeps my energy from getting depleted.”
“Working with Single Moment/Single Activity, I can give myself permission to bring my mind to the activity of the body and just be in the moment as I drop a medication into a cup. Remembering Firmness and Gentleness, I can be firm but use No Force as I catheterize a patient, and more gentle with myself when I don’t get something right. No Extra is also so useful. When I want to fit all kinds of extra, I do too much and often neglect self-care.”
“No other single practice has been as supportive to my relationships,” she concluded. “I am so grateful for the many ways it nurtures my life every day.”

Breema has been taught and practiced in the U.S. and internationally for almost four decades. Elaine Pendergrast is a staff instructor at the Breema Center.