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Bret Lyon PhotoBret Lyon, PhD

Bret Lyon, Ph.D. has taught classes and given individual sessions in body-mind development for over 25 years. His unique approach combines Reichian therapy with Feldenkrais body awareness, meditation techniques, Focusing, and Buddhist philosophy. Bret holds doctorates in both psychology and drama. An author and former college professor, he trained in breath and energy work with Al Bauman, who trained directly with Wilhelm Reich. He is also a certified Focusing trainer, having trained with Ann Weiser Cornell.

Bret Lyon — Former Part-Time Breather

After I experienced my first Reichian breathing session 26 years ago, I knew I was going to become a breathing teacher and practitioner.

I had been a college professor for many years and I lived mostly in my head. I carried my body around as an afterthought.

As a child, I was always picked last for teams and, when the class would sing, I was told to mouth the words. In college, I was the worst swimmer on the worst swimming team in college history. When my mother met my swimming coach at graduation, he thought long and hard about something nice to say. Finally, we came up with, "he sure tried hard." The trouble was I tried too hard, tensing every muscle in my body in a futile effort to go faster.

Not only was I tight and tense, but I found that, no matter what I did, I couldn't stop thinking. I enjoyed being intellectual, but I began to hate not being able to shut my mind off, even for a little while.

During my first breathing session, my mind stopped. I was not thinking, worrying and planning. I felt a sense of peace, calm and joy I had never felt before - a sense of inhabiting my body lightly, without effort. The experience was truly magical. And it continued after the session was over.

In fact, my whole way of being in the world changed. I felt more comfortable, more at ease. I worried less, tried less — and got a whole lot more accomplished. Something big and heavy, which used to weigh me down, had let go.

Bret on RockAll my life, I always loved learning. I had been a student all the way through graduate school, then become a teacher. Now I realized what I was meant to teach.

Within a year, I left my tenure track position at Pomona College and began teaching the workshop that was to become Body, Breath and Being. For 25 years, I have helped students make the same amazing discoveries I had made.

There is a joke in New York City, where I am originally from, that Californians believe in everything and New Yorkers believe in nothing. Through my experiences of Reichian breathing, I had to lay aside my New York cynicism and emerge as a spiritual person. The mind-body experience of Oneness was too powerful to deny.

More recently, I have been studying Buddhism and have gained new insights into what is really happening when we breathe fully and freely. I have integrated this new understanding, as well as the principles of Chi Gung energy work and Focusing (a mind-body discipline developed by Eugene Gendlin) into my Body, Breath and Being class.

It has been an exciting and rewarding journey and I am very grateful that I can share this incredibly powerful and transformative teaching as my life's work.


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