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About Breathing through the Whole Body
Explores the Buddha’s own words on breathing meditation for healing, wholeness, and a deeper understanding of his teachings
• Explains the complete series of steps in the Buddha’s Satipatthana Sutta for refining awareness of the breath, from posture and center of gravity to extending breath awareness beyond the nostrils, lungs, and abdomen to the entire body
• Shows that stillness in meditation refers only to the mind, not to the body
• Reveals breath to be a direct agent of healing for chronic tensions and an agitated mind
Explaining how stillness in meditation refers not to a rigid and frozen body but to a quality of mind, Will Johnson examines the Buddha’s own words at the core of the Satipatthana Sutta: “As you breathe in, breathe in through the whole body; as you breathe out, breathe out through the whole body”--an instruction often overlooked in the majority of Buddhist schools. Exploring the Buddha’s complete series of steps for deepening awareness of the breath, he shows how to invite natural, responsive movement back into the posture of meditation by extending breath awareness beyond the nostrils, lungs, and abdomen to the entire body--a practice that unifies the breath, body, and mind into a single shared phenomenon.
Showing how the flow of breath is directly affected by chronic tensions in the body and in the mind, Johnson explains that when breath starts flowing through more and more of the body, it becomes a direct agent of healing, massaging and melting any areas of tension it touches and moves through, whether physical or emotional. By breathing through the whole body in accordance with the Buddha’s instructions on breath, the body becomes much more comfortable, the mind starts resolving its addiction to thinking, and meditative practice deepens much more rapidly, allowing the teachings of the Buddha to be directly glimpsed and revealed.
About the Author(s) of Breathing through the Whole Body
Will Johnson is the founder and director of the Institute for Embodiment Training, which combines Western somatic psychotherapy with Eastern meditation practices. He is the author of several books, including The Posture of Meditation and the award-winning The Spiritual Practices of Rumi. He lives in British Columbia.
Praise for Breathing through the Whole Body
“With simplicity and elegance, Will Johnson returns us to the original teachings of the Buddha on embodied spirituality, taking us deeper by teaching us a fuller and more subtle engagement with body and breath, leading directly to the expanse of liberation. This book will be treasured as a brilliant revelation of the spiritual possibilities of our own human mind.”
Reginald Ray, Ph.D., Buddhist teacher and author of Touching Enlightenment
“I love every word! Thank you so much for bringing forth such a succinct and glowingly accurate account of the central role that body wisdom, somatic experiencing, plays in the process of awakening. It is a ‘how to do it’ book for all of us on this road to realizing our true nature.”
Robert Hall, Buddhist teacher and cofounder of the Lomi School
“Breathing Through the Whole Body is a beautiful book, somewhat meditative in and of itself. It examines each part of the deepening, explaining things like why our spine needs to be straight and why we focus on the breath. The overall purpose isn’t to look good but to find that inner quietness and rooted balance that will ultimately bring forth whole body breathing.”
Tami Brady, TCM Reviews
“The book is written lovingly, offering compassionate explanations and poetically rendered practice exercises (Befriending Stillness, Drawing Down, The Breath of the Unfolding Fern). Very little effort is required to retrieve the gift that lies within its pages. It is a unique treasure.”
Anna Jedrziewski, Inannaworks.com
“Will Johnson encourages readers to put together their whole spirit and gain a more complete control over their mind, emotions, and body. With exercises both physical, mental, and spiritual, Breathing Through the Whole Body is a strongly recommended pick for spirituality and Buddhist studies collections.”
James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review
“The most profound healing gift of all is found within our very breath. Learn how the flow of breath is directly affected by chronic tensions in the body and in the mind. When breath starts flowing through more of the body, it becomes a direct agent of healing massaging and melting any areas of tension it touches. Experience the healing technique as taught 2500 years ago by the Buddha!”
What Women Must Know, October 2012