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Breathing through the Whole Body: The Buddha's Instructions on Integrating Mind, Body, and Breath Paperback – January 25, 2012


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Breathing through the Whole Body: The Buddha's Instructions on Integrating Mind, Body, and Breath + Aligned, Relaxed, Resilient: The Physical Foundations of Mindfulness + The Posture of Meditation
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Inner Traditions (January 25, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159477434X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594774348
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.3 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

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)

“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)

From the Back Cover

SPIRITUALITY / WELLNESS

“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

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.

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.

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Customer Reviews

His very simple words transmit clearly.
linda king
The aware breath touches them all and through such touch, relaxes them into true communication within and without.
kaioatey
This book is a great tool to deepen your meditative experience.
J. Chandler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Anna from InannaWorks on April 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
This is a little book with a big message. The message comes from the Buddha himself. Most of us associate breathing techniques with meditation. Those breathing techniques generally focus on using awareness of the breath to aid concentration and quiet the mind. The body is expected to be subservient to those objectives. Will Johnson, however, is focused on a rarely noticed quote from the Buddhist "Satipatthana Sutta": "as you breathe in, breathe in through the whole body; as you breathe out, breathe out through the whole body". Meditation, he tells us is meant to quiet the mind but also to stimulate the natural movement in the body. Awareness of the breath will naturally take us into a merging of breath, mind, and body which releases chronic tension and the strangle hold of habitual, counterproductive thought patterns.

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.

(InannaWorks.com received a free review copy of this book.)
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By kaioatey on May 10, 2012
Format: Paperback
"The primary action of meditation", writes Johnson, "is not really action at all. It is less something that we do than something we undo. It is more of a relaxing, an allowing, a yielding to, a letting go of held patterns of tension and contraction that keep us confined in bodies that cry out for release and minds that get stuck in thought."

This is a book that is so simple and basic that it will, in my opinion, appeal to and help only advanced meditators who have spent years struggling with the body-heart-mind. For some meditators (myself included), practice is like an elevator that keeps going downwards, ever deeper into the abyss of patterns that define experience. Staying with the breath means facing all that has tried to remain hidden, the underworld that lives because we allow it to remain unseen. The purpose of this underworld is to maintain defensive blocks that limit the information flow across the body and it is achieved by blocking our access to feelings. Breath opens the doors into those feeling spaces; this book shows us how to go, breath by breath, into our center, into finding our 'original face'.

The body is alive, composed of millions of living cells. The aware breath touches them all and through such touch, relaxes them into true communication within and without. As far as i can tell, this book represents one of the best manuals out there that demystify this process and ease us into working it out. It is practical, intuitive and profoundly insightful. Highly recommended.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
The benefits and inner transformation brought about by meditating have been well documented. In fact, even if we do not personally meditate, we would all probably agree that meditation is a good thing to do for both the soul and for the body. Yet despite all the many thousands of books written on meditation, few of us have actually studied what the Buddha wrote about this process, some two thousand five hundred years ago.

Most of us probably know that the Buddha asked us to sit still, close the eyes, and clear the mind. But few of us have actually studied the sutta where the Buddha gave us this teaching. The key to understanding exactly what the Buddha meant by stillness has been examined by author Will Johnson. He explains how stillness in meditation is not meant to be simply a rigid or frozen body, but rather a still mind. The author examines the Buddha's own words at the core of the famous Satipatthana Sutta, which states: "As you breathe in, breathe in through the whole body; as you breathe out, breath out through the whole body."

This explanation has often been overlooked by many meditation schools, says Will Johnson who has explored, in depth, the complete series of steps for deepening the awareness of breath. He explains how to invite natural, responsive movement back into the posture of meditation by extending breath awareness beyond the nostrils, lungs and abdomen to include the entire body. This practice unifies the breath, mind and body and takes the meditator into a profound phenomenon of deep meditation.

This book studies this method and explains how the flow of breath is directly affected by chronic tensions in the body and in the mind.
Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Peter Payne on April 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Will is a thoroughly authentic being. I have met him, and will soon be doing an 8-day workshop with him. I am 67, and have studied and practiced body-mind stuff all my life, currently I teach and do research in the field. All Will's books are at the top of my list for depth, genuineness and usefulness. I would honestly say that both rank beginners and advanced meditators would get value from this book. A blessing if as a beginner you come across it!
No ego-trips, no dogma, very simple and profound clarity of instruction. His background in Rolfing and his acquaintance with many spiritual traditions enables him to approach his subject with a full-roundedness that is rate. Look at his other books too--he has some of the best instruction on meditation posture anywhere, and amazing insights into Rumi's "Gazing" practice.
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