- Paperback: 100 pages
- Publisher: Shambhala; 1st edition (October 22, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1570622329
- ISBN-13: 978-1570622328
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.3 x 7.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Posture of Meditation Paperback – October 22, 1996
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"Ordinarily," Johnson opens his superbly calm little manual, "we think of meditation as an activity involving our minds, but in truth meditation is initiated by assuming a specific gesture with our bodies." That gesture or posture is the cross-legged sitting familiarly associated with Buddhist meditation and consists of three elements: alignment, relaxation, and resilience. The objects of these physical practices are to offer gravity the least resistance while in an alert yet resting state and to experience the subtle movements of existence. Johnson explains the functions of each element, offers instruction and advice on achieving each of them, and discusses how they may be carried into everyday life in a prose so limpidly intelligent that this book may become a standard text for beginning meditators. Ray Olson
From the Back Cover
When it comes to meditation practices, the body is as important as the mind - a fact that may come as a surprise to the many people who regard meditation as a strictly mental activity. But, as Will Johnson shows, the physical aspect of the practice is far too often underemphasized. The alert-yet-relaxed sitting posture that is the common denominator of so many meditative techniques is a wonderful aid for clearing the mind and opening the heart, but it also works to activate the natural healing energies of both body and mind. The author offers guidance and exercises for working with the posture of meditation and advice on how to carry its benefits on into all the rest of life.
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The book does not give detailed guidance on specific meditation postures from different traditions, i.e. lotus vs. zazen, etc., or guidance on meditation techniques. Instead, it is really focused on ways to discover these three components of relaxation, alignment and resilience in any meditation posture, and on how to use this in tandem with working with the mind. The book also does not put forth a particular spiritual perspective, although I would say it is more Buddhist in its perspective than any other tradition. So for beginning meditaters, this is really a book to be used along with formal meditation instruction or another book on the subject. But it is a book that I think anyone meditating within any tradition will find something to appreciate and use.
The author teaches how to adopt a proper posture in meditation. He also goes in some depth about the relationship between physical posture and mental clarity, which is certainly something experienced meditators can attest to. The author goes through the fundamental principles of a meditative posture: alignment, relaxation, and resilience. The author then explains through simple exercises how to create such a posture and release one's inner tension. The exercises are very well thought out and may be familiar to students of vipassana or meditative yoga.
I would certainly reccomend this book to anyone who is starting meditation, and to anyone who cannot sit comfortably for an entire hour. The author's tips are simple, practical, and well-grounded. Following the advice in this book can only advance one's meditation, no matter the tradition.