Episode 42 – Will Johnson


Will Johnson received his BA, magna cum laude, in art and archaeology from Princeton University in 1968. After writing art criticism in New York for several years, he moved to the west coast, where he became a Buddhist practitioner in 1972 and trained as a Rolfer in 1976. Over the years he came to understand that the body was the doorway, not the obstacle, to personal growth and spiritual transformation, and that the worlds of somatics and dharma practice each possessed a kind of missing link to the other’s path of inquiry. In 1995 he founded The Institute for Embodiment Training, a teaching school that combines the orientation of Western somatic therapy with Eastern meditational practices.

Click this image to purchase the book.

Click this image to purchase the book.

Editorial Reviews

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.

In this episode we talk about the role of the body in meditation. We cover some advanced meditation practices and we discuss how important meditation is for personal development

Find Will here: http://www.embodiment.net/

 

A big thanks to Will for making the time to be on the show. Music used for intro: Youngsters – smile (sasha remix)  
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