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Breathing Through The Whole Body: The Buddha's Instructions on Integrating Mind, Body, and Breath

Will Johnson (Author)

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. From our very first inhalation that signals entrance into the world to our very last exhalation through which we bid the world a final farewell, breath is with us our entire life. It is our constant and most reliable companion (our heart may skip a beat from time to time, but we never miss a breath), never abandoning us or leaving our side. It provides us-moment by moment, breath by breath-with the most vital nourishment we need to keep our body alive. Take food away from us, and we can live for several months. Take water away from us, and we can survive for several days. Cut off the life-sustaining oxygen in the air we breathe for even a few minutes, and our body dies. Breathing in ... breathing out ... So vital to our survival is the action of breathing that, much like the systolic and diastolic beating of our heart, its rhythmic repetitions of inhalation and exhalation keep occur-ring whether or not we're aware of them. While we have no choice but to breathe, we have the ability to affect how we breathe. We can slow the breath down. We can speed it up. We can cause it to become fuller or slighter, stronger or weaker. We 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.

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About the author

Will Johnson

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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Bibliographic information

Title Breathing Through The Whole Body: The Buddha's Instructions on Integrating Mind, Body, and Breath
Author Will Johnson
Format Softcover
Date published: 31.12.2012
Edition 1st. ed.
Language: English
isbn 9781594774348
length 86p., 8.50 X 5.50 Inch.