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 award-winning The Spiritual Practices of Rumi. Using Buddha's own words from the Satipatthana Sutta as a launching pad, Johnson writes about developing a richer appreciation and understanding of the breath as a source of life and as a key to the integration of mind and body.
To begin, he suggests we find a quiet place for meditation, sit with our spine upright and erect, lower our center of gravity from our head down into our heart and belly, and sense the solidity and vibration of our bodies. Johnson relishes the stillness of meditation as an antidote to constant motion:
"The body is constantly on the move. It moves through space as it walks across a room. It shimmers and vibrates at the level of cells. Deeply relaxed, it can be felt to pulsate and throb to the organic rhythms of the heartbeat, the breath, the nerve signals racing through their fibers, the flowing rivers of blood and lymph. Nothing still."
Johnson sees one function of meditation as the letting go of tension and contraction in the body. This is the result of breathing through the whole body or as the author puts it:
"Like a current in a river, confronting a logjam, the force of breath pushes up against tension's walls in hopes of dissolving its barriers, turning tension in the body back into shimmer, and contraction in the mind back into presence."