Yoga of the Mahamudra: The Mystical Way of Balance

Excerpts & Samples

By Will Johnson

Publisher : Inner Traditions/Bear & Company

ABOUT Will Johnson

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 Yoga of the Mahamudra; the award-winning Rumi: Gazing at the Beloved, The Forbidden Rumi, and The Sailfish  More...



Presents three simple yogic principles from Tilopa's Song of Mahamudra

• Explains how balance is the key to achieving higher consciousness

• Includes somatic koans

Mahamudra, literally "the great gesture," is often looked upon as the highest manifestation of consciousness known within the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition. In Yoga of the Mahamudra, Will Johnson explains how it is possible to bring forth the condition of mahamudra naturally by utilizing the mystical yoga of balance to create what he calls the embodied cross.

He presents three simple yogic principles from Tilopa's Song of Mahamudra. The first principle, "do nothing with the body but relax," forms the vertical axis of the embodied cross. It is an internal process that focuses on the upright structure of the body, which opens up our relationship to the divine source. The second principle, "Let the mind cling to nothing," allows the horizontal flow of energy to our mind. This horizontal axis represents our relationship to the world: what we see and hear, and what our mind does with the objects we perceive. The establishment of these vertical and horizontal flows of energy allows us to embody the third principle, "to become like a hollow bamboo." In this way the body and mind become extraordinarily fluid, surrendering to the currents of the life forces that constantly flow through them like air through a flute. The author concludes with a number of somatic koans, exercises that allow the direct experience of balance and lead to the creation of the embodied cross.
“In Yoga of the Mahamudra Will Johnson affirms that the primary method of transcendence used by authentic spiritual practices is direct experience of one’s own living body--a mindful awareness of the body’s energies as they change from moment to moment. Moreover, he has given us a timeless manual for wise and healthy living that is sorely needed in our difficult modern world.”
Robert K. Hall, M.D., Vipassana meditation teacher, cofounder of the Lomi School and Counseling Clinic, and founder of El Dharma Retreats

“A fascinating look into the physical and mental universe of Mahamudra. Will Johnson gives the body-mind unit back to space and unveils the principles that liberate the cosmic dancer within.”
 Daniel Odier, author of Yoga Spandakarika and Desire: The Tantric Path to Awakening

"Yoga of the Mahamudra: The Mystical Way of Balance reads like a sustained breath of clean, purifying mountain air. In this beautiful volume by Canadian writer Will Johnson, you will learn how the body can become like a bamboo flute and how relaxed, spontaneous movements of the body can express higher consciousness and usher in divine energies."
Eva Yaa Asantewaa, Book ‘em, May 12, 2005

"Johnson's book consists of vivid meditations on the mahamudra state of awareness, which even more orthodox practitioners of Buddhism might find helpful. All too often, Buddhist practitioners in the West fall prey to mentalizing their meditation practice. Yoga of the Mahamudra is a timely reminder that if the process toward enlightenment does not include the body, we are shortchanging ourselves."
Georg Feuerstein, Ph.D., Traditional Yoga Studies Interactive, Nov. 4, 2005

"For those who choose to stand up and explore through their own experience of embodiment, Johnson promises a whole other level of adventure."
Anne F. Hoff, Structural Integration, June 2007