The Wakeful Body:
Walking the Path of
Somatic Mindfulness

Live Online Course

March 10th, 2020 - April 5th, 2020

The Meditator's Best-Kept Secret

Get out of your head, find a new level of stillness and learn to access yogic relaxation in this four week course

Renowned teacher Lama Willa Miller shows you how to tap into your body’s inherent wisdom, enhance your meditation practice and reclaim your calm in the four-week online interactive course, The Wakeful Body: Walking the Path of Somatic Mindfulness

  • Four-week online interactive course
  • Starts March 10th
  • Led by world-renowned Buddhist teacher Lama Willa Miller
  • Connect and directly ask questions to deepen your understanding, in your own way

Discover your body's inherent wisdom

Many of us come to meditation with a great deal of enthusiasm. This enthusiasm helps motivate our desire to learn, but it can lead to the problem of “overthinking” – the very reason you may have turned to meditation in the first place.

It’s perfectly natural to find yourself in this situation, and it’s no wonder that you can feel like you’re investing lots of energy in overthinking. Our culture is so focused on developing intellect and pushing you to know more and do more.

Fortunately, you already have the answer – your body.

The body holds wisdom. 

Bringing body-wisdom into our practice can help counterbalance our tendency to be “in the head”. 

And it can help reclaim that intuitive calm that sometimes breaks through in brief moments on the cushion. 

Some scientific studies indicate when we turn attention to the body, activity in the brain’s rumination networks decreases. 

Associated states of anxiety and depression also significantly drop. 

This may explain when attention turns towards the body, the mind’s attention is drawn away from rumination into present wakefulness.

In this four week, intimate online course, Lama Willa Miller brings her decades of training in the yogic lineage of Tibetan Buddhism to gradually walk you through a process of discovering your body’s inherent wisdom. 

The Wakeful Body: Walking the Path of Somatic Mindfulness shows you how to re-discover and reconnect with a state of deep spiritual relaxation and stillness. The lessons here will stay with you forever, helping you to develop an ongoing practice of somatic meditation.

Is your mindfulness practice too full of mind?

Join this course, and Lama Willa Miller will show you:

  • Postures and breathing exercises to help deeply stabilize tranquility in your nervous system
  • How to distinguish between the “conceptual body” and the “experiential body”
  • How to rely on the body to access a vivid present-moment awareness
  • How to access yogic relaxation
  • How to bring the subtle body into a practice of meditation
  • How to trust your body as a deep teacher
  • How to develop an ongoing practice of somatic mindfulness 

Module 1: The Body in the Body

You might think you have just one body…but everyone has two. 

A conceptual body and an experiential body. 

The conceptual body consists of all the ideas and opinions we have about the body; fat, thin, beautiful, ugly, young, or old. You may know it as “body image”. 

In reality, there is much more to our body than what we just think about it. From the perspective of Buddhism, the conceptual body is not the real body. It’s just an idea. 

The real body is the body of this present moment, the one you are experiencing, the one you are feeling…right now. It is beyond your beliefs and ideas, beyond image and appearance.

The body of this present moment is feeling, hearing, seeing, smelling, breathing, and vibrating with life. The Buddha called this experiential body, “the body in the body”. It is where we begin this exploration together and where peace, focus, and joy are found. 

Module 2: The Body’s Time

Much of our lives, we are lost in thought.

Our ideas, our opinions, our concerns, and worries demand our attention. 

Many of us are more at home in the head than in the body. 

It is understandable.

We feel we must always rely on this mind to successfully engage in our work and life. It almost feels as if we don’t have time for the body. 

Much of our lives, everything below the neck, including the heart, is numbed out. Sometimes even when we are hungry or in pain, we are not in touch with what is going on down there. 

To develop a somatic practice of mindfulness, we first need to learn how to descend from the head into the body. 

When we learn to descend in this way, we discover the body’s time – the timeless present moment in which sense-experience lives and thrives.

Module 3: Relaxation and Stillness

Consider the word relaxation. 

What images does your mind conjure up? 

…Maybe a vacation, a spa, barbequing in the back yard?

On a spiritual path, relaxation means something else. 

Yogic relaxation is a thorough unwinding from deep within the body-mind. This unwinding is physical, energetic, mental, and spiritual. 

This kind of relaxation has nothing to do with laziness or a lack of activity. It has to do with deep inner ease. It can become our default state of being, one that is effortless and natural. In other words, relaxation can be entrained.

As the body and mind begin to unwind, stillness ensues. Stillness not being a state devoid of movement. But a stillness which is a deep peace –– holding whatever arises in profound equanimity. 

In this module, we will learn: 

  • How to access yogic relaxation as a support for experiencing stillness
  • The relationship between focus and relaxation, 
  • The relationships between stillness and movement, how they support each other

Module 4: The Subtle Body

In the teachings of yogic Buddhism, there is a layer of embodiment called the subtle body. 

The subtle body is an energetic layer of embodiment that coexists with the physical body. 

The subtle body is like a mountain lake. 

Just as every tone and mood of the sky and weather is reflected in a lake, every mood, emotion, thought and feeling is reflected in the subtle body.

The subtle body can be felt and worked with on a path of meditation. 

It is a key to developing somatic mindfulness. The subtle body acts as a bridge between body and mind, eventually helping us dissolve the body-mind dualism that has so plagued our culture and, by extension, our meditation practice.

Register today and unlock the power of your body in your meditation and mindfulness practice

At Sangha Live, we support your path of awakening with mindfulness tools, training, and live teachings. Our live online courses provide a rare opportunity for you to interact directly with teachers, such as Lama Willa Miller, to ask the questions you need to ask to gain the understanding you want.

  • Tap into your body’s inherent wisdom
  • Enhance your meditation practice
  • Discover new postures and breathing exercises 
  • Know how to access yogic relaxation
  • Use your body to gain vivid awareness
  • Reclaim your calm
  • Learn to trust your body

Testimonials

I was extremely impressed by the platform, integration of online and live questions, and the intimacy that Lama Willa facilitated for the course participants.

- Previous Course Participant

In the course I was able to meet the whole experience at the level of dharma follower, meditation practitioner, and as member of Sangha. With Lama Willa's guidance I achieved a breathless awareness.

- Previous Course Participant

Lama Willa is so warm and inviting and teaches with clarity. She is down to earth and provides such simple wisdom.

- Previous Course Participant

Live Online Course Details

5 Hours of recorded video teachings

Filmed in high definition with only you in mind, having an intimate and personal feel that will keep you engaged as your body, mind and heart tune in. Released each Tuesday during the course.

Guided Meditations

Lama Willa offers guided meditations throughout the course to support you in embodying the teachings.

4 Live video sessions

Join Lama Willa live each Sunday during the course for a unique opportunity to connect and ask questions about your practice

Reflections for Daily Life

Lama Willa offers reflections and contemplations within each session to support your integration of the material into your daily life.

Schedule

Dates

Interactive 1: 15 Mar
Interactive 2: 22 Mar
Interactive 3: 29 Mar
Interactive 4: 5 Apr

Times

9am PDT, 12pm EDT, 4pm UK, 5pm EU
9am PDT, 12pm EDT, 4pm UK, 5pm EU
9am PDT, 12pm EDT, 5pm UK, 6pm EU*
9am PDT, 12pm EDT, 5pm UK, 6pm EU*

* European summertime change affects the start time of sessions 3 and 4 for Europe only

About Lama Willa Miller

Willa B. Miller, PhD is the Founder and Spiritual Director of Natural Dharma Fellowship in Boston, MA and its retreat center Wonderwell Mountain Refuge in Springfield, NH. 

She was authorized as a dharma teacher and lineage holder (lama) in the Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism after completion of two consecutive three-year retreats in the nineties. 

She has also practiced in the Shangpa and Nyingma lineages. 

In 2013, she received a doctorate from Harvard University in Religion, and is currently Visiting Lecturer in Buddhist Ministry at Harvard Divinity School. 

Her academic teaching interests include Tantra and the Body, Buddhism and Ecology, and Buddhist Contemplative Care, among other topics. 

Willa is interested in the practical integration of meditation into daily life, and has participated as an advisor in several scientific studies on meditation. 

Her teachers and guides have included Kalu Rinpoche, Dilgo Khentse Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche, Lama Norlha Rinpoche, and others. 

She currently derives inspiration for her practice and teaching from Lama John Makransky, Anam Thubten, and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. She lives in Arlington, MA with her husband and two dogs, and frequently visits Wonderwell Mountain Refuge.