Mark Whitwell teaches from his lifelong relationship with the teachings of Professor T. Krishnamacharya, “the teacher of our teachers,” whose students BKS Iyengar and K Pattabhi Jois have popularized and defined Yoga in the West. Having studied since 1973 in the home of Krishnamacharya with his son TKV Desikachar, Mark is committed to communicating with compassion and clarity the timeless yoga principles as they were taught to him. He seeks to simply put back what has been curiously been left out of western yoga education and practice, placing Krishnamacharya’s ancient principles into the popular styles and a remarrying of yoga to its tantric origins. This makes yoga practice powerful, efficient and accessible to everyone
Of utmost importance in Mark’s teachings is the principle taught to him by Krishnamacharya that “If you can breathe, you can do yoga.” Asana is breath-based and therefore must be adapted to the individual. Asana is for the breath; the movement of the whole body anatomy participates and enhances the breath in the great polarity of inhalation / exhalation, above to below, strength that is receiving, the male female qualities of Life. Mark teaches that “asana is hatha yoga, the union of all opposites, and hatha yoga is non dual tantra, our direct absorbtion in the nurturing source.” By simply participating in source through hatha, inhale/exhale, an authentic and efficient Yoga practice will manifest for each practitioner, taking into account individual differences, age, body type, health, and cultural background. Mark’s lectures and classes offer a study into the technology of asana, pranayama, bandha, meditation, and life as a seamless process. The teachings and experience of the tantra clarify the profound relevance of this ancient wisdom to contemporary life. Mark insists that there is a right Yoga for everyone. Being a yogi has nothing to do with spiritual attainment, nor asana achievement; it is the beautiful embrace of your own reality.
Mark has edited and contributed to The Heart of Yoga written by Desikachar, as well as made contributions to Desikachar’s Health Healing and Beyond. He now works with Srivatsa Ramaswami, Krishnamacharya’s senior student and author of three books, Yoga for the Three Stages of Life, The Complete Book of Vinyasa Yoga, and Yoga Beneath the Surface. Mark’s book, Yoga of Heart: The Healing Power of Intimate Connection, is published by Lantern Books.
Born and raised in New Zealand, Mark now splits his time teaching throughout Europe, Asia, America, and the South Pacific. In 1996 Mark established the Heart of Yoga Association- a non-profit foundation that provides Yoga education around the world. Having studied with many known and unknown yoga masters, Mark is most interested in revealing actual Yoga and how each person effectively practices. His teachings are profound yet simple, accessible to everyone, and, when applied make lasting positive changes in his students’ lives.

8 thoughts on “About

  1. Hey Mark!

    I came back from EV-HK and couldn’t stop thinking of you. We are moving to thailand-Bangkok….I feel like I missed out on spending more time with you guys…. Please keep in touch and hopefully you can come and stay with us in Bangkok……much love to you from our little family

  2. I was enjoying the experience that broadening my knowledge of yoga has been, quite comfortable with the distance between myself and anyone who could actually DO yoga. I figured this would be like studying Shakespeare; it was YEARS before my pilgrimage to Stratford-on-Avon loomed on the horizon of that “logical progression.”

    On a slide-rule basis, I had the *second* decade of 2000 penciled in for the purchase of a yoga mat. (Going forward, if the mat took its time coming out of the closet, I was prepared to be just as relaxed and understanding with it as I have been with so many of my friends.)

    Based on my enormously successful <> years of abstinence from yoga already (and assuming a liberal allowance of standby’s for excuses which begin to run a little thin) I had pushed actually taking a class all the way off the current ‘TEN YEAR PLAN.’

    It was Christine who started making your arguments for you, followed by whatever intellectual (or morbid) curiosity is responsible for my cursor’s presence here now. “If you’re breathing, you can practice yoga” and other assertions about embracing one’s own relationship… with a personal process through which one can realize one’s higher self is pretty disarming stuff. On the one hand, where are my excuses now? But then again, yoga itself has a legacy of baggage it’s been necessary to crawl out from beneath.

    For years, I was somehow convinced everything wrong with the world could be directly traced to either the communist ‘s or “Democrats who did yoga.” Before long, thankfully, I was identifying positively with a myriad of concepts those same voices had identified as a subset of “what’s wrong with the world.” Perhaps it was natural law (i.e., the transitive properties of equality) which eventually brought me here to the Heart of Yoga | The Peace Project.

    Be that as it may, when I take my first class –any day now, thanks to homework whose bibliography you’re all over– I want to make sure the instructor is Russian; just to guarantee the ancestry responsible for my latent liking gets a little exercise of their own while rolling in their graves!

    Thanks for the pointers and your “no-nonsense” approach. I look forward to many more answers as I continue to read your work and the works of those you endorse.

  3. I told Mark this story at his recent Tucson retreat and he dubbed it his “Guru Story” and asked that I immortalize it by posting it on his site. It’s really pretty funny.

    Last summer I was asking myself thee question “What’s the deal with my love life” and coming up with some interesting answers. So when I was at an event at Omega Institute, one rainy night I purposely looked for books related to intimacy, created a little pile and quietly sat in a corner in one of their low canvas chairs, looking over my bounty. They were all coming up flat – nothing rang out as holding any magic. A couple rounded the corner, slightly brushed the bookcase and from the top shelf one book comes flying down in my direction, lightly bonks my head, and proceeds to open right up to the perfect page, right there staring me in the face, perfectly unfolded in my lap. The message was that there was nothing to seek – it was all there already – a given. This of course was Mark’s book – Yoga of Heart – and even had the word intimacy in the title!!!! The perfect Message that I luckily got to experience first-hand this week in his retreat. I love MNark’s clarity in that we already ARE God energy, no seeking involved – and if you accept that then you already have sacred intimacy and ecstacy! How perfect.

  4. Easily, this post is actually the greatest on this laudable topic. I agree with your conclusions and will eagerly await your future updates. Just saying thank you will not be sufficient, for the wonderful lucidity in your writing. I’ll immediately subscribe to your feed to stay informed of any updates. Good work and much success in your business endeavors!

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