Yoga of Heart

mark W editMark Whitwell has several offerings around the world and is available for online offerings. He will be a guest speaker in our training. Mark is interested in developing an authentic yoga practice for the individual, based on the teachings of T. Krishnamacharya and his son TKV Desikachar, with whom he enjoyed a relationship for more than twenty years. Mark’s teachings clarify the profound passion and relevance of ancient wisdom to contemporary life. Mark has taught yoga for over twenty years throughout the US, Asia, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Mark was the editor and contributor to TKV Desikachar’s book The Heart of Yoga, and has many books of his own published and available.

Mark has taught yoga for over three decades throughout the US, Asia, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and is the editor and contributor to TKV Desikachar's book The Heart of Yoga.

First ‘dropping out’ of New Zealand society and travelling to India in his teens, this was the beginning of a lifelong loveaffair that took him into the orbits of many of the great masters of our time, known and unknown, including falling in love with Swami Muktananda in the early seventies and accompanying him around Australia. But it wasn’t until Mark met Krishnamacharya and Desikachar in Chennai (then Madras) in 1973 that he discovered a practice that could make his inspirational experiences stable and comprehensible: Yoga. Desikachar and his father were living as ordinary humble people, sharing their meals on the floor of their home, not posturing as superior beings or powertripping. Mark fell in love with this quality, and with the experience of the yoga he received. Travelling back and forth between India and Aotearoa / New Zealand, he set up yoga studios and brought students to India to study with his teachers. At some point, he travelled to the USA and noticed that what was being taught in Yoga studios there bore little resemblance to what he had learned in India. When he reported this to Desikachar, Desikachar asked him if he could perhaps do something about it. The book ‘The Heart of Yoga’ was the result. After arranging for the books publication in the US, Mark moved there in order to carry out his teacher’s request, teaching for many years in New York, LA, and eventually around the globe.

During this time he reconnected with UG Krishnamurti, a student and friend of Krishnamcharya and a huge influence through friendship on Desikachar. UG was an unusual person, whose spiritual search had finished completely, freeing up torrents of energy in his body and allowing him to live his life freely — what is called a jivamukti or liberated person in the Indian tradition. This dear friendship with UG was immensely clarifying to Mark, and helped him remove any traces of struggle and religious effort towards a future result from what he practiced and taught. Most of all UG raged against the power structures set up by those selling spirituality as a commodity, as something ‘they have and you don’t’, and just feeding the tendency in humans to feel ‘not there yet.’ Mark continues on in this vein of radical non-hierarchy and non-dualism, whereby the teacher is ‘no more than a friend and no less than a friend, the force of nurturing in local community—not a social identity, not a personal identity, not a status or position.”