- Around the world, people are lonely in lockdown and their mental and physical health is suffering
- The existing model of yoga as an impersonal fitness class has failed to address this adequately
- The heart of yoga online studio is creating a new model for relational live online yoga
“The yoga teacher is no more than a friend, no less than a friend, the force of nurturing in local community.” — Mark Whitwell
“Yoga can indeed be communicated online. Heart to Heart, light through glass. What a miracle!” — Mark Whitwell
Internationally renowned yoga teacher Mark Whitwell continues to swim against the stream with his new Online Studio launch. Critical of the “impersonal” commercialism in the Yoga industry for decades, Mark Whitwell adheres to the traditional principle that there must be personal friendship and liking of each other between teacher and student.
“Yoga has become another commodified fitness industry, about increasing people’s inadequacy and using that to sell people things. Even well-meaning people are pulled into this. The Heart of Yoga studio is taking a stand for relationship and breath as the beating heart of every yoga class.”
The studio is the first of its kind online, custom built to facilitate live Zoom meetings rather than recorded classes, where you can talk with your teacher and learn in small groups. Mark Whitwell describes the guiding principles as “Yoga adapted to each person, not the person to Yoga.” “If it doesn’t feel good, then it is not Yoga.” “No more pushing ourselves in ridiculous linear systems. We need to recover the Heart of Yoga. Intimacy. People are desperately lonely out there and they need intimate connection – with their teacher, with other students, and most of all with themselves.”
Early attendees report their experience of the class to be “revolutionary.”
Teachers joining Mark to teach in the studio include author, Yoga teacher and sacred geometry & Yantra artist Melissa Forbes, addiction counsellor and Yoga teacher Brooke Evans, Tea Master Frederic Ballario, sharing silent tea sessions in his Taiwanese lineage, renowned actress, singer, yoga teacher and presenter Ana Berry, and Croatian author and teacher Domagoj Orlić.
“Your yoga is your participation in the power of the cosmos that you are. Not a linear struggle to become something, as if you are not something” — Mark Whitwell
“People are sick of yoga, and sick of being online. Fair enough. This is because the principles of breath and intimacy are not being shared. Yoga is being practiced as dumbed down gymnastics, and that is not enough to nurture public sanity at a time like this. We need to look back to the great tradition, and what Krishnamacharya, the teacher of the teachers, actually taught.”
About Mark Whitwell
Mark Whitwell has spent a lifetime dedicated to sharing the wisdom tradition of Yoga that he discovered in India as a young man in the 1970s. He was shocked to discover that the breath-based ”whole-body prayer” Yoga as spiritual practice learnt with his teachers T.K.V. Desikachar and T. Krishnamacharya was not represented in the US and European ”yoga scene.” Since then, Mark has dedicated his life to sharing the transformative teachings of Yoga as embodied practice with modern people around the world. Mark was deeply influenced by his friendship with the sage UG Krishnamurti, who helped him ensure that the yoga he was sharing was participation in Life only, not seeking for a future result (and therefore a denial of the present). Mark has offers trainings and workshops in Europe, India, China, Bali, Australia, Fiji, Japan, the US, SE Asia, New Zealand, Africa, the Middle East and Mexico. He is the author of four books, translated into many languages, and founder of the Heart of Yoga Foundation, a non-profit that offers scholarships and educational resources to those who would otherwise not have access to Yoga learning. Mark is renowned for being a ”voice crying in the wilderness,” staying true to the non-commercial heart of yoga whilst moving freely without reaction in the modern circus, unafraid to gently criticise aspects of modern Yoga that mislead or exploit the public. Mark Whitwell has a deep love for the wisdom realisation culture of India, and is forever grateful to his teachers for the treasure of Yoga they passed on. He has three children and four grandchildren, and lives with his partner Rosalind between Aotearoa New Zealand, Fiji and the US.