Mark Whitwell (Lantern Books, New York, 2002)
I picked this book up at the Sydney Yoga Conference earlier last year, after experiencing several inspiring workshops with internationally well-known yoga teacher, Mark Whitwell. This is a beautiful book that is so rich with simple yet fresh insights about yoga and life that I know I will continue to delve into this as a valuable resource for my teaching as well as my own personal inspiration. Mark’s wisdom is simply a dusting off of the ancient feminine/tantric wisdom that somehow became buried by the patriarchal and religious hierarchy, which Mark eschews with such alarming clarity, integrity and beauty. The overarching philosophy here is described by these two words, “strength receiving”. These two words become a cyclical mantra in his classes, as Mark coaches the breath: exhalation is ‘strength’, inhalation is “receiving”.
This embracing of the masculine/feminine polarities of life is encapsulated in a moving description of his own mother’s death, in which she urges sagely, on her deathbed: “Keep going, Mark. Don’t let anyone hold you back. Men can learn how to love women properly. When they receive us our strength comes out. That is best for men too.”
Review by Ana Davis