Love, sex & intimacy in seven minutes a day.

Via Kara-Leah Grant
on Aug 27, 2012
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Photo: Robin Green

An interview with Mark Whitwell

He’s arguably New Zealand’s most famous born and bred yoga teacher, yet he doesn’t have the profile down under that you might expect.

That could be set to change with the release of his second book, The Promise of Love, Sex and Intimacy.

Endorsed by heavy-hitters like Deepak Chopra and Ram Dass, The Promise also comes with a phone app, designed to help people do their daily seven minute practice. Mark maintains that seven minutes of practice is enough to make lasting change in a person’s life, and it becomes so pleasurable that there is a natural extension of the practice into 10, 15, 20, 40 minutes or more.

Published by the same powerhouse folk who brought you The Secret, The Promise is Mark Whitwell’s attempt to woo the mainstream masses with a digestible daily sadhana he hopes will change the world.

It’s a bold claim, so I tracked down Mark and persuaded him to talk to me.

Our conversation covers everything from studying with Krishnamacharya, the teacher of teachers, how the word “yoga” has become meaningless, and when real yoga teaching actually starts. He talks about the lack of real education in 1970s New Zealand, and how that, plus music like The Beatles, sent him to India.

Mark Whitwell, yoga teacher and author of Yoga of Heart, and The Promise.

Other topic sof conversation include:

– Is yoga a commercial activity?
– Why yoga is not “an irksome spiritual duty,” that you have to get done.
– How just seven minutes of yoga a day can change your life.
– The breath.
– Why intimacy has been taken away from us by religious idealism.
– Religion, yoga and sex.
– Mark’s latest book, and his hopes for it’s impact.
The concept of non-duality.
– The best sentence in the book.
– Obsession.
– When Mark will next be in New Zealand.

This interview originally appeared on The Yoga Lunchbox, NZ’s online yoga magazine.

Editor: Lynn Hasselberger

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About Kara-Leah Grant

Kara-Leah Grant is an internationally renowned retreat leader, yoga teacher and writer. Along with fellow Elephant Journal writer, Ben Ralston, she runs Heart of Tribe, pouring her love into growing a world-wide tribe of courageous, committed, and empowered individuals through leading retreats in New Zealand, Mexico and Sri Lanka. Kara-Leah is also the founder of New Zealand’s own awesome yoga website, The Yoga Lunchbox, and author of Forty Days of Yoga—Breaking down the barriers to a home yoga practice and The No-More-Excuses Guide to Yoga. A born & bred Kiwi who spent her twenties wandering the world and living large, Kara-Leah has spent time in Canada, the USA, France, England, Mexico, and a handful of other luscious locations. She now lives and travels internationally with her son, a ninja-in-training. You can find Kara-Leah on her website, or on Facebook.


14 Responses to “Love, sex & intimacy in seven minutes a day.”

  1. lcu says:

    Isn't the point of reading an article to skip watching tv for 46 minutes? Why the video instead of a piece of written journalism? Additionally, there is an error and the video won't load.

  2. Roseanne says:

    Wonderful video. Very inspiring. It was refreshing just to hear him talk and to hear some sanity in our crazy world. Looking forward to the book.

  3. Layla says:

    So refreshing to see something on this site that isn't snarky, hyper critical, holier than thou or defensive remarks about what yoga is here in the west. This guy clearly only wants to lift people up and share what he believes to be true and he doesn't need to put other people down to do so. Thanks for sharing. Loved it and also will be picking up the book.

  4. Hey ICU,

    It wasn't an article, it was a video, with some text intro to provide context and reason to watch.

    I've chosen to interview people like Mark because it's more immediate than written journalism, and allows the viewer to see what the interview subject is like for themselves. Written interview pieces tend to be overlaid with the biases and filters of the journalist, no matter how objective we try and be. On video, our biases are obvious and viewers can ignore them. I'm sorry that there was an error for you and the video couldn't load. Hopefully you persevered and clicked through to the Vimeo page and were able to watch.


  5. Hey Roseanne,

    Thanks for your comment – helps when other people can see it's worth watching a 46 minute video interview. Mark is wonderfully grounded and sane, and it was such a pleasure to interview him.

  6. Hey Layla,

    My pleasure. I too enjoyed speaking to Mark for the same reasons. I'm surprised he doesn't have a higher profile in the yoga world, which is why I chose to interview him.

  7. Morgan says:

    I just downloaded the app! Thanks so much for a wonderful tip. Namaste.

  8. Katie says:

    I'm not sure I would have found out about this if I hadn't seen it here. I've been doing it a week. What a wonderful and pleasurable experience. Thank you, Kara-Leah and Elephant Journal, for bringing it to my attention.

  9. Hey Katie,

    Great to hear! It's always nice to get specific feedback about the practice working for someone.

  10. […] Alongside the still reverberation of communal silence, the kind that has that same nostalgic ring to all of us who have ever let our hearts get intertwined with our sex lives, therein lies within our souls, the lifelong yearning for sex, love and spiritual connection. […]

  11. […] skillful feedback—or being a mirror for your partner—is one of the greatest gifts of intimate relationship. It enables both partners to grow, to feel seen, known, secure and cared for. But sometimes, an […]

  12. Matthew says:

    Thank you for this inteview. I wasn't aware of Mark Whitwell but it's clear the depth of his connection and understanding of yoga in the tradition of Krishnamarcharya. A lot to respond to here, but I'm mostly taken with his clear articulation that yoga is (traditionally) about self-awareness – being present/conscious in the moment, that "heaven" is here and now within us (in our hearts). I will keep an eye out for Whitwell. Excellent interview too. You reflected back to him his thoughts nicely.

  13. Hey Matthew,

    No, he flies somewhat under the radar! I too love that clear articulation of yoga as self-awareness, at all times. It was a joy to interview him.

  14. Matthew says:


    Thanks again for 'sharing' Whitwell with us! : )

    Blessings and grace on your path…

    Namaskar ~