Mark Whitwell told me to enjoy my life and that I am already perfect.
The nationally known yoga teacher held workshops Saturday and Sunday at the Manitou Art Center and Manitou Bindu. Local yoga teacher Jessica Patterson brought him as part of her RootEd Apprenticeship & Teacher Training Program. He is one of her teachers.
I attended the Saturday afternoon session, which included lecture, Q&A and practice.
Whitwell is a charismatic presence, standing heads and shoulders above most people. His gray hair is long and he had it plaited into a thick braid on Saturday.
He offered simple messages about enjoying our lives and being only ourselves, as nature does not work in duplication. The act of searching, which I am 100 percent guilty of, implies you don’t already have what you’re looking for. But you already do have exactly what you’re looking for, he said. You always have.
Teachings like these always sound so good when you’re sitting right here, absorbing the speaker’s energy, but then you have to go back out into the real world and interact with real people. He realized it, though, and told us we weren’t allowed to leave until we understood what he was saying: That we’re all already perfect, beautiful creatures. There is nothing to be done, no search to be had, no more knowledge to accrue.
“There are no steps to be taken,” he said.
We had a discussion about why there were only 7 men in a room of dozens of women, and why that’s the case in most of Western yoga. He encouraged us to go out and teach the men. Why do you think there aren’t as many men in yoga? I’d like to ponder that in a future column.
We ended the workshop with a yoga practice. He said we all need to do seven minutes of yoga every day. To breathe and match the inhale to the exhale. Doing this will heal our relationship with ourselves and then with our loved ones, and we will achieve greater intimacy.