Next week, Donna Karan will host the launch of yogi Mark Whitwell’s new book The Promise of Love, Sex, and Intimacy here at the Urban Zen Foundation’s west coast outpost in West Hollywood. Karan’s foundation hosts inspiring forums and events of all shapes and sizes so it was no surprise to us that she should feature Whitwell’s latest tome highlighting our often neglected need for true intimacy. We asked the author to tell us a little about his new book and the authentic practices he prescribes inside of it.
The Chalkboard Mag: Mark, your new book is based on a simple practice called “Your Seven-Minute Wonder”. Tell us a little about this practice.
Mark Whitwell: “This practice is something realistic everyone can easily do that gives you intimacy with Life in every way. It is the practical means to fulfill the ideals of every kind of teaching. They are the principles of personal yoga from the great tradition as my teacher, Krishnamacharya, brought them forth. He is known as ‘the teacher of the teachers’ and his principles belong in all the popular brands and styles of yoga to make yoga entirely your own, efficient, powerful and safe. So far, they are not there. It is our job to put them in for the yoga world to make yoga truly available to the whole public. In my teacher’s words, “Yoga must be adapted to the individual, not the individual to the yoga.” This book shows you how to do that! It explains just exactly what yoga is, and more importantly, how easy it is for anyone to do.”
TCM: ‘The Promise of Love, Sex and Intimacy’ is an interesting message for this day and age. In what many call and ‘over-sexed’ age, you point out that there is still such a lack of intimacy in most people’s lives. Please talk about that.
MW: “Yes ‘over-sexed’ is just the other side of the coin of sex denial. When sex is denied, it comes out as an aberration – even an illness – that is endemic in all societies. This book is to give everyone a practical means to become completely sex positive in their lives and enjoy real intimacy.’
TCM: For many, becoming involved in yoga actually requires them to lower quite a few personal boundaries, so it’s interesting that someone as deep within the yoga community as yourself would notice this. How did this lack of intimacy first come to your attention?
MW: “By just travelling the world and hearing the stories from my friends and students in all societies. What we really need is intimate connection to Life, to our selves and each other. It is the healing balm that heals all other issues. In a dysfunctional world of inappropriate predatory loveless sex, personal boundaries may be needed, but what we all need is real love, real sex. We are looking for love in all the wrong places, when, essentially, love is already given. It is in our own heartbeat, breath and sex. The reality that lives in us.”
TCM: Are there any other day-to-day tools or methods you would suggest to readers on this subject?
MW: “Just the ‘Promise’ practice itself. It is powerful and immediately effective as the union of all opposites, including the male-female polarity, and receiving strength within and without. Then gently enter into intimate circumstances with someone you choose.”
TCM: What one thing would you love readers to come away from your book knowing or feeling?
MW: “That they are completely loved and cared for. They are utterly unique in the extreme intelligence, beauty and function of Life. And they can depend on the nurturing forces of reality to sustain them through all circumstance, positive or painful. And pain is the healing function of Life.”
TCM: You incorporate ideas from such a diverse array of friends and fellow yogis in this book. Does one of their perspectives especially stand out to you in this book?
MW: “All the contributors in my book have had their lives turned around by the practice: ‘Actual and natural, non-obsessive and daily!’ Each story is unique and wonderful as each person realizes his or her profound intimacy with Life. I like that we have people of all faiths and backgrounds – Christian ministers, Islamic women in the Middle East, Jewish, Buddhist, atheist, all! – and how all realize their hopes and dreams through practice.”
TCM: Please feel free to include any other valuable ideas you’d like to add!
MW: “This practice is very easy and very pleasurable. The only reason to do it is for the sheer pleasure of it. Please get the book and try it. There is also an app called iPromise for iPhone and Android that shows you exactly how to do it.”
We’re giving away one copy of Mark’s book to a lucky reader. Tell us why Mark’s ideas resonate with you below & we’ll pick our favorite reader response to win the book! Good luck, readers!