Question: Give a brief description of your background – where you grew up, the major milestones that formed your personality and values/beliefs, etc.
Mark White: I grew up in Saudi Arabia and traveled the world extensively as an adolescent and teenager. I was exposed to a multitude of different cultures throughout my life.
This had a major impact on my values and belief system as I was able to witness and take for my own aspects of cultures that I felt were integral to how I wanted to live my life. Mainly I was able to observe how there isn’t just one way of being, living and worshiping. Each culture and person had its own beauty, which is inherent in their presence and in their action.
Q: How did you first get into yoga?
MA: Honestly? Through a broken heart. My wife and I separated and I felt that I needed to cope with the upset as constructively as possible. I bought a Baron Baptiste DVD and began to practice at home. Through self-practice, I realized how transformational his style of yoga was. I signed up for a one week Personal Revolution Bootcamp in Mexico in July of 2004 and as they say, the rest was history.
Q: Did you know anyone who did yoga before you started practicing it yourself?
Q: What were your thoughts about it at that time?
MA: At the time, I thought that it was a bunch of folks sitting around in white garb on the floor doing contortionist type moves worshipping some mystical force.
Q: How long were you practicing before you realized it was a good fit for you?
MA: Within a month, I realized it was a perfect fit for me. My mind was at ease, my body was toner and I felt an overall sense of lightness in my life.
Q: At what point did you know you wanted to open your own studio?
MA: After the Baron Baptiste Personal Revolution Bootcamp in Tulum, Mexico. Actually, I have grandeur dreams of having my own boutique hotel/retreat somewhere in the Yucatan close to the Caribbean where people can go to get away and pamper their mind, body and soul with yoga, massage, and other holistic treatments and workshops.
Q: What inspires you? How do those things translate into this new endeavor?
MA: Being a teacher inspires me. Connecting with people. This style of yoga. Through this medium, I believe I can bring to my students a different perspective on how they can live their lives- a lot less stressed, without so much judgment, resentment and fear. I believe I can help facilitate a connection with my student’s authentic self through this style.
Q: Please speak briefly to the common misperceptions of and mystique around yoga. What about your style allows you to overcome these obstacles? Why do you think you tend to attract a more diverse crowd to your classes than is typical?
MA: I believe most people think that yoga is this far-out mystical practice that involves sitting around chanting and getting into contortionist positions. The style I teach is the complete antithesis to this thought. The style I teach is more athletic as it incorporates breath and movement in a heated room that promotes detoxification and concentration. I believe people like this style because it is accessible to all ages and body types. At first, most people come for the physical benefits lose weight, toner bodies, etc- but they end up truly enjoying the philosophical components that I weave into the class that allow them to further explore their practice as well as apply what they experience in class in the real world and in their lives. They begin to notice a much calmer being with less mind chatter. This truly is transformational yoga if you can get yourself out of the way.
Q: What are your core philosophies concerning yoga?
MA: That it be accessible to all. The human condition has not changed since the beginning of time. We still experience all of life’s wonders – love, stress, fear, sorrow, resentment. How we cope with these elements is key. Yoga allows us to cope with the human condition as well as build a stronger, healthier and more flexible body.