Mark Whitwell | Heart of Yoga

What is a Yogi? | Mark Whitwell

“The only samadhi that is valued in Yoga is sahaj samadhi, the natural state, the union that has already happened.” Mark Whitwell | Heart of Yoga

Mark Whitwell
5 min readNov 4, 2022
“The only samadhi that is valued in Yoga is sahaj samadhi, the natural state, the union that has already happened.” Mark Whitwell | Heart of Yoga

A Yogi is one who is not using the mind or knowledge as an instrument of seeking because the Natural State–the beauty, harmony, intelligence and power of Reality Itself–is simply obvious as their own (and everybody’s) inherent, already-given condition. The Yogi is finished being the imagined (thought-created) separate subject who is trying to get connected to a presumed absent Ultimate Other: Reality, Truth, God, Eternity. They are living in Reality, as Reality, Self-Abiding, no longer imagining that there is somewhere else to get to.

Trying to get somewhere as if we are not somewhere is bad software that has gone in. It’s a cultural implant–an intellectual mistake conjured by thought. Humanity still thinks Truth is absent and needs to be found, as if it’s not in our breath, heartbeat and sex. Who told you that you needed to attain wholeness? Who told you that you needed to get enlightened or God-Realized? You don’t have to do a damn thing. Your life is a wonder.

“The basic religious notion that truth needs to be found, that it is higher, deeper, but not here in this ordinariness, has denied us the native intelligence and beauty of our own life. The denial of life and the proposal of a sublime future elsewhere is the underlying cause of the world’s dysfunction: war, unhappiness, sexual abuse, and climate chaos .” Mark Whitwell | Heart of Yoga

But how do you have your own authentic experience when the whole world of society and culture has created the concept of “you” as a separate person? The world creates the idea of the separate “I”; the object creates the subject; the social environment, with its absurd set of assumptions, dissociates us from our native radiance.

The thought-structure of the separate subject has huge momentum in the world. For millennia, ancient religions have proposed the idea of an autocratic God who is pulling the strings from somewhere else, creating the idea of the non-divine, separate Earth. The mind that has created society teaches that this God or Truth can be found through a linear process, through conscientious participation in the various hierarchies of religious life. There is a vast pervasive cultural mistake happening where everybody is busy trying to get ‘high’ as if this is ‘low.’

Contemporary science removes the God as “Other” idea but fails to re-cognize the material world as inherently divine, instead imagining a mechanical, knowable environment that humanity can somehow master and control, always from the position of the separate observer. This philosophy turns the world into a bland place and makes us feel lonely. Clearly these ideas are not valid, but they have hurt us.

Click here for free access to the Heart of Yoga Teaching Standards, a set of principles you can use to judge whether a teacher is teaching in an empowering or disempowering way.

“You only need to realize one time that you are indeed the power of this cosmos” | Mark Whitwell | Heart of Yoga

So what do we do? Just know that there is nothing in it.

Consider the sun, for example. The sun is the source of the solar system. And the wonder of my life is based upon its passage. Life is formed by and utterly dependent on the sun. Where would we be without it? But nobody needs to try and seek for the sun, to get closer to it. Nor do we need to make philosophy or religion from it. We simply enjoy the sun in a tacit way. It is just there.

Similarly, if God is our source, if God is the absolute condition of our being, then God too does not need to be found. For how can the source of creation be absent from what is being created? Who or what could create this embodiment? The imagination that humans are separate from God, from Source, is just that–-an idea. The mind can therefore fold up from the bad software of trying to look for Truth.

Video from “The New Zealand Workshops” filmed in Opua. Students learn the yoga that is right for them, that links the mind to the wonder of life, that ends therefore the predatory seeking behaviours of the mind that is dissociated from its natural state | Mark Whitwell | Heart of Yoga

Once the mind of the separate self has been seen and understood as an illusion, then Yoga begins as your natural participation in Reality–the Absolute Truth that is your native condition, the beauty, peace, and power that is your natural state, prior to thought. These technologies of moving and breathing evolved in indigenous wisdom culture and were given compassionately to those who were afflicted by a sense of separation from Nurturing Source. The breath links the mind to the heart, and the heart is the place from which the nurturing pranas of life flow. We feel our natural state.

My teacher Krishnamacharya said that “This intimacy you can do.”

So what is a Yogi?

A Yogi is someone who is enjoying the intimacies of their body and breath. No longer using the mind or knowledge as an instrument of seeking because the Natural State is simply obvious as their own (and everybody’s) inherent, already-given condition.

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Mark Whitwell

Mark Whitwell has worked as a Yoga teacher around the world for the last 45 years and is the author of 4 books on Yoga. He lives in Fiji with his wife Rosalind.