About the Heart of Yoga Peace Project
“A universal theology is impossible, a Universal Shared Experience
is not only possible, it’s Necessary” ~ A Course in Miracles
Violence among human beings is the single greatest threat to our survival and well-being, both as individuals and as a species. Cycles of violence at local, regional and national levels continue to drive fear and hatred into the hearts and minds of people around the world. Meanwhile, our tools of oppression and our weapons of war continue to grow in power by terrifying orders of magnitude.
We believe that transformation begins with the individual’s consciousness and spreads from there.
Yoga practice helps people remain steady and caring in the face of conflict and cultivates awareness of the similarity and connection between all beings, without religion or dogma. Yoga works for change in the family, in the community and on a global scale.
The Peace Project supports yoga teachers in active conflict zones and other troubled areas around the world, helping to nurture communities of healing, hope and joy in places where suffering and despair threaten to dominate everyday life.
Although suffering appears incessant and can run very deep, there is hope.
Yoga connects us to a space in us which is never affected, however profound our suffering. Even in the midst of great suffering, we can connect to this space.
The closer we come to this place the less we feel identified with our suffering. Although the suffering does not vanish, we begin to feel mysteriously comforted by this connection. We begin to feel at ease and at peace suddenly, even in the midst of pain.
The Yoga for Peace Project is dedicated to:
- seeding and developing aspiring teachers from conflict zones around the world,
- building yoga communities in troubled areas around the world,
- spreading peace through the transformation of individuals and
- enabling cross-cultural understanding through one-on-one diplomacy
The Peace Project employs yoga as a unifying, non-religious means of bringing those affected by struggle and conflict together in neutral locations where their full attention can be applied to basic yogic principles such as non-violence, tolerance and compassion.
Mark Whitwell : Founder
Mark Whitwell’s expertise is teaching authentic yoga and training yoga teachers around the world. Born and raised in New Zealand, but traveling internationally since 1978, Mark is known to teach the timeless principles of yoga with compassion and clarity. Mark has enjoyed a lifelong relationship with the teachings of T.Krishnamacharya, studying in his household with his son TKV Desikachar, and with Srivatsa Ramaswami.
Janet Marshall : Coordinator
Janet is a lifelong yoga student, devotee and yoga teacher whose practice blends classical spirituality with practical healing therapies. She has completed thousands of hours of training and certification with major teachers in leading traditions such as Gary Kraftsow, Juris Zinbergs, Yoga Kingdom and Full Spectrum, in addition to her many years of working with Mark Whitwell.
Janet has vast experience as a social worker and has worked in many schools and agencies serving children and families in stress.
As a longtime student and friend of Mark Whitwell, she is deeply rooted in the yoga practice and principles of Krishnamacharya. Her early yoga training with John Childers of Full-Spectrum Yoga grounded her asana practice in the philosophical origins of the sutras. She then trained with Naader Shagagi, founder of Yoga Kingdom in Pasadena, whose whole-hearted embrace of Eastern and Western mysticism illuminates yoga as a devotional path.
Janet is currently enrolled in a three-year yoga therapy program with Juris Zinbergs, a long-time student of Gary Kraftsow and the Viniyoga tradition.