MARK SHVIEMA

AUTHORISED TEACHER OF NEELAKANTHA MEDITATION, E-RYT 500 

currently based in Kyoto, Japan


photo by Yuna Yagi
photo by Yuna Yagi

Mark lives in Kyoto, Japan, where he teaches weekly classes in the Kansai area, and travels throughout in and out Japan offering public haṭha yoga vinyāsa and meditation workshops, intensives, immersions, philosophy talks, and continuing education for teachers. He holds the Yoga Alliance E-RYT 500 level certification, and is a former certified teacher of Anusara. Mark has been in a continual immersive study of non-dual Shaiva Tantra and meditation with renowned Hindu Tantra scholar and lifelong meditator Paul Muller-Ortega since 2007.

Mark began his practice and study of haṭha yoga on his own, to complement his martial arts studies. Three years later, he took his first live yoga class. After that class, the teacher asked him, “Have you ever thought about teaching?”

 

Those six words became the catalyst for an extraordinary journey that has taken him from Philadelphia, to San Francisco, to Kyoto where he has been living and teaching yoga since 2008.

Mark has spent 19 years investigating the myriad practices of haṭha yoga, guided by a succession of intelligent, gifted teachers in a variety of styles, and his own daily study and practice. To read a more detailed description of his training history, please go here.

Mark`s teaching has become an ever-evolving assimilation of his experience and study. He weaves philosophical teachings into each class with a focus of practical application for approaching the challenges of both the physical practice and day to day life. He sees yoga as both an experiential practice, and a practice of relationship. It is through our experiences that we have the moment to moment opportunity to change our relationship to ourselves, our environment, and/or other beings. This means there is always the possibility to change our present life situation for the better.  To read a more detailed description of his present teaching methodology, please go here.

“No way as the way. No limitation as limitation.”

~ Bruce Lee

I have been carrying this quote inside me for over 15 years.

It seemed like a rather paradoxical riddle at first, but then it became a profound and practical wisdom teaching for me. In the last five years this quote has come to define my foundational view of practice and teaching.

 

“No way as the way” expresses, for me, the importance of not getting trapped in one particular way or method of doing things. It is common for us to start a practice of Yoga via asana, and to find a particular “style” of yoga that feels like a good fit for our needs. This is a good thing to begin with, but if we then become attached to that style, we create a box in which we can only grow our capacity in a certain way to a certain degree. At that point of reaching maximum room for growth, our practice simply becomes about stabilization and maintenance, which are good things, but there has to be growth. Growth does not have to be huge, or in leaps and bounds, but steady and consistent expansion of the box of our perceived boundaries is what truly generates deep and profound transmutation of our life at all levels.

 

I interpret “No limitation as limitation” as seeing a challenge as a gift, rather than some kind of annoyance or thing to just brush aside or bypass as quickly as possible. Challenge is how we grow. Without challenge, there is no growth, which is why opening ourselves to different ways of doing things, whether on the yoga mat or in our daily life, is essential to dissolve all perceived limiting situations. And when we proceed in a direction that is unfamiliar, uncomfortable and/or unknown, but do so from a place of conscious, step-by-step engagement with that new discomfort, there is great reward for us in so many ways.

 

Thus our limitation becomes no limitation.

To paraphrase the wisdom of the Shaiva Tantra Yoga tradition, our bondage becomes our freedom.