First things first: This is not actually a book about Yoga per se but a book about life and how to develop a “personal ethos” that will serve readers well in all aspects of their lives. That’s what Mark Divine – with Catherine Divine – sets out to do in his latest book Kokoro Yoga. People often stumble through life without a personal ethos they can depend on to keep them on track on their journey, especially during these often confusing and trying times.
What Mark has done in this book is no less than give readers a way to develop – or strengthen – their own personal ethos through the use of mental and physical approaches, that yes, includes yoga! This not your sisters hippie dippie yoga book…
Unlike so many who attempt to offer such grand advice – who frankly have no business doing so other than their own delusions of grandeur – Mark is what’s referred to in the military as a been-there-done-that guy. To my mind, that makes it far easier to take his excellent advice as found in Kokoro Yoga. Mark spent years as a Navy SEAL, decades learning various martial arts, and yet more years in the study of various forms of yoga honing his views and approach. Contrary to what many westerners may understand, yoga, like martial arts, takes on many different forms and focus often quite different from each other.
Mark tells the story of his first time flying into a combat zone, and doing a full yoga session, wearing combat kit and all, on the deck of a C-130 military transport plane coming into Iraq. Quite possibly the first yoga session ever done on a military transport plane! That early experience demonstrated to him just how much yoga could assist in settling and focusing his mind in the most potentially stressful situations for a green (to combat zones) officer, and it stuck with him as a way to keep his mind and body settled and focused on the dangerous missions he’d experience.
After many years of diligently working in various systems of martial arts, yoga, physical training, and the special operations community, he developed his own approach to physical and mental well-being called Kokoro Yoga.
As a rule, one will find those “systems” that endure, be they martial arts, yoga, business, or battle, find the developer of the approach usually has a wide ranging and extensive background, which Mark has in spades. In my view, that gives him the “creds” to offer such advice, and this book is full of damn good advice too.