ABOUT MARK BLANCHARD
Mark Blanchard has been teaching full time since 1993. He studied with India's Sri K. Pattabhi Jois, father of the modern Ashtanga movement and has been a serious student of yoga for over 30 years.
Mark, the athlete
One of the defining roles of Mark Blanchard's life is that of an athlete. While playing semi-pro baseball and college football in New York, Blanchard suffered through several major knee operations and shoulder injuries. Urged by his orthopedic surgeon to attend a yoga class to rehabilitate his body, he was utterly hooked from the first downward dog at Norman Allen's studio in Manhattan. "I watched this lean little yogi bend into powerful poses while maintaining the most serene expression," says Blanchard. "I was intrigued, excited." He has continued to practice yoga every day of his life since then.
Mark, the actorWhile pursuing his love of this ancient art of yoga, Blanchard also began modeling and acting on soap operas, including All My Children and Guiding Light. He moved to Southern California to film a dozen movies and television roles, and even began teaching informal yoga sessions on movie sets.
Mark, trainer to the stars
Blanchard has trained many fit celebrities including Jennifer Lopez, Kim Delaney, Rachel Griffiths, Willem Dafoe, Jennie Garth, Andy Garcia, James Wilder, Lucy Liu, Drew Barrymore, and more. Blanchard also specializes in training golfers, basketball players and other professional athletes since he keenly understands yoga's healing powers.
"The internal practice improves mental focus, clarity and split-second concentration while the outward physical practice hones strength, speedwork and reaction-time," Mark says.
Mark, power yoga guru
A leader of the Power Yoga movement, Mark Blanchard teaches at his two studios in Los Angeles and also does many guest workshops throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Mark Blanchard's Power Yoga Centers in Los Angeles are famliy owned and operated. He recently opened up his centers to franchising opportunities which he supports wholeheartedly with many guest appearances. Kansas City is the first franchise with many more to come.
"Students tell us how they appreciate the family atmosphere and friendly greetings when they enter," says Mark Blanchard. "There's no attitude in our studios. We come only to practice and to feel calm and in balance with the world around us."
Why no levels, no music, no props?
Some of the most unique and identifying characteristics of Mark Blanchard's purist yoga class are that he never categorizes sessions by potentially threatening "levels," he practices only to the music of the human breath and he does not recommend class props such as blocks or straps.
"Regardless of how trendy these accoutrements have become, there were no stereos or straps when yoga was created over 5,000 years ago," says Mark Blanchard. "Simply work at our own level, do the best you can personally do, and welcome the joy from within." His mother, Barbara, and wife Elizabeth work with him, and their baby yogis, Rowan Eleanor. Carmen Riley and newest yogi Shane Joseph.