How did yoga help you with Survivor? Mentally and/or physically?
Survivor was a grueling adventure. Not only was I starving and uncomfortable physically, but in a game of betrayal I felt constantly bombarded by fear and paranoia. Yoga helped to calm me in the face of these challenges. When I was hungry or tired, I could simply come back to the equanimity that I learned through my practice. To be honest, I really felt that yoga gave me an advantage in the game. Most of the other contestants struggled when they met their edge. Since I’ve been finding my edge almost every day on my yoga mat, it wasn’t quite as difficult for me to stay there.
What lessons did you learn from Survivor and how are you applying those lessons to the classes you teach?
The game of Survivor doesn’t really intersect with many of the teachings that I bring to my yoga class. It is a sociopathic melee that isn’t true to real life. However, outside of the game, the adventure of surviving off the land and living in the elements was completely in line with the yoga that I teach. I learned that my body is much more dynamic, resilient and at the same time sensitive than I previously thought. I also strengthened my belief that the mind is where all of my physical strengths and weaknesses come from. It is for that reason that I am even more convinced that a simple practice of alignment and mindfulness yields the greatest benefits. We align our bodies to reflect their state in the present moment and ultimately work on training our minds through focus and breathing.
What do you love about teaching yoga? What do you like to bring to your students?
Through yoga, I am so lucky to help bring transformation and change into my students’ lives. I love being able to facilitate healing and empowerment through the practice. Over the years I have seen many students enact great change and overcome big obstacles in their lives with the aid of their yoga practice. Being a part of that is truly a wonderful thing. I like to bring a challenge to people in my classes. There are no replacements for hard work… and that doesn’t necessarily mean physical. We work through our bodies and quiet our minds through a patient but persistent regular yoga practice! I love what I do and feel very fortunate to share yoga with others.
Check out Vytas’ online yoga classes on MyYogaWorks or take his live class at YogaWorks Main Street in Santa Monica, California.