An Interview with A Yoga Teacher – Litsa Yiatros
- Written by Alicia Drewnicki
- February 15, 2020
- 5 min read
Litsa Yiatros is a yoga instructor who runs ‘Yoga Not For Yogis‘, and also recently partnered with us for our ‘Body & Movement’ Week campaign to create these ‘Five Easy Yoga Routines You Can Do Every Day At Home’.
We were interested in finding more about Litsa’s personal journey and how yoga become part of her life, so we sat down for this honest, inspiring, and very personal interview.
1) Please can you tell us about your journey, and how you first got interested in yoga?
Yoga came into my life when I was about 18. I tried a class at a gym and remember feeling very relaxed. However, I didn’t realise the true benefits of the practice and saw it as just another fitness class.
My practise continued like this, then I started attending an ashtanga class, and it was at this point in my life that I started to burn out. I had worked since the age of 15 and always worked towards owning my own hair salon. By the time I turned 24, this had happened for me, but it didn’t come without challenges. Yoga helped me during this chapter of my life. It helped me manage my stress level and my anxiety.
When I reach the age of 31 I had a car accident, at this point everything that I had worked for (not only career but love) started to change. At a time when my physical, emotional and mental health were at the lowest, I decided that when I was strong, I would go to India and from there I did, and my yoga teacher training started.
2) How did you get your qualification and what was the hardest part of the process?
I trained in an ashram and I had a lot of demons to face. Some yoga teachers might say it was the best experience, but I found it a deep cleansing process, so for me it was challenging right until a week before qualifying. I learnt a lot from my teacher about the physical practise. I learnt the power of my mind and the tremendous amounts of negative thoughts I had. My self-esteem was low, and my self-love was low. Over the 5 weeks, I started to shed layers and layers of trauma from childhood up to adult relationships.
3) Why did you decide to start teaching yoga?
I walked into my yoga teacher training as a broken soul and came out with the intention of fixing myself and helping others. I decided to teach because there is nothing more powerful than having something as magical as I learnt and not pass it on to others.
4) What role/s does yoga play in your life?
Yoga for me has no role in my life, other than being my best friend. Something that I can go to and depend on to show me where I am at. Even when it’s not nice. Yoga helps me face it every time.
5) Can you tell us a bit about what your classes are like? I hear you sometimes incorporate reiki into them?
My class can be fun, hard, soft. I didn’t like to define how I teach because it’s different every time for me and students. I have parts of the practise that are repeated every time that to be able to share a simple sequence for students to practise at home. The rest of the class can become anything. Depends what mood I’m in haha. I always combine reiki within the class. It all blends well together.
6) Do you have a mission as a yoga teacher? What would you like to achieve?
I like everyone to have yoga in their lives, but I have learnt from teaching over the last 5 years that it’s a lifetime practice on and off the mat. So I guess the only thing I’d really like as a teacher is for students to understand that, and start to love yoga, away from solely the physical.
7) Have you got any tips for anyone who is new to yoga? What can they do to get started?
Yoga can be for everyone. My advice to someone new to the practice would be find a teacher that you feel comfortable with. Don’t always go to large studios with the intention of becoming flexible etc, I have to say that for me is a struggle as a teacher. Watching students trying too hard is uncomfortable for me. I like imperfection. I like it when arms fly all over the place I like people to be present and go with the flow.
Tips from me – check out the videos I’ve shared in this blog post. It’s a good start.
8) How many times a week do you practice and for how long?
My practise changes everyday, depending on how I feel. Sometime my breath, body and mind feels light and free. Sometimes it’s as heavy as a brick. I practice everyday but not physically. I practise all piece of the yoga philosophy. Being kind, meditation, mantra and more. There are lots of parts to the journey. I learn everyday. I don’t think we ever master any posture if we aren’t mastering all part of yoga.
9) What challenges does yoga help you overcome?
I find that challenges arrive all the time and I’m learning how to use the tools I’ve learnt to make these times less painful, but I am still learning. I still suffer with anxiety sometimes, and I still feel sadness. It’s just easier to work though them with yoga.
10) Why Did you call your class Yoga Not For Yogis?
The reason I chose to call my classes yoga not for yogis was with the intention of making everyone feel welcome. It can be an intimidating place for people that feel they don’t fit. This is something I’d love to change about the yoga community. Sometime as a teacher I have felt like that. So for me it’s essential to make everyone feel welcome and hold a space that allows people to just be. Instead of strive. We strive far to much. I just want to share the magical parts of yoga and not get to wrapped up in the superficial side of it.
11) Do you think mindfulness and meditation play a role in yoga?
Mindfulness and meditation plays a big part in the yoga practise I teach. Yoga is a moving meditation so it’s great for people that feel like a seated meditation or mindfulness practise is difficult.
12) What do you think makes a good yoga teacher?
A good yoga teacher is someone that allows students to practice without pushing them too hard to achieve the physical but pushes them hard to be mindful of their thoughts and emotions.
13) How did it feel after you taught your first ever class?
The first time I taught I felt emotional, because it’s such a beautiful practise to teach. I feel lucky to be able to share it.
14) Any advice for people who think they don’t have time for yoga? How can they fit it into daily life and make it a habit?
People that say they don’t have time, just need to try 10mins a day and they will feel the benefits. It can be as easy as whole you run a bath or pop something on to eat, whilst that happening move your body and sync your breathe.
15) Where can people attend your classes?
The London Edition – various dates – check my social media for updates.
Private Lessons – London and Surrey – find out more on my website.
Morzine – TBC. Keep an eye on social for updates.