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From medication to self-realization - a story about yoga

By uniting the body and mind through the breath, yoga is a great self-realization practice.
By uniting the body and mind through the breath, yoga is a great self-realization practice.
Photo: Maureen Janaka
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Self-Discovery at The Center

Many of us can relate to having been heavily medicated at a young age because we weren’t acting as society said we should. And soon enough, this sort of protocol follows us into our adulthood too. But what if you had this gut feeling that you weren’t supposed to be medicated anymore? Yes, it may have helped back when you were younger but could it be putting a haze over your life’s purpose now?

Not only did Lewis Victor live this experience, he also decided to do something about it. Owner and teacher at Lewis Victor Yoga, he is a Chicago-native who recently moved to Los Angeles where he will be teaching at Hot 8 Yoga Studio in Santa Monica, CA. But before he found some direction in life, he set out on a quest for mental clarity where he discovered yoga and its self-realization benefits.

“I was very heavily medicated as a teenager,” Lewis said, recalling his life back in the day. And he remembers how lost he felt as he set out to claim his freedom and begin his own life. “When I graduated high school, I was very confused as to who I was and what I needed to be doing in my life.” Realizing he felt lost, Victor remained open to discovering his life’s purpose and was eventually introduced to a technique that would help him get to where he needed to be. He found the gateway to his journey during the summer of 2000. “I took my first yoga class at Moksha Yoga Center in Chicago. After that class, I knew that yoga was exactly what I was looking for in order for me to put myself back together.”

So Lewis began taking classes there and realized, “I was starting to finally feel like I had my feet on the ground and my head on my shoulders. My mind was becoming more clear and my body’s awareness was increasing dramatically.” After a short time, he was asked to take part in their teacher-training program so that he might help others realize the incredible focus that can be gained from the yoga practice. Victor began to understand the reasons why he had been feeling more clear and grounded. "Yoga is generally about being present in what you do,” so Lewis makes sure his students are not just attending his classes for exercise, but are also gaining some insight into the practice too. 

“What I teach in my classes is pretty fundamental,” he explains, “the link to what you are physically doing next to what you are mentally thinking can be maintained through mindful control of your breath.” And one of the most important unifiers Victor highlights about the practice of yoga. “By focusing on the breath, the student is establishing one-pointed attention, leaving no room for the mind to wander to unrelated things.” Something that isn’t so easy to do in our fast-paced society.

The reason that this is so important is, “through the breath, the student also supplies the energy needed to partake in the physical component of yoga.” So Victor teaches that, “the deeper the inhale, the more energy will be taken in; and the more powerful the exhale, the more energy in the body.” Breathing is important because it not only helps unite the mind and body, but the student can also “work on mastering whatever their primary intention for practicing yoga may be.”

So, what brings Lewis the most gratification from his work in the yoga field? “Seeing the difference in a student from when they first walked into my class to 10 or so classes later. The improvement of the student leads me to believe that I am making a significant difference in their life as well.”

Known to be open and honest, sharing his true beliefs with others, Lewis is by no means a shy man. “I might get a little heat for this,” he begins, “but I try not to always find myself too terribly inspired by other people’s teachings.” He goes on to say that, “what I have to offer as a teacher comes from my own personal experience: What yoga has done for me, how I was able to learn it, and what I personally feel are the most important principals of the practice.” And that is what you can expect when you attend a private session or one of his classes.

Yoga is a rather self-involved practice, but Lewis sees teaching others “as a way of giving back to the yoga community through personal experiences as a student.” And he realizes that the self-realization techniques that yoga has shown him will help him to gain access to the things he wants most out of life. “No matter where my life goes and no matter in what capacity, yoga will always be a huge part of me and what I do. It makes me a stronger person; capable of mastering any path I choose to create for myself.”

More information about Lewis Victor and his yoga sessions can be found by clicking here.

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  • caryna fernandez 5 years ago

    there is no way to do yoga and not feel better.
    thank you for thinking of me.

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