March 30, 2017

CONTRIBUTOR, MANTAS ZVINAS: Originally hailing from the sunny beaches of Southern California, Mantas is a 10-year open water lifeguard veteran & has travelled the world as a surf instructor.

Mantas is most passionate about creating habits in people that lead to longer, healthier, and more positive lives. His philosophy is that fitness is the best environment for creating a community, its very personal, its very encouraging, and its very healthy. Ultimately Mantas will get you to break a sweat and have fun doing it.

Mantas is the founder of SurfYogaBeer a fitness adventure company that hosts fitness classes and events in New York City and San Diego, but mainly takes groups of amazing likeminded people to magical places around the world. 

With an extensive yoga background, he has taken his fitness teachings to SoulCycle where his classes create a balance of ‘party of the year’, ‘personal coaching`’  and ‘what day is it and where am I?’ Book the ride & see for yourself!

Senior SoulCycle Instructor, (and all-round inspirational human), Mantas Zvinas with SW, in NYC.

Senior SoulCycle Instructor, (and all-round inspirational human), Mantas Zvinas with SW, in NYC.

I was recently reminded of a last-minute road trip I took with some friends, a year or two after high school in California.

We were off to surprise a friend at his college. Smart phones were not around just yet, and we didn’t have GPS. The only map we had, had blown out the window a few hours into the trip… We could have easily stressed out about not being about to get from Point A to point B directly and quickly, but instead (and by default), the trip quickly became all about off-course pit stops, music sessions at diners, hard right turns on the dime to explore scenic central Californian hills, some challenges that required some creative problem solving, and some wrongs turns. But in doing so, memories of a true road trip were made; one that goes left, right, and backwards, but eventually, (and in the most interesting way) reaches the final destination. The things we saw, learnt and experienced along the way made for many laughs and conversations when we finally reached our destination.

I have since applied this to how I not only do business, but also live life. There is no road map, so let go of what’s ‘supposed’ to be, and approach it with open eyes & an open mind, because getting from Point A to Point B is a much richer journey if you experience all of the things life throws in your direction along the way.

“There is no road map, so let go of what’s ‘supposed’ to be, and approach it with open eyes & an open mind”
— Mantas Zvinas


I’d suggest letting go of having a time frame.  

When he's not instructing on the bike in NYC, Manta leads Surf + Yoga retreats to remote destinations. Pictured far above in a weekend day trip to New York's Rockaway beach, and above, teaching SW to surf in Costa Rica. 

When he's not instructing on the bike in NYC, Manta leads Surf + Yoga retreats to remote destinations. Pictured far above in a weekend day trip to New York's Rockaway beach, and above, teaching SW to surf in Costa Rica. 

We constantly analyse decisions, create pros and cons lists in our minds, and replay past events over and over like broken records in our head. This all adds up to a worry that is so easily avoided, by focusing on the ‘now’ instead.

Just like a first kiss, the more you think (or obsess!) about something you want, the harder it becomes to execute. The anticipation of success or failure is one of the biggest drawbacks in execution. Once there is a slight chance of failure; we begin to second-guess ourselves, and before we know it, we’ve lost the initial momentum that brought us to that point.

I have such a story. In true form, I waited until the last day of 7th grade to make my big move. Melanie had my 11-year-old heart, and in the last week leading up to summer break, my anticipation (and overly enthusiastic analysis) of the situation had escalated to dangerous levels, and it was more than any 7th grader could handle! My whole week went by in a blur. My time was spent not learning American History, algebra, or Shakespeare, but instead making an extensive list of pros and cons on how this could go down.

Trust the gut. If you don’t know how, then start practising! Your first instinct is your unconscious mind aka your gut. Personally, I don’t believe a ‘perfect time’ for something exists, but even if it does, we’re usually so focused on what could go wrong, that we miss the opportunity anyway!

In other words, sometimes, the ‘Don’t Think, Just Do’ action is the most appropriate, especially if it’s something that has been rolling around non-stop in your mind.

We learn to trust intuition, and as we get older, we build an arsenal in our mind and bodies; a memory of experiences that we use to make decisions. All the things that we do, see, feel, hear and experience don’t always hit our conscious mind but do still register somewhere deep in the mind. In other words, there’s a good reason you feel a certain way about something – trust it.

“It is not about completing the’s actually about starting – it’s about showing up.”
— Mantas Zvinas

So. The final bell rang and standing between me, and 10 weeks of summer freedom, was the prison of anxiety I had created for myself in over-thinking this ‘first kiss’ situation. I did what any self-respecting 11-year-old 7th grader would do; I walked straight up to Melanie, and without saying so much of a spoken word, kissed her on the lips, right then and there. I had worked myself up into such a state by over-thinking it, I didn’t know what to say, so just turned on my heel & jumped on the bus for the hour-long ride home. I was on cloud nine – I FINALLY DID IT! I was too scared of rejection to follow up with her, so for the 10 weeks before school started again, Melanie didn’t hear from me. She probably wondered where I disappeared to all summer, and it wasn’t until the end of 8th grade that I actually mustered up the courage to ask her out, & we ended up dating for two weeks (this is the equivalent of 20 years middle school terms!) AND getting named cutest couple in the yearbook! Moral of the story is; I over thought it, wasted a heap of time doing so and invited much-unneeded anxiety into my world in the process.

MANTAS + MELANIE (2001),by the end of Grade 8, Mantas & Melanie where named 'Cutest Couple' in the school Yearbook. [Oh! Our Hearts!!! - ED] Image Credit: Mantas' Mum, Reda. 

MANTAS + MELANIE (2001),by the end of Grade 8, Mantas & Melanie where named 'Cutest Couple' in the school Yearbook. [Oh! Our Hearts!!! - ED]

Image Credit: Mantas' Mum, Reda. 


The best thing about life, no matter what happens, physically, mentally, emotionally or financially there will always be another opportunity. It might not be the exact same one, but there will ALWAYS be another one.

Seems like the discourse on inspirational Instagram is always saying YES to every opportunity, which I believe misses the point of following your intuition.

I don’t think you always need to say yes to every opportunity. Do not be afraid to say no to something that doesn’t feel right, and do not feel pressured to take every opportunity.

There are times when we need to trust our gut and not blindly say yes. This is not about waiting for another opportunity, this is about listening to the feeling in your gut and following it!


Once we begin to think, to anticipate, and to create the pros and cons lists, we begin to fear something, and 9 times out of 10, it’s failure.

When I teach my SoulCycle classes, I like to remind people it is not about completing the task or getting to the destination, it is not even about being able to get to the end. It’s actually about starting – it’s about showing up.

“I’d suggest letting go of having a time frame.”
— Mantas Zvinas

Maybe I won’t be the best writer in the world… doesn’t mean I won’t write and share my words.

Maybe I won’t be a movie star… doesn’t mean I won’t follow my dream of acting.

Maybe I won’t get into that university… doesn’t mean I won’t apply.

And maybe my business won’t change the world…but it doesn’t mean I won’t try! There are a lot of things I can’t do or become, but that won’t stop me from giving it my all. I’m here regardless of the result, I’m here for the journey.



Speak with Mantas on Instagram; @MantasZvinas


8 STEPS TO A GOOD LIFE by Mantas Zvinas

Strengthen the foundation of your life and find balance even when things get shaky. We have created a philosophy at SYB that is meant to give you purpose and direction – we share it on every adventure, every day trip, every class we teach and, we share it here.


What makes you tick? Take note of what inspires and drives you on a daily basis. You have to want change to make change: enthusiasm is more easily and naturally bred when you truly love something. Making a habit of eating chocolate takes less effort than making a habit of eating kale—the habit is created with enthusiasm and fun. Finding and tapping into your passion means you stay open and mindful of your experiences in life, especially as you try new things.


Relate and Identify—don't compare. To build a community we must break walls down, not put them up. Identify barriers and hurdles, and then think about how to remove them one at a time. Listen, introduce and open yourself up. You miss 100% of the shots you don't take! There are more people out there than you can ever meet—make it count with the ones you do.

3. LET GO.

Detach from the things you own. Let go of responsibilities (at least for the adventure you're on). Be fearless about letting go of judgement, image, anger. Be brave enough to look in the mirror, facing and admitting your own wrongdoings or shitty behavior. And then, be kind enough to yourself to accept the past as it was, forgive and move forward.


Once you’ve forgiven yourself, ask for forgiveness from others. Is there anyone you have hurt recently? Saying “sorry” is one of the most difficult things to do, but it is also one of the most rewarding—reach from a place of sincerity, and just do it. Forgiveness frees.


Believe that energy flows where attention goes. What do you want? Ask for it. Not just from your inner self, but in every way you can think of, up to the highest power you believe in. What you seek is seeking you—your desires are divinely inspired. The belief in something is what makes it real.


Thinking a nice thought about someone and not telling them is like buying a gift and not giving it. Who has positively affected your life lately? Maybe it’s the stranger who smiled at you during your manic morning commute, the family member who sent you a thoughtful note just because, or the friend who lent you a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen when you needed it most. Create a list of people you can give more love to, and shine your light on them to show gratitude for their existence and their impact on your life. Making other people feel happy will make you happy. Good feelings given away will return to you in spades.


Life moves by pretty quickly—if you don't stop and take a look around once in a while, you might just miss it. Pause whenever possible and take in the moment. Smell the flowers on the walk. Pet that fluffy dog. Say “hi” to the newspaper guy on the corner you normally jet past. Life is not the destination, but the journey. 


Life is on repeat. Continue finding the road of passion, overcoming obstacles, releasing dead weight, giving attention to what's important, shining your light and love on others, stopping to understand the journey is long and at the end is only with yourself—and most of all, introducing yourself to another living, breathing soul who might just be on your wave! Motivation is what gets you started; habit is what keeps you going. It’s one thing to catch a wave, it’s another thing to ride it.

Mantas Zvinas is the founding caveman of SYB and a senior SoulCycle instructor. He strictly believes in practicing what he preaches, as any good teacher should. 

Living the Sweet Life: SurfYogaBeer by Mantas Zvinas


By Mantas Zvinas, Founder

August 9, 2015

SurfYogaBeer according to founder, Mantas Zvinas

My idea of fitness is it should be fun! Teaching at SoulCycle, I have learned that to keep a habit, you have to enjoy what you do. If it isn’t fun, chances are it isn’t going to last long in a daily routine. SurfYogaBeer is about nourishing a lifestyle that is both fitness and fun, and SurfYogaBeer stands for balance. Surf, despite its reputation, is very intense and could be seen as a lifestyle that is very tunnel vision towards one goal. Yoga stands for nourishment and self-care for the body and mind. And beer is the little devil on the shoulder saying 'enjoy life a little'! These are the pillars that we follow — all for a little balance in life.

At an SYB Retreat, we don’t count calories nor do we worry too much about data, instead it's about building habits like consistently eating healthy, exercising in a fun and sustainable way, and balancing life so that you don’t lean towards any one of the pillars too much. I think it is more important to learn how to overcome obstacles and fear, than it is to burn a few hundred calories. And that’s what we strive to do — we get people who are scared of the water surfing by the end of the trip.

We had our first retreat in November last year with a group of twelve strangers in a house in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. For six days, everyone participated; no observers, no spectators, only players on the field. When everyone is on the playing field the game gets fun, and our retreat became a family of laughter, love, and sweat. We quickly did another retreat double the size, and again it was an atmosphere of participants in a supported environment, where failure is not only accepted but encouraged. It became a place to do the things that scared you the most, with 20 other people supporting each other along the way.

You can find us in New York City and San Diego, where we have everything from weekend surf trips, to partnered run + yoga events with local fitness studios and companies. We are a growing community of likeminded “I want to sweat and then have a drink” people. And I believe this isn’t a new thing either — Jack Kerouac wrote in Dharma Bums about yogis in the 1950s who practiced Zen yoga and mindfulness, then had a few bottles of wine. We are not so different.

Our next local East Coast event will be with Exhale at the Gansevoort Meatpacking in New York City, and on the West Coast, we will have a run down Sunset Cliffs in San Diego with Lululemon.

The next SYB retreat is going to be in Oahu, Hawaii in September. We will do everything you would want to do if you went alone, but didn’t have the friends or guts to try. We will stand-up paddle to an island, take a five-hour hike to a secret location led by our local guide, and go shark cage diving — all on top of beach workouts in the mornings, followed by vegan protein smoothies and surf sessions, that will leave you pooped and recovering with a book in the Jacuzzi at our beachfront North Shore house.

Even just thinking about this gets me smiling, and this is why my business partner Nathan Reed and I started SurfYogaBeer — to bring more smiles to the world.

8 SYB Commandments by Mantas Zvinas

If you like summing up guidelines for life, here are 8 Commandments that we try to follow at SurfYogaBeer to adhere to for a more riveting life. 


1. Detox2Retox

This philosophy is in other words compared to Yin-Yang and describes how opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent. Work Hard, Play Hard...

2. Don't Think / Just Do

Like your first kiss, sometimes its best not to think about it and go for it. The longer you think about something, the more you will miss your opportunity. 

3. Be a Participant Not an Observer

Our lives are just a set of experiences that cannot be matched by reading a book, watching a movie, or social media stalking. Be a player on the field, experience it fully and not on someone else's Instagram. 

4. Be Grateful 

Happy people are not grateful because they are happy, they are happy because they are grateful.

5. Be Badass

Feel confident in what you do, it will translate to a positive outcomes.

6. "I. Look. Good." Remind Yourself Once a Day

Don't just wait for compliments, give them to yourself! 

7. Instincts not Thoughts 

As much as our minds can remember, our bodies remember far past our own lives. Intuition, gut feeling or instincts, whatever you call it, it remembers from generations way back, there is a reason you do things you do, trust them a little more than something you read on a blog... opps. 

8. Just the Tip

That could be all you need to really get interested, so just try it out.

Mantas Zvinas is an SYB Founding Caveman. He works as an inspirational fitness instructor in New York City.