PLUMBER. ROAD RAGER. FAVOURITE SON. YOGI.
Name JOHNNY VASILJ
Hometown: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Current town: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Yoga practice style VINYASA AND YIN
What is your story? Well i grew up in rough area of Sydney and was the youngest of 4 boys… It was a little less scary for me cause my older brothers 'paved the path’ so to speak…. My Croatian parents migrated here in the 60’s from former Yugoslavia for a better life and a taste of freedom. Both my parents worked day and night, sacrificing their lives so that they could give us kids the life they didn’t have… We’re a very close loving family…. I grew up in a very masculine environment, then continued that world entering the construction industry as a plumber.. I also became a workaholic, i guess they rubbed off on me lol…. But Fuck….. Did i like to party!!!!! Work hard, Play hard, right!?! Boy did i play!!!! Weight training in the gym was my form of exercise, 5/6 days a week,,,,, I had a few knee reconstruction over the years and was told i was NEVER allowed to run again… It shattered me!!! You just gotta get on with it i guess.
Once i fell in love with yoga i made a bold decision to close down my plumbing company of 11 years, sell everything and i moved to india, one way ticket, to pursue my yoga journey….. 4 months into my trip i had a major motorbike accident and almost killed myself… Going 100km/hr on the highway and my back tire blew, flipping the bike and me superman style over the bars…. Completely shattered my shoulder blade ‘scapula’ fractured arm and grazed half my back on the road…. Big turning point in my life after going through an identity crisis because my arm didn’t work for 3 months, so i was left lost….. Who am i if i can’t do yoga or work!!!! I realised the identity i had with what i did, was who i thought i was…. And when that got taken from me, it struck me, that i am who’s left when there are no actions…..
What did you want to be growing up? A carpenter
How would you describe yourself? Big heart, and i wear it on my sleeve!
How would others describe you? Good friend, strong character, always laughing….
How would your mother describe you? MY FAVOURITE SON!!!! LOL
What do you most value in others? Why?
Honesty, especially when they’re honest about the really embarrassing shit you wouldn’t tell anyone hahaha It shows strong character and a vulnerability that i adore in a person,
When did you last cry? What was it over? Fuck. last night watching a Facebook clip lol It was that one where a runner was running a race a pulled his hamstring, and then his dad runs on the track breaking through security and finishes the race with his son under his arm,,,, That shit hits me right in the heart...
Is there anything you preach but don’t practice? NO!!!!!! hahaha Yesssss…. Im a sucker for eating shitty takeaway food as a treat!!! Only to regret it 5mins later….
We’ve all done a few things we aren’t proud of, care to share one? I smoked dirty dirty cigarettes for way too many years!!!!
Favourite meal? Explain… I love ALL food….. But nothing competes with mums Croatian cooking!!!!
Favourite drink? Explain…. It Changes, but at the moment its CHAI TEA
Favourite book? Explain…. 'The way of the superior man’ by David Deida…. It was given to me by friends at the turning point of my awareness and found it a great read an learnt awesome insight from a different perspective..
OK, lets talk about yoga,how’d you get into it? I moved to the famous Bondi Beach cause i needed a change and had the desire to live near the ocean! I remember being in a pub having a few beers with mates when i overheard the guy next to me talking about yoga… I started laughing, cause where i grew up, only a pansy would talk that jazz… I ended up chatting with the guy later on that night cause strangely enough i knew a dude in his group… He was soon freaken enthusiastic he changed my mind forever!! The very next day i took my first yoga class and have never looked back!!
What was the biggest challenge when you first started practicing? Stamina…. I was strong and pretty flexible, but felt like i was dying in hot vinyasa classes...
Why do you keep coming back? Because its shifted my state of mind, and now the practice isn’t about the body but rather maintaining the blissful state of mind..
What would make you skip practice? Partying Way too hard on the night before…. But don’t really do that these days.
Do you teach? If yes why? Whats it like? Yes, I teach because i find it so fulfilling…. its definitely food for the soul, i grew so much from the practice and absolutely love seeing peoples transformations take place infant of me... Id say my classes are strong, mindful and playful….
Other than yoga, what keeps you busy? Being an Aquarius I’m always coming up with crazy ideas and projects, i swear sometimes i think a thousand thoughts in 60 seconds lol…. Hanging out with friends is my favourite thing especially when its at the beach!!!
What advice would you give someone for stepping on the mat for the first time? Don’t Ever stop Practicing….
Tell us about a time when your yoga practice came into play off the mat? I pretty much have NO road rage anymore hahaha I use to get triggered so easily, now I’m like there you go mate you can go in front of me lol I notice it so bad when diving with others and they react like crazy people cause someone is doing something wrong, and I’m like, thank fuck I’m not like that anymore...
What challenges or issues have you experienced being a guy who teaches/practices yoga? NONE….. And thats a beautiful thing!!!!! It is the most welcoming environment for men yet you would assume its intimidating…. Its my home away from home...
What does the boys of yoga project mean to you? Its an amazing platform for men, to see men sharing their love of yoga and to eliminate all stereo types that i even once shared that modern yoga is just for women…. its not!!!!
If you could spend time hanging out with some other boys from the project who would it be? Yancy, Octavio and Jason!!!
Whats your favourite pose? Why? Can you cue us into it? What pose do you fucking hate? Why? My favourite pose is Handstand Scorpion- Vrschikasana B…. Cause it incorporates the holy trilogy- Strength, Balance and Flexibility…. And the pose i fucking hate is lotus…. Cause i don’t have the bone structure to do it lol But have serious envy on others that do lol Secretly love it hahaha
Yoga is ……….? The gateway to realise your higher state of consciousness
Your quote or mantra ………? You only have ONE Life…… Just one chance at this amazing life, so don’t go wasting it in a job you hate or hanging around people that don’t expand you and grow your state of consciousness….
Interviewed: April 17th, 2016
Photos by @michaeljameswong for BOYS OF YOGA LLC