Get to know one of yoga’s most captivating teachers. Constantly learning and immersed in his craft, Josh is the perfect mix of the old world and new world yoga movement. We were thrilled to catch him before he leaped off on his trip to Wanderlust New Zealand to chat with him about what it means to live consciously, the current yoga Instagram craze and what he hopes his students learn from their time with him.
Josh. can you tell us a little about your past and the path that has led you to what you are doing today?
I used to be an actor. There is a pretty funny show reel of me out there! I also used to run events. I did all sorts of things. Crazy actors life. The path that has led me here has been the journey of trying to fix my body. I used to have terrible knee pain. I wasn’t able to stand for more than 20 minutes at a time. So I took up yoga seriously and it started to open my hips and suddenly my knee pain disappeared. That was just the beginning.
We really feel you are part of a revolution changing people’s (especially men’s) view on Yoga. Have you always been confident in sharing your practice?
Not really, I spent about 6 years just practicing and not teaching. Occasionally I would have a teacher or student asking my after a public class how I managed to get into certain poses and I would comfortably share. But I never overtly did.
Have you always been conscious of your own health and wellbeing?
No, definitely not. I used to be heavily into drugs and alcohol. When I first moved to LA I was surrounded by healthy people in the acting industry. Then I slowly moved into the yoga scene and everyone was doing it. You were uncool if you drank or did drugs. So I tried it out, also tried being vegetarian and I simply felt great. It was a bit more complicated and took a little longer than that, but that’s the simple version of the story.
What’s your “must do” daily healthy habit
Mental – Meditate. Absolutely non-negotiable. 20 minutes twice a day. I use the 1Giant Mind app. It’s amazing and it’s free.
Physical – I will have a smoothie every day. Generally green. Lot’s of greens! Also yoga practice. But teaching so much sometimes I don’t get a chance. So meditation is the key for me.
What gets you out of a bad mood?
Meditating or playing guitar
Living consciously is very much starting to ‘have its moment’. What do you believe is the most important change people should make if they want to be kinder to their bodies?
Switching mainly to whole foods. Anything that is fresh. Not processed or chemical. I’m not saying you can’t eat that stuff occasionally but not on the regular. Also dropping the booze. But most people I know only really do that once they develop a serious meditation practice.
Your thoughts on the rise of ‘Instagram Yoga.’ Do you think there any negative aspects?
This is an interesting discussion that I will elaborate on in an article I am about to write. But briefly, I don’t really think there is anything “negative” about it. It’s just a platform for people to express themselves. It’s up to us how we choose to interpret the medium. It has definitely changed modern yoga. Some people would argue that because of Instagram yoga is viewed more as a gymnastic sport or calisthenic performance rather than a deeply spiritual practice to connect with the true self. Ultimately we can choose to view it for what it is or we can blow it out of proportion.
What feelings and experiences do you want students to gain from their time with you?
A deeper connection to a higher purpose. An intimate connection to themselves and each other. An experience that creates a feeling of coming home to themselves. My students know that they don’t get any B.S in my classes. I’ll call it how it is and not allow them to breeze through class without really working and pushing they’re own boundaries and limits.
Who has been your greatest teacher so far?
This question for me always changes. I have a few great teachers for different parts of my practices. At the moment, I have been learning the ancient Vedic tradition of meditation from my good friend and mentor Jonni Pollard. He is an incredibly generous man with amazing wisdom and knowledge. I am fortunate enough to have him in my life on a regular basis to learn and grow with.
When chasing your acting passion in LA you unexpectedly stumbled across Yoga. What advice would you give to those searching for their ‘calling’?
a) No matter what anyone says follow your gut. Even if EVERYONE around you is telling you the opposite… and b) Hang around people who encourage and support what you want to They are always around you just have to find them.
What song is a must have in every Yoga playlist?
Ahhh this is a mix for me. Here are a few of my favourites…
Closing Prayers – Bhagavad Das Devi Prayer Mc Yogi – Shanti Jane Winther – Om Mani Padme Hum
Your dream location to practice your yoga…
Costa Rica, Bali, Mexico. Any hardwood floor that overlooks and is in nature.
Once piece of advice you would you give to your 16 year-old-self?
Get off the drugs, don’t take things too seriously and get meditating!
Lastly. Your favourite mantra?
I have 2….My favourite to chant after class Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu “May all beings everywhere be happy and free.” My favourite to chant during Kirtan Jai Sita Rum Jai Jai Hanuman Victory to Sita and Ram, Victory to Hanuman Victory over the darkness of suffering.