ABOUT JOE’S SPIRITUAL AWAKENING AND HOW EKAM CAME TO BE…
Joe first found yoga as part of a DVD fitness program and really hated it. During the Fall Equinox of 2011, he took part in a 108 Sun Salutations class. That particular practice broke him down physically and was the beginning of a spiritual awakening for him. At that point in his life, he had not seen or spoken to his mom for over 18 months. They had had a falling out and were both incredibly stubborn. Joe now knows it was his ego that prevented him from reaching out to his mom during those months. After the 108 sun salutations, he remembers thinking “I haven’t talked to mom in a long time, that’s weird.” So, he simply picked up his phone and called her. She didn’t answer, so he drove to her house and then spent the evening reconnecting with her. His youngest Nathan was 5 at that time and Joe realized that Nathan’s grandmother had never seen him as a 4-year-old, he knew that was wrong and it made him sad. The following weekend, his mom came over to his house to see her grandchildren for the first time in nearly 2 years.
Driving home from his mom’s house late that evening, Joe clearly remembers having 2 distinct insights. First, he understood that yoga was way more than just moving around on a mat. Second, he knew he wanted to open a yoga studio so that others could have a chance to experience their own transformation.
With Joe’s greater awareness of the ego, he gave his ego a name – Jack, short for Jackass. He realized that for those few hours after the 108 Sun Salutations evening, he had no ego. There was no right/wrong, no you/me, no separateness, no fear; just love and oneness. There was nothing preventing him from expressing his true self, and his true self wanted to see his mom. “The battle with our ego is one of the toughest battles that we face in life.”
He soon learned that the real benefit of showing up on his mat was that he could fully show up off his mat. “It’s about showing up and being present; being present at work with my QSC team, being present at home with my family, being present with my friends and with the world around me. Yoga was helping me to be present. You are not living if you are not living NOW.”
In time, Joe began the process of opening a studio. The notion of oneness – oneness with himself and oneness with the world, became a powerful notion and influence in his life, and so the original name of the studio was As One. But, for legal trademark reasons, that name was not allowed for a yoga studio. Staying with the notion of One, Ekam was born. In Sanskrit, the word Ekam means One.
“It is my hope that Ekam becomes a place for you to find your yoga, whatever that might be. Whether it’s to become stronger, more flexible, or more spiritual, yoga can be whatever it is that you need it to be. In the end, I wish that each of you find peace through your practice of yoga. If Ekam is able to help you down that path, then its purpose is complete.”
P.S. Nowadays, each time that I get on the mat, I feel that Jack gets a little weaker and Joe gets a little stronger. Lol! I love you YOGA! And my mom loves you too!