Why I Love Yoga and the Creation of Ekam
Joe Pham, Founder Ekam Yoga
I first found yoga as part of a DVD fitness program. I really hated it. During the Fall Equinox of 2011, I took part in a 108 Sun Salutations class. That particular practice broke me down physically and began to open me up spiritually. At that point in my life, I had not seen or spoken to my mom for over 18 months. We had a falling out and we are both incredibly stubborn. What I now know as my ego prevented me from reaching out to my mom all of those months, even though she lived just miles away. After the 108 sun salutations, I remember thinking “I haven’t talked to my mom in a long time, that’s weird.” So I simply picked up my phone and called her. She didn’t answer, so I drove to her house. I spent the evening reconnecting with her. My youngest Nathan was 5 at that time and I realized that his grandmother never saw him as a 4 year old, which was wrong and made me sad. The following weekend, my mom came over to my house to see her grandchildren for the first time in nearly 2 years.
Driving home from my mom’s house late that evening, I had two distinct insights. First, this yoga thing was way more than moving around on a mat. Second, that I wanted to open a yoga studio one day, so that others could have a chance to experience their own transformation.
With greater awareness of the ego, I gave my ego a name – Jack, short for Jack-ass. I now realize that for those few hours that evening after the 108 Sun Salutations, I had no ego. There was no right/wrong, no you/me, no separateness, no fear; just love and oneness. Nothing was preventing me from expressing my true self, and my true self wanted to see my mom. The battle with our ego is one of the toughest battles we face in life.
I soon learned that the real benefit of showing up on my mat was that I could fully show up off my 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, present with the world around me. Yoga was helping me to be present. You are not living if you are not living NOW.
In time, I began the process of opening a studio. The notion of oneness – oneness with myself and oneness with the world – became a powerful notion and influence in my life, and so the original name of the studio was As One. For legal trademark reasons, that name is 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 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!