Joe's Letter on why he aspires to perfect the
Lotus pose

Dear Michal,

Oh, that's pretty easy - my ambition is directly related to the feeling I get when I'm in the pose. (Now I'm going to open up here a little!) I've commented to myself "Wow! Next to sex, this is IT" And it doesn't even require a present and cooperative partner, just a cooperative right knee - in my case!

I believe I'm dialing, tuning in the flow of prana (life force), unwinding kundalini (awakening latent creative power) - or something - when I'm in that pose. Truly, I'm waiting to just levitate one day; I can pretty well understand why full lotus would be THE pose that someone would use to levitate. If not in actuality, then certainly seemingly... as perceived internally. I fly, kinda, when I'm in it and love it a lot!

My full lotus aspirations are a culmination of a few experiences...along the path of enlightenment I'm so fortunate to have directed myself along. One, getting to "clean and sober" is a necessity for the seeking of spiritual solutions to life's trial and tribulations. Another is meditation which I learned how to use effectively during my divorce back in Massachusetts about 10 or so years ago.

Another was the training I took from the folks who follow Babaji (an ascended Yogi master), where I definitely got something clearly from the practice of directing the energy from the base of the spine to the top of the head and back down again, in that kind of circular flow.

Another was the feeling I got during classes I took from my first Yoga teacher, Vanda, who spoke of "grounding your sitting bones to the floor". At some point, I thought "I know exactly how she feels, sensation wise; I bet my experience with this grounding is precisely the same as her experience" though I never did get a chance to share the idea with her. The feeling of connectedness - not to her, mind you - but to something bigger, something fantastic, that was clearly the same.

One of the biggest disappointments in my recent experience was the discontinuation of her classes. While I could understand her needs to move on from teaching yoga as a vocation, I could not understand that the class - the sangha (united assembly) if you will - just all drifted apart. In a way, part of me wanted to scream - "aren't you all getting the same feeling from this as I am!?" I guess not, or not enough of it.

Determined to press onward, with Gretta's help we found you! You and your training have done two things for me and my practice (only two? ;') you inspired me to become more devoted to it (through the example of your own devotion) and you opened a door to me being able to get to a next level, by introducing me to the breath of fire practice. I'm certain you know intimately the feeling you get with grounded sit-bones, pushing prana or kundalini up from that 'ol root chakra (energy center) towards the top of your head, by using the breath.

Simply put, I've never had this available to me before. I've always wanted something that could bring me to a feeling of wholeness and peace and connectedness in my life - that was in me, for me and through me. I spose I could have practiced Christianity to that point, but my early childhood training in that just never took. Prior to attaining any measure of sobriety, "sex, drugs and rock 'n roll" did get me toward glimpses of wholeness and peace and connectedness, but these experiences, though wonderful at times, were transient and so dependent on outside factors. Now I have something that's only dependent on an inside factor, how much my thinking mind is blotting out my heart or something. I can get to it whenever I want, if I really want to embrace it - and have the time.

Because it takes a while for me to get into it. About 1/2 hour, on a good day. I've got to do a bunch of stuff to get myself "rubberized" as I call it and within an hour afterward it all snaps back - so it's not like I can just hop into a quick full lotus for 100 breaths any time of day. There's been so many times I wanted to show you, to say "Thank-You!" in a way, but whatever the sequence was that day, wasn't going to let me in, or some other reason. I really do do a lot to precisely target that pose!

In yoga, I have found a spiritual practice that's agreeable to my temperament. I'm both visceral and have always been sorta a space-shot, so when something gives me a profound energetic-moving feeling in the body and takes me to a peaceful and happy place - I'm sold. If I can practice and perfect it so that I can reap these benefits - without the other aspects of it killing me (ouch!) - I'm devoted. And it seems just the other day I got a glimpse of the "this must be what it's like to be flexible as a 20 year old girl" ease with it. Alas, it was just a glimpse, but a tremendously motivating one! As in, I might be able to do this with just the sensation of floating!

I'm finding recently a couple of interesting things with my practice. One, is that I want to spend some time doing some strength moves that are outside of what I've been doing for a while now. But there's a tremendous gravitation toward doing the moves which lead me to full lotus - it's almost like I love it so much and don't want to put it down - even for a day. I tell myself "I should back off for today, give that 'ol right knee a rest" but I instead figure out a way - by being more patient gentle and taking longer to get it, then not staying as long. Gosh I wish both my legs were the same as my left one!

Another is that I devote an hour in the morning to yoga, something like get up at 5:30, shower till 6:00, Yoga till 7:00. If I get up to the alarm that is - I'm disappointed if I miss it. Anyway, I find I go past right 7:00 easily and lose the urgency for things like "getting myself out the door". At times I go in to my practice, and I just don't want to come back out.

Lately Thomas (Joe's little boy) comes in the room and I give him hugs, say good morning - then it's time for breakfast and back to the real world. He remarked that I was so warm the other morning, being as "rubberized" as I was when he came in. A space heater, a towel on a thick wool carpet and the breath of fire - that'll do that to ya!

(Joe concludes his letter) Hope it wasn't too much like "opening the floodgates"; I guess I can be a prolific writer when the spirit moves me. You asked me a very important question and I feel so fortunate to be able to express my answer to you in this way. This was good for me to write!

Yes, Smiles!