Joeseph (Joe) Carey has been a member of the #HotTribe since March 2015. His polite and friendly decorum makes him a magnet at the studio. He is the first to offer a kind “Hello,” a sincere “How are you?” or simply a reassuring smile.
We agreed to meet at the studio on Saturday morning for his interview. He said, “I’ll be there! I’m making a stop at Starbucks prior to coming. Would you like anything?” I paused in reluctance and he said, “Don’t be bashful.” I answered, “Unsweetened green tea please.” So there we were, sitting around the table in the lobby at Melt, sipping hot Starbucks beverages and chatting about yoga. This combination of Starbucks and yoga set a relaxing mood. After a little small talk, we began the interview.
Monea: How did you hear about Melt?
Joe: It was an internet search. I searched “Wilkes Barre yoga” and Melt popped up first. I watched the video on the homepage and liked what I saw. The next day, I stopped by the studio for info. The next day, March 12 I started practicing. It happened fast.
Monea: What was the first class you attended at Melt?
Joe: It was a Thursday night, 60 minute Bikram class with Mindy.
Monea: After your first class, what made you decide to keep coming back?
Joe: I came back to find out what just happened to me (he laughs). It was like a near death experience (more laughter). The struggle is real is an understatement. I felt totally overwhelmed by it. It was a disaster! I came 3 months short of my 58 birthday. I lifted weights my whole life and I’ve always been short so it was a not a good body to start yoga but I came back for the heat, the environment, and stretching. I wanted to understand the full potential of the individual poses and the collective practice. I wanted to understand the full potential of what the practice had to offer.
Monea: How has yoga changed your life? Describe what it used to be like, what happened, and what it is like now.
Joe: Yoga has changed my life by becoming an integral part of my life. The practice is just as much of my life as sleeping, eating, and working. I’ve been practicing 8 months now and just completed 129 days of consecutive practice. Circumstances beyond my control prevented 130 (chuckle). However, the feeling I get from practicing is exhilarating. The yoga practice breeds optimism and is a positive part of my day. It’s something I look forward to for that hour or two that is all good. It’s never bad, always a positive experience. Having something like that to look forward to is new in my life. I feel very fortunate to have discovered Hot Yoga, particularly Melt.
Monea: At Melt, we believe, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” What pose has challenged and changed you the most, physically, emotionally, and spiritually?
Joe: Well, I can’t say there is one particular pose. The entire practice has changed me. The struggle is real, the challenge is real, the benefits are real. I look at it from the standpoint of what the practice represents in terms of how the flow, in Bikram and Vinyasa, is structured to benefit the body. Physically I’ve toned up and I’ve slimmed down. I’ve had people that I know who have seen me over the last 8 months describe me as (their word not mine) as transformed. Both teachers and associates at work have used the word transformed. Mentally and emotionally, yoga has made me focused more on my thoughts. The practice itself—the focus and concentration—have a residual effect on your mind and the way you perceive your day-to-day life. I am working towards the full benefit of the poses individually and the practice collectively in uniting the mind, body, and spirit. I’m developing a further understanding of the meaning of life and a greater relationship with the Divine. Yoga has changed my general outlook on life.
Monea: If someone was intimated by yoga, or hot yoga namely, what would you tell them to encourage them to give it a try?
Joe: If I can do it you can do it. It’s exhilarating. The sweat is seductive and intoxicating. It’s the power of focusing on the mind, body, and spirit in unison that is liberating and fulfilling. There’s no judgement. You practice at your own pace. The teachers are great, very supportive, and very knowledgeable. The introductory offer of 30 days of yoga for $30 is more than reasonable.
Monea: Do you think that within the first 30 days people can begin to feel the benefit of yoga?
Joe: Yes! You can definitely feel the benefit because there’s progress every day to some degree. Just coming is progress. In the video, Kathy Berry talks about just showing up on your mat. It rings, as evidenced by my 129 consecutive days of practice. Just coming is an accomplishment.
Monea: What do you like most about being a part of the Melt Hot Yoga community?
I’m kind of a loner by nature so I like seeing people smiling, and saying hello to people, who by deciding to practice Hot Yoga, have a shared passion for what the practice has to offer in their lives. Humans being are social creatures by nature so it’s nice to have a group of people that you can relate to….
Monea: A group of people to relate to…And we call that our tribe (laughter).