Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Bikram Yoga Master

Published:Monday | May 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM
As a child, Encinia faced a number of health and physical challenges.
Encinia is a five-time Yoga Asana champion.
Joseph Encinia discovered yoga when he was 19 years old.

As a child Joseph Encinia faced a number of health and physical challenges including juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, major knee surgery and a heart attack at age 13. When he was 1 9 years old, Encinia started practising yoga in an effort to regain control of his health.

"I discovered yoga at a time in my life when I was looking to overcome my previous medical conditions," he told Flair. "I was trying activities such as weight lifting and running before I found Bikram Yoga in Dallas Texas 10 years ago," he revealed.

When he discovered Bikram he found more than just a physical practise or a workout. Bikram yoga had a profound transformative impact on him. He no longer suffered from constant pain, he lost 50 pounds, and developed lean muscle mass; found a peace of mind he never knew existed, and most importantly, found the ability to transcend physical, mental and emotional limitations within himself.

"Bikram yoga is my daily meditation," says Encinia. "I enter the yoga room daily and give thanks for the life it has given me. I practise and use the benefits as my medicine. It keeps me together."

He is now a five time Yoga Asana champion. The Asana Competition is an exhibitive way of demonstrating the power and grace of a Yogi with a committed Hatha Yoga practise. Asana Championship are judged and won by holding the principles and techniques of a series of posture in stillness while maintaining proper breathing.

However, Encinia was eager to note that Yoga competitions are never one person versus another - physically or mentally - it shows one true self versus their ego in the demonstration they give by maintaining stillness and control.

Encinia is also the director of the United States Yoga Federation for the past three years. The federation is a non-profit organisation formed for the purpose of developing and promoting Yoga Asana (yoga postures) as a sport. "USA Yoga believes that the sport of Yoga Asana will inspire many of these practitioners to improve their practises, and encourage many newcomers to take up the practise of yoga and the sport of Yoga Asana," he explained. Prior to this he was a champion of the sport for four years and competed for seven.

Encinia now dedicates his work to inspire others to practise yoga, and to bring yoga into their lives through the demonstration of the sport. His work includes his Yoga Youth Movement, a non-profit he founded, which is dedicated to inspire youth yogis through the practise to be strong future leaders who are confident, determined and focused on creating a world with global peace through yoga.

At the invitation of Bikram Yoga Jamaica, Encinia will visit Jamaica for the first time to conduct a Bikram Yoga Beginners class on Friday, May 29 and a workshop on Saturday, May 30. "Bikram's yoga is a beginners' class designed for anyone, any age, any weight, and with any condition. Although the poses and heat may be challenging, the therapeutic benefits greatly outweigh the effort you have to put in," he outlines.

For those who maybe apprehensive about Bikram Yoga practise, Encinia explains that the heat is one of most healing aspects of it." Indigenous cultures have used sweat lodges for purification, healing and for spiritual quest for centuries. The heat opens your blood vessels which increases circulation, makes your muscles more flexible and gives you a great detox."