October 16

Joseph Encinia And Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Joseph Encinia speaks to Clint Paddison about treating juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis naturally and getting off all of his drugs. Joseph shares how he went from sick and bedridden to becoming the International Yoga Champion in 2011. A wonderful and inspirational story that should remind us all that exercise is a major component of the healing path from inflammatory arthritis.

Joseph Encinia Paddison Podcast

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This podcast does not constitute medical advice. All changes surrounding medications, diet, and exercise should be made in consultation with a professional who can assist your unique health circumstances.

Clint: Good day, everyone. We have a fabulous guest today. It’s very exciting to welcome to this episode Joseph Encinia. He is a Bikram Yoga Champion, 2011 International Yoga Champion. He’s got a wonderful story to tell about how he recovered from, not just juvenile rheumatoid arthritis but also a heart attack at a young age. So, Joseph, thank you very much for joining us today.

Joseph: Well, thank you, Clint. I appreciate it.

Clint: We’re really, really happy to have you on this episode. You actually got a bit of a fan base in our online community forum. A few of the ladies think you’re quite the treat on the eyes.

Joseph: That’s exciting.

Clint: And they really wanted me to chat, so I actually reached out to you because of requests from some of my members. So I wanted to first of all ask you what were you up to today? Give us a typical day of what you’re up to today and what were you doing before our call?

Joseph: Okay. Well, I guess a typical day for me, I’m a yoga teacher. I teach Bikram Yoga, so today I got up. I live in Manhattan and had a nice breakfast and did a morning class at 11:30 a.m. And then yeah, I rode my bike around the city, took care of some business and taught a class at 4 p.m., and then came home, and I was cutting vegetables right before this interview started. So pretty much my typical day, I’m running around doing yoga and teaching yoga.

Clint: And you do that all around the world, don’t you? You’ve traveled the world teaching, instructing, running seminars and classes?

Joseph: Yeah. I’ve been real fortunate. I’ve done workshops for about the last four years. And in that time, I’ve probably gone to couple dozen countries, and I’ve really just met amazing yogis and been involved in great yoga communities all around the world. And that’s really exciting. That’s one thing I love about being a yoga teacher.

Clint: Well, I know my wife has done some yoga teacher training and has taught some yoga. She’s not a Bikram teacher, but she certainly has done a lot of Bikram in the past, and she got me into Bikram Yoga initially when I was in such a bad way with my rheumatoid arthritis. And all of her friends, her best friends, they’re all through yoga. The connections that you make through yoga are phenomenal.

There’s a real appreciation of the community feel and the friendships that you can make that you don’t really see in work environments. Certainly not in the family. There can be more conflicts there. I think it’s really incredible, that yoga spirit that bonds people together.

Joseph: Yeah. It’s amazing, especially…what I find in the Bikram Yoga community, there’s just such a strong connection because wherever you go in the world, you kind of know what you’re going to expect when you walk into a class, into a studio. It’s always the same series, and so the connection is just, it’s amazing. I like when I go to other countries and take classes in other languages, and I’m still able to follow it because even though it’s in another language, it’s always the same series.

Clint: Yeah. And also, I think there’s such a mutual respect for people doing Bikram. If I meet someone and we’re at a party or just out and about and someone tells me they do yoga, it’s like, “Oh okay,” and I’m not impressed at that point. Then they say they do Bikram. Well, everything changes because when someone tells me they’re a Bikram student, what that tells me is they’re not doing yoga just for the tight pants and the nice postures and the pretty people in the room. They’re doing it because they either have to or they’re determined to overcome some kind of physical condition, or they’re just setting the highest possible standard in life.

Joseph: That’s so true. That’s what I love about this discipline of yoga, is that it’s not a leisure yoga practice. You can’t really just go there for relaxation and peace. It really pushes you so hard, so far, and that’s where the real healing benefit is. And for me, having juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and healing that with the Bikram Yoga, it was always a constant struggle. And so, yeah, likewise when you meet people, you just give them this huge amount of respect because you know what they go through for 90 minutes every day or if they choose to do it daily.

Clint: So, given that we’ve got limited time, I know you’re making your wife dinner and we want to respect your precious time.

Joseph: [inaudible 00:05:04].

Clint: Can you really…

Joseph: Everything has to be on schedule here.

Clint: Yeah, that’s right, that’s right. Can you tell us about the difficult times when you were young. We’ve got several people in our online forum who have children with JRA or JIA, depending on how people like to refer to it these days. It’s very difficult for parents with kids with this condition. So tell us from your perspective, with this growing up, how did it affect your life? How did it affect your interaction with other kids and everything?

Joseph: Yeah, well, I was diagnosed with JRA when I was eight years old, but always before that, there was…I had a lot of joint problems. I was in and out of physical therapy. I’m a twin, and so I was born with a little bit of my foot turned in, and I think that was the beginning of my arthritis. I was in and out of physical therapy from a very young age to correct the alignment of my feet and hips.

And when I was about eight years old, just all the time my knees were swelling to the size of a grapefruit. It was just huge. I would go outside and play. I have a twin brother, so we were very active, running around, chasing each other and do what boys do. But at the end of the day, my knees would swell tremendously. And after some time, my parents got real concerned. We went to go see a rheumatologist. I was diagnosed with JRA at eight, and right away put into a lot of treatment, a lot of medication, anti-inflammatories, steroids, painkillers, and managed that. That’s how I managed it until I found the yoga. [inaudible 00:06:44]

Clint: Okay. How old were you when you started practicing yoga, and what drugs were you on if you remember? Do you remember if you were put on any of the disease-modifying drugs like methotrexate or…

Joseph: Well, it’s been over 10 years, so it’s hard to remember. I was a teenager, and I was just pretty much following whatever the doctors told me to do, whatever my mother…she really was looking out for my best interest, so whatever the doctor said that would make me feel better, I took it. And I gained a tremendous amount of weight when I was younger because of the arthritis. I was also not really allowed or advised not to be active and play sports because it would cause my joints to swell.

So I gained some weight. I was on a lot of medication. And when I was 13, at that time, I had a heart attack. And the heart attack, we weren’t really sure where it came from. I had an adult cardiologist and a pediatric cardiologist, and both were a little bit confused why a 13-year old would have a heart attack. I thought definitely it was from the medication that I was on. I was on so much from like eight to 13. Throughout those five years, I was taking five types of things: steroids, anti-inflammatories, painkillers, even antacids because the arthritis medication was giving me stomach ulcers.

So when I was 13, the heart attack came. I was in ICU. That’s intensive care unit in the hospital. I stayed for about two months in that, and it wasn’t a good time in my life. It was a very depressing time. I was a teenager wanting to go into my high school years, have a lot of fun, and I had a heart attack before all that began. So I went into a really, really deep depression for a while as a teenager like most do, but I also had this overhanging disease of arthritis and heart disease.

It wasn’t until I was 19 and I was in school, I was in college, I was trying to find ways of making myself feel better. Self-confidence was a huge thing at that point in my life. And so I started thinking, “Well, what could I do that would make me feel better about myself?” I guess if I lost some weight and looked in better shape, then I would have more self-confidence. So I tried hitting the gym and lifting weights. And having arthritis, it was horrible. I would go home with swollen joints and then wake up the next morning stiff as ever.

And I also tried things like running. And that never worked. I always felt like I was going to have another heart attack. And then I found yoga. I found yoga when I was 19 years old, and that’s when everything really changed.

Clint: Yeah. Well, that is one dramatic story. And your poor parents, or your poor mom, going through that because it’s one thing to have it yourself and all the things that you’ve been through, but it’s another to not know the best way forward for your child. And now with a child myself, every time something small happens to her, we fret and just think what’s the best way forward even if these are tiny little things, like a little scratch or something. So, parents with a child with JRA are in a tremendously stressful situation. So hats off to your mom.

Joseph: Yeah, it was mostly my mom. It was tough. Now if I have kids and they were going through the same condition, I would send them to yoga right away.

Clint: For sure. So tell us how did your body transform? How did things change when you went to yoga, and did you start with Bikram?

Joseph: Yes. Well, I started with Bikram. I found Bikram Yoga as a young man; I was 19. I was actually in line for a rock and roll concert the night before I went to Bikram Yoga, and met a girl. That’s how I found it. And she invited me to my first class, and we met the next day at the yoga studio. And my life changed in that instant.

It was the hardest thing I ever did, and it was so hot. And I started in Dallas. I’m from Dallas, Texas. It was pretty hot outside, and inside the yoga room with the heaters. I thought these guys were crazy. I had no idea it was hot yoga. I walked in there with pants and a t-shirt like I was going to the gym.

And I started that, and after about a month of practicing consistently with the encouragement of the teachers there, my friend who was coming, she was going really often, and she saw that it was helping me and my health. I was losing some weight, feeling happier about life. And after about a month, I just knew this is it. This is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. This is my medicine.

Clint: Well, it certainly is powerful medicine. One of our first guests on the podcast, who I mentioned to you in our brief chat before we started, was Rowena Jayne. And you said that you’ve actually met and know Rowena, and her and I had a great chat about the incredible power of Bikram Yoga. And I’ve got no affiliation with Bikram Yoga whatsoever. It has no ramifications to me if anyone follows this advice or not, other than me wanting to help people. And there is no exercise on the planet that is better for rheumatoid arthritis than Bikram Yoga, and it’s unique in that sense.

It’s different to every other style of yoga for many, many reasons that we’ve covered in early episodes. But it’s just extraordinary medicine, and I like to prescribe this Bikram Yoga medicine as an alternative to the painkillers that you were mentioning before that you were on, because the painkillers, as you rightly said, creates stomach ulcers. Or even if they don’t go that far, they actually cause more leaky gut, cause more inflammation for the body. And so if you’re able to substitute the exercise of Bikram Yoga instead of those painkillers, then you’re getting your pain relief for free plus benefits without having the detrimental effect of the medications, which actually set you back. And it’s like one step forward and two steps back.

So it’s extraordinary medicine. And I want you to talk about little bit about…we know all about the benefits from the joints. We know that during Bikram Yoga, we compress and then release pressure through the joints, so you get blood flow. We know that it stretches out old joints that have become warped because of the inflammation. We know a lot of that. We know that we get such an increase in our heart rate and the blood flow through the body, the lymphatic system, but talk a little bit about the internal effects because some of the flow postures involve compression, don’t they? Through the ascending-descending [inaudible 00:13:32] and stuff. Can you explain a little bit about what might be going on there that’s also helpful from a digestion point of view?

Joseph: Well, and helpful in the digestion point of view, that would be the wind removing pose, which is one of my favorite postures. You massage individual parts of your large intestines, your colon ascending when you lift your right leg, the descending when you lift your left leg. And when you do the posture, when you’re lying on your back and you bring your knees to your chest and you grab both elbows, then you’re massaging the transverse colon. I love this posture because it massages the internal organs, the digestive track. It reminds me a lot of squatting, which is the natural way of digestion, the way our body should actually go to the restroom is through squatting and we sit in chairs.

So we come to yoga class and I found that in the digestion and doing that posture, it’s like squatting. I encourage a lot of my students, you guys should squat a lot more because once you release [inaudible 00:14:31] digesting and getting rid of all this waste and all these toxins, then the body feels so much better. The skin is lighter. The blood is flowing. Breath is flowing.

So, in digestion, yeah, there’s a tremendous effect in massaging it. But I just find that the yoga brings people, their bodies, back to the way it should be. If we were naturally squatting and using our bodies the way we should, running in the wild and hunting and gathering, we wouldn’t have these joint problems. And so by doing yoga, it really brings our bodies back to this state. And that’s how I found for it to really help me internally.

Clint: Absolutely. And I think it gets very, very overlooked because when you have an exercise program that actually improves digestion, which is the part of the body that we’re trying to heal when we have an autoimmune…I guess almost any condition, when you heal the gut, you heal the disease. I think it’s easily overlooked and it feels like an external process, but there’s a lot of internal benefits going on just exactly as you’ve described in the sequence that take it to a whole new level.

Now, what about if people are listening to this? Last time I had Rowena on…we had three episodes with Rowena. She also talked about some dietary things. People contacted me and said, “I can’t do Bikram. There’s not one near me. I live in a regional small town.” What could people do at home knowing that Bikram himself encourages everyone to go to class? But can people do this at home, or is there a safe way of going about it? Because it’s hard to recreate the heat. It’s hard to recreate the postures and hold them when you’ve got no one encouraging you and no one’s standing next to you doing them for encouragement. What are your thoughts on people in remote areas?

Joseph: Well, they’re going to have the toughest time practicing. It’s hard to practice by yourself. That’s why we all go to yoga classes together and have this group tribal atmosphere when we do it. But for people who are in these remote areas where there’s not a yoga studio, I really recommend…well, I wouldn’t really recommend just doing the Bikram series. I would recommend doing whatever you can find. The Bikram series done outside, the heat can be a little intense on the body.

That’s one thing about going to a Bikram Yoga studio is that it’s warm. It’s hot. The room’s over 100 degrees, and the series makes sense, and the systematic approach of opening the body with the heat. But if you’re at home and you don’t have this kind of equipment or a personal home sauna, I really recommend looking at YouTube and finding videos, finding a good teacher to follow, and practicing any yoga. Any yoga is good yoga.

The Bikram Yoga, I love it because anybody can do it. You can approach it from any condition or any age, any size, any shape, anywhere in the world, really, but if you’re in a remote area, I really advice doing it for yourself. You have to probably follow somebody online or look at videos.

And at the end of the day, we are all our own teachers, so the biggest struggle would be the encouragement. You’re not going to have somebody in front of you correcting you or telling you, “You need to do this,” “Look at that,” “Do this,” “Focus here.” But at the end of the day, it’s really our own decision that brings this discovery of yoga and transformation. It has to be done on our sides.

So home practice is something that I really enjoy personally because it connects me to why I do yoga. I can go to the yoga studio and practice and give all the responsibility to my yoga teacher to help me with my condition, but if I’m here at home, then I really take a responsibility. So I think it’s an amazing thing to do. It’s a tough endeavor, but if you’re in a remote area where you can’t go to a studio, home practice is probably once of the most rewarding practices that I think a person can develop in their life.

Clint: And my wife Melissa has put together an introduction to yoga for people with rheumatoid arthritis that’s available for people who are interested, both in our forum and in our advanced package. People are familiar with that.

Joseph: Oh great. I’ll check that out.

Clint: Yeah. Now, couple other questions. I want to get back to your story and talk about how long it took to get off your medications. And then I want to cover also when you’ve got someone with rheumatoid or ankylosing spondylitis or psoriatic arthritis, people with these typical autoimmune inflammatory conditions in your class, and how you make modifications and what you think is acceptable in terms of modifications for them.

So I just wanted to tell you both questions so I didn’t forget the second one. So let’s pick up your story. I’m curious to find, after you began Bikram Yoga at 19 and you were going with your female friend, did that turn out to be your wife, by the way?

Joseph: No, she didn’t turn out.

Clint: I got it. We won’t [inaudible 00:19:37] anymore.

Joseph: She’s a really good friend. What’s that?

Clint: We won’t keep on that topic any longer there.

Joseph: No, that’s good. My wife knows her. They’re friends. I was young. I was 19. I wasn’t very fit. Just having arthritis, JRA, that became such a thing in my life. It was my condition. It was my excuse. It became who I was and who I am, and especially then having the heart disease.

So when I started the yoga at 19, things just started to really change. I started to recognize that I’m the one in control of my life and not my heart condition or my juvenile arthritis. It was me. And so it took me about a month to realize this, because for the first month, I was just practicing. I was 19, so I was chasing a girl, I’m not going to lie. And after about a month of practicing, I just started to notice these amazing things in my life. I was waking up without stiffness in the joints. I was able to look at myself in the mirror and feel good about what I saw, which was probably the biggest thing.

Clint: Yeah, I can relate to that.

Joseph: Besides the stiffness in the joints, I was young so I was working in retail. I was always on my feet, and I felt the difference in my knees and ankles and hips. And so after about a month of practicing, I said to myself, “This is going to be my medicine. This is what I need to do.” And it was a long process. It was a painful process, and I really give credit to my first teachers in Dallas, Texas, Karen and David is their name.

They really believed in me to come daily. I started practicing in exchange for cleaning the studio. I was in my early 20’s and didn’t have a lot of money, but practicing and cleaning the studio for the practice, so that had me there almost every day. And after two years, I was off all my medication.

Clint: [inaudible 00:21:41].

Joseph: And I don’t think that would have happened unless I was practicing almost every day. The studio became kind of like my go-to thing after work or my thing I went to before work. It became like a big hobby, and then it started to become a passion. It was my medicine. It’s what made me feel good and made my joints feel good and my mind feel good.

So I was going almost every day for two years and got off the medication. I remember visiting my cardiologist for my annual checkup, and even my rheumatologist, and telling them of what I was doing. And they kind of looked at me like I was little crazy, like, “You’re doing what? Don’t you know? Okay, the heat isn’t good for your joints.” That’s what my rheumatologist told me. “You’re going to swell,” which my joints did swell often in the first couple years of practice, but that was just part of the process.

That’s the way I saw it. And even my cardiologist thought, “Well, your blood’s going to thin. You’re going to have another heart attack. This is crazy.” No. I trusted myself. I wouldn’t advice that for everybody. If you’re involved with a practitioner or doctor, an MD, get their advice.

But for me, I knew that there was something much more than just being on medicine. I didn’t want to be relying on these pills every day or living my life as…this is who I am. I’m a survivor. I wanted to start brand new, and yoga really gave me this opportunity.

Clint: Yeah. That’s a phenomenally inspiring story and makes feel so positive towards the yoga and so positive towards going again, because it’s not easy sometimes to drag yourself to Bikram. And I’m sure lot of people who go on a haphazard basis, who are listening think, “I’m going to go again. I’m going to get back in there and go again to another class.”

I think one of the most important things I picked up from that was, that you went nearly every day, and that’s what I found as well. I had to go every single day. And in fact on my very first class, the teacher at the time, his name was Miles, and he walked behind me. I was in the back of the room. When I went in the class, it was so bad, my body. I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg so I couldn’t do any of the standing on one leg postures on my left leg. I just could not support any weight. I literally hopped around.

That was how I was getting about. And he tapped me on the lower back when I was trying to sit down in fixed-firm pose, but I was basically just on my knees, just with my body straight up because I couldn’t lower myself at all down on to my knee. He just tapped me.

Joseph: I sympathize with that. I was in the same position for years.

Clint: Right. So he tapped me on the lower back and said, “You need to come every day.” And that was in my first class, and I never forgot that. And I did. I went every day. And as I just mentioned to you before, I’ve done 770 or something classes. I mean, I just had to. I was like you. I just did not want to be on the medications. I wanted to have children. I wanted to be free of toxins.

Joseph: Yes, for sure. The yoga, for me, it became medicine. And that’s exactly what I hear in your stories. That’s what it is. It’s medicine. We choose to spend so much money on these pills, which makes us feel better but all we’re doing is covering the problem, covering the symptoms. And when we dedicate ourselves daily to a practice like this one, especially an intense practice like this, it’s not only a physical change. It starts to become real mental change, which I always think it’s the root of all diseases, always in the mind.

And when you start practicing daily, you really get this reflection of not only what you do to yourself, the foods you eat, the things you drink and your sleep patterns, but you start to get this reflection of who you are and how you base reality. And when I stopped basing my reality in “I’m a sufferer of arthritis” or “I’m a sufferer of heart disease” and I was doing yoga daily and feeling like “No, through this practice, I’m conquering this.” And that for me was the biggest shift in my life to create healing.

Clint: That’s great. You created a different meaning of what was going on, and you started to disassociate with the disease and associate with who you are and who you want to become. And that’s awesome.

Joseph: And that’s what I really encourage to my students. Going to your second question about students who come with these autoimmune disorders, in terms of modifications, I tell them, “Try your best. Do yoga. Try your best.” But I try not to overfeed into the mental condition of the disease. More weekly, I reflect with them, like, what is the condition? Is the condition ruling your life or you’re here to rule it?

And for me, that’s what I find really helps my students heal when they come to me with autoimmune disorders, is I really believe in the power of thought. And we can take medication, we can eat the right food, but unless we are thinking changes, then the autoimmune disorder won’t exist anymore.

And so when students come and they’re like, “Well, can I modify this? This is the range of motion I have” or “This is my limitation,” automatically I see that the disease is ruling their mind. They’re coming from a place of this arthritis or spondylitis or lupus or MS, these autoimmune disorders or nervous system disorders as well. It comes from the mind. And when students come to me with that right away, I just, “Do your best,” but I never encourage them to change the practice. I encourage them to change the way that they view the practice as something that’s healing them and helping them to control these conditions rather than something that’s working and healing the conditions. Because it’s not really about the conditions, it’s about the person themselves.

Clint: Have you personally seen dramatic transformations in people with those particular conditions in your classes or in other studios that you’ve been to? I personally have had tremendous number of emails and Facebook posts about people who’ve taken their rheumatoid arthritis into the most incredible, dramatic changes for the better. Have you been witness to that as well?

Joseph: Yeah, I’ve taught this yoga for about nine years. And I’ve been in this city, New York, for five years. And prior to that, I was in San Diego for a couple of years, in Dallas for a couple of years. I’m a traveling teacher, but when you live in a city for a long length of time and you’re able to watch the students and their transformation, it’s beautiful. I’ve seen so many people heal themselves. But it’s not only they’re healing the body, it’s also the personality, the mind. All that starts to heal, which really facilitates good thoughts and good habits, especially diet habits and lifestyle habits. That helps the yoga practice to heal the conditions that they have.

Clint: I know that we’re on the clock, and I’m aware of that. I just want to finish up shortly, and I want to ask you, you were 2011 International Yoga Champion. Would that be up there with one of your greatest achievements, or do you feel that this…you can almost sense the way I’m pitching this question, but that’s obviously a wonderful achievement. I’ve read a little bit about your reflection on that, and I know that you’re very humble. You’re very humble about that achievement.

Perhaps you can talk a little bit about what that felt like, given where you’d come from, and also other achievements that you felt, that are less trophy-based, that you’ve been blessed with from teaching yoga.

Joseph: Oh, okay. The championships for me was really the facilitator for my physical and mental growth in the yoga practice. I started doing it in my first year of practicing yoga, so imagine this 19-year-old guy competing in yoga, who has a belly, who’s suffering from arthritis, popping pills all day. I went on my first competition. I was like, “Why not? It’s safe. I’m not competing against anybody else. “And that’s kind of ridiculous,” I thought. “So why not?” This is the first physical activity I’ve done in my whole life, which was yoga pretty much, that I stuck with. I was like, “Why not? I’ll do it.”

I competed. And the first year, I placed last. I totally fell flat on my face. But after that, it gave me this really big inspiration to, every year, progress in my physical practice, which then really…progressing physically is just a medium of progressing in your whole lifestyle spiritually and mentally. So for me, becoming the 2011 Yoga Champion was a big achievement, but I don’t think it was the achievement. Right now I’m still progressing with that path.

I’ve become, recently, the president of the U.S.A. Yoga Federation, the governing body for U.S. Yoga Competition. I’m just finding that that right there was a benchmark, winning the competition. But what the competition has done for me, it’s been a big part of my healing. It’s given me self-esteem, a lot of self-control and determination and patience and faith in my life to get those achievements, which were also part of just my yoga.

So, yeah, it was a great achievement. But some of the other achievements, is, yeah, I guess becoming the president of U.S.A. Yoga and also finding the non-profit, Yoga Youth Movement. We’re an educational nonprofit and we bring yoga to after-school programs and community centers all around NYC. And so I feel like these achievements, these more nonprofit endeavors are real achievements in my life that yoga has brought.

Now I’m able to give back, and give back to kids, and give back to aspiring yoga athletes and help them on their journey of self-healing.

Clint: Well, and you’ve also given back a lot by giving us your time today and we’re really grateful. You’re such an inspiration to go from where you were to where you are today. It’s like black and white or night and day, whatever little metaphor you want to create to describe it. But it is really awesome. And I hope that everyone listening to this is inspired to see what’s possible. A huge amount of effort has gone in to get from where you were to where you are today, absolute tremendous amount of determination and effort and time.

So none of this has come easy to you, so you really are inspirational and shows what can be done with tremendous amount of applied focus.

Joseph: Thank you, Clint. I appreciate it, and it’s been nice conversating with you and getting to know you. And I hope your listeners enjoyed this, and maybe we can talk again someday in the future.

Clint: That would be great. Where can people reach out? Have you got a mailing list that they can subscribe to?

Joseph: Well, they can reach out to me personally. I’m not that unreachable. My website is josephencinia.com. That’s my full name, J-O-S-E-P-H, E-N-C-I-N-I-A dot com. I have a contact list there. They can also subscribe to a mailing list and can contact me directly. I try to get back to people within a couple of weeks when they reach out to me with questions, especially of RA. I hear a lot from practitioners all over the world, who are suffering with RA or JRA, some younger practitioners. And I’m always willing to give a hand, so just send the question my way and I’ll be there for you.

Clint: And one question that might pop into people’s minds. How are you now? Do you have any of the joint pains that are a result of those early years?

Joseph: Yeah. Well, of course. While we’re conversating, my hips have been killing me. I live in New York City, which has a very humid climate. And so during this conversation, I was in joint pain. And I sat in the lotus position and I just released it and my joints are much better. So that’s the thing, the condition will never go away, but now it’s more of an inspiration to continuously practice yoga and to be on a healthy life path. And even through this conversation, I was sitting on the floor and my hips were killing me. And I sat in lotus, and yup. So that’s what it is. It’s a daily practice. It’s medicine.

Clint: Absolutely. Well, Joseph, thanks once again, really appreciate it. And I’ll let you go back and continue to chop vegetables.

Joseph: All right. Thank you. It was a pleasure, Clint.


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