Joey grew up in India. Already at a young age he came in contact with different prominent Yoga teachers and healers. He finished high school in Mumbai, where he graduated in Yoga as a subsidiary subject. With his then Yoga teacher, Father Joe Pereira – a senior student of B.K.S. Iyengar – he remains till today very closely connected. Joey has been living and teaching in Switzerland since 2006. He conducts regular workshops in India and Europe.
When I was a child, I never intended to become a yoga teacher or even meditate. I was raised in a staunch Catholic family. I even had to attend mass daily sometimes. At the age of 17, after coming across some books on meditation, I started to meditate on my own. After a few weeks, in mid-June 1987, while I was meditating my consciousness expanded beyond the boundaries of my physical self and became one with everything. When I returned to my body, I was left with an experience beyond the five senses that has always remained with me. Through that experience, I came to realize that we are much more than our physical and mental existence, and that our consciousness exists beyond form. This generated an unquenched curiosity in me to find out what lies beyond.
I started to read every spiritual book I could get my hands on at first, and was led to various spiritual teachers, healers, saints, and gurus. I even ran away from home for a couple of weeks to live with Swami Shivom Tirth (the shaktipat guru). For several years, I spent days and weeks at a time fasting, meditating, and practicing Vipassana meditation. I still meditate every day.
My asana practice started when my teacher, Father Joe Pereira (Founder of Kripa Foundation and senior Iyengar teacher), came to teach at my high school in Mumbai. This was about a year after my spiritual experience. There was an instant connection between us. For approximately nine years, I attended seven to eight yoga classes a week with my prime teachers Father Joe Pereira and Ferosa Ali. Furthermore, I attended meetings and talks about yoga conducted by Guruji Iyengar himself. Years later, I reconnected with Father Joe. This time, he introduced me to the prayer of the heart through yoga asanas that brought an inner transformation with regard to my health and a connection with my spiritual heart. His style of practicing yoga asanas and pranayama has influenced our style of teaching at the yoga centre, and has brought a deep transformation in several students.
When I was 19, I felt compelled to teach classes at my high school. I was unprepared and very embarrassed at the time. I never considered myself a teacher, not even after nine years of practicing asanas and meditation. To me, a teacher is a person who is totally in tune with his inner being and who experiences oneness with his inner guru. I was not there yet. In the late 90s, I was regularly invited to teach in Europe. Finally, after moving to Switzerland in 2006, I started to teach yoga fulltime.
It depends on how you practice them. If it is only for ‘sport’, then it will lead to a general feeling of wellbeing. If you practice it for health, you will gain tremendous health benefits. If it is practiced with the awareness of the breath combined with restorative asanas, it brings a deeper transformation. However, to experience divine energy, one needs much more than asanas and pranayama.
There are different divine energies that have different qualities. A good healer has the ability, through scanning, to feel and see the negative energy that causes an ailment. He or she has the ability to replace the ailment with these divine energies to help the body heal. The healer is not the healer; he or she is just the transformer or medium allowing these energies to flow through him or her.
I met my first healing mentor Joe Santiago when I was around 21. Even though I had experienced the beyond, I did not believe in «healings». But I was dumbstruck when I noticed the results. I also spent several years learning from the internationally renowned healer Patrick San Francesco. At present, I study from the Pranic Healing system that was founded by the late grandmaster Choa Kok Sui. I have never stopped studying and never will.