I can hear Bikram screaming at us in class to push our hips beyond our limits. “You must cross over that threshold. You are in fear.” Bikram has a great way of exposing the truth so you don’t miss his point.
“When one points a finger at the moon, gaze at the moon, not the finger.”
Congratulations to our largest group ever to finish 60 consecutive days of yoga! “I thought for sure that I would not be able to do it everyday because my family’s schedule changes so much. I didn’t want to start something that I couldn’t finish. But, I did it.”
The task met by our Challengers may have seemed impossible but after 60 days, it’s clear that the one thing they all needed to do – and succeeding in doing – was show up. By accomplishing the seemingly impossible, our Challengers have exposed the truth: what holds us back is simply a limitation that we ourselves impose. Could this be the point?
Anxiety is such a powerful force, far more accessible to us than concentration and patience, easily available anytime to break down our hopes and dreams. The 60 Day challenge is a perfect way to slay that dragon. For most of us, anxiety and fear will never completely go away, but our Challengers stood up to it day after day. After 60 days, it doesn’t nearly have the same power it once had. Anxiety is like a fad, it changes its face constantly seducing you to stick around. A daily yoga practice provides a calmer internal environment by guiding us to work past fear and anxiety. This is the treasure because it can be applied beyond the yoga studio.
The truth is that you are capable, you are healthy, you can see clearly, you do have abundance, love and joy in your life. Sometimes, a lot of sweat is the best way to perceive your essence. Anyone who has completed the 60 Day challenge knows what I mean.
Yes, your body has changed, you can touch your head to the floor, you no longer need as much water to get through class, you feel more energy throughout the day, etc., but, just as importantly, you’ve exercised something more – your mind. “When you understand the body, you can understand the mind. Your mind should be your best friend”, says Bikram. Each posture challenges you to have faith in yourself, to never give up, to concentrate and be patient. Holding awkward pose for 30 seconds or more is a test of determination. Trying to lock out the knee improves your skills of willpower and patience. Whether you’ve completed the Challenge or came close to it, you strengthened not only muscles, but also inner resources that heighten self-awareness, allowing you to stretch beyond self-imposed mental limitations.
“Once your mind is under your control, you learn how to use it,” states Bikram. This challenge takes you over the threshold of fear to empowerment which can carry over to all parts of your life. It’s there where yoga reveals the significant benefits of a daily practice. Your whole life gets better in ways that you may have never imagined.
“The 60-Day Challenge has made me realize that I am capable of doing anything, no matter how hard mentally or physically it is. Bikram yoga changed my life five years ago, but the 60-Day Challenge only affirmed my belief that I will be doing this yoga forever.” –Mary Ann Kempner, 60 Day Challenger and four-year BYSJ member
“Everyday, it was hard. Everyday, it was difficult. Everyday, it was challenging. Everyday, it was different. But, I learned something new everyday, and I discovered something new about myself everyday.” –Yumi Iwasaki
“As with many things, it was the small things that gave my practice in 60 Days more meaning. My body changed, my poses improved and I became more peaceful and patient at my practice and at home, which has had a huge impact.” –Marybeth Smails