High blood pressure, overweight, back and shoulder injuries, knee pain, recovery from stage 3 breast cancer, type 1 diabetes, high cholesterol, high stress, broken right arm with tendon damage, Guillain-Barré syndrome, which is swelling in ankles and legs, poor diet and poor sleep – the list goes on – are just a few of the collective issues a handful of 60 Day Challengers dealt with as they began this practice. Each one is a heavy burden to manage even without a yoga practice. The decision alone to take on the 60 day practice is in and of itself commendable. Yet, not only did they (and they are at least 50 completing the 60 consecutive days) participate in this industrial strength practice but did so every day sometimes twice a day for 60 consecutive days. And, each one had noticed a recognizable difference in the degrees of improvement of their respective conditions. Some had no symptoms at all!
Each 60 day challenge party that follows about 1-2 weeks after the challengers finish the grueling 60 days fuels my belief in this practice for at least another year to come (in which we have yet another challenge party). It is nothing short of remarkable to hear genuine unrehearsed stories about the gifts the yoga seems to have granted upon so many devotees in big proportions enough to change the course of a life, as many have felt “transformed,” “more clear,” “confident,” “ready to tackle more in my life.” Verses that follow only when a personal miracle is experienced.
Members, if you are reading this and you have not tried a 60 Day Challenge before, or you have not completed one in a long time, try next year OR better yet, you don’t need to wait for all of us to do it as a group, you can try a Challenge yourself – make it 60 days and tell your yoga peers so that you stay accountable. And, why not make your own tracking board and place a star on it when you get home. That way your whole family can get behind it. It may sound crazy on the onset. After all, it is every day in a hot sweltering room filled in neatly with members “as close to naked as you can legally get” battling and begging their bodies to stretch into odd shapes for 90 minutes. It’s not easy and it’s not pretty. And the preparation is a tall task: lots of water, empty stomach, clean mat and towel, washed up and ready to wear yoga clothes, electrolytes and time to spare to get your spot in the class! It takes a toll on the studio and a toll on your patience. In the beginning, even myself and management, scratch our heads and ask “why are we doing this?” But in the end, and in my experience and always at these “best event ever” parties, you hear why. In fact, it’s not only what you hear from the finishers but what you see and feel. In the 10 years that I’ve hosted these parties, all of you challengers are grounded, balanced, centered people (polished up too with radiant skin) You’d think the challenge would create fanatical over the top type A personalities but actually the ones that finish in the end possess a calming characteristic that is desirable to those of us who are around you. I will call it “peace.”
Over the weekend, I had the great opportunity to hang out with my significant other’s two beautiful little girls. We took them to see the movie, The Croods. Let me tell you that you do not need to have kids to see this movie. In my opinion, it is one of the funniest, belly rolling, can’t stop laughing movies filled with feel good moments that adults and kids can relate to together. I laughed so hard that you couldn’t hear me anymore and cried watching two very spiritual scenes unravel. It was the best movie to see Easter weekend and to kick off Spring!
It’s a story about a young girl that is curious and resists all family rules. This family is the last of the Cave people and they believe that their survival is due to the obedience of tradition. Her curiosity leads her to new discoveries that are looked at as “danger” to the rest of the family. The father is incredibly protective but loves his rebellious daughter. In her getaways, she finds a young man that is leaving this barbaric world of the dark to reach a new destination called “tomorrow.” He symbolically raises his hand as his says “tomorrow” casting his once dark hand into the light (or up to the sun). She is mesmerized and heart-filled with the idea of going too. Despite the dad’s resistance, the home as they know it starts to crumble and they have no choice but to all leave. They are in new territory with no instruction from tradition on how to survive so the boy is called back by the girl to help them. The father is reluctant but he knows that the use of his strength alone won’t protect his family. His sense of duty keeps him tolerant of the situation. In short, both the father (holding onto the dark and old ways) and the boy (fascinated with ideas and the hope of finding tomorrow) fight, argue, conflict, and clash. The egos of both can’t seem to move aside until one is willing to “let go.” The father is first to give in as he sees that he is losing his family. Because he opened up to another perspective, he was able to come up with his own ideas that used his strength too and saved his family. While it may have seemed perfect now, the biggest lesson comes later when the boy sees that there is no “tomorrow.” The place he so adamantly wanted to get to with his new adopted family was crumbling and dark. He was ready to turn around and go back to the dark. Yet, the father realized that there was never any going back, “no more caves” as he stated and raised his hand to proclaim for all “that we continue to follow the light.”
To bring you back full circle (and even though I’ve shared a lot of the movie, it is still a must see) Challengers ironically, did not so much give acceptance speeches about how their injuries were healed but instead repeated in different ways what this whole process gave them: “openness “gratitude”; “acceptance”; “allowing”; and “freedom.” The 60 Day Challenge is a personal quest to help us each drop the expectation (or tradition as in the movie), and enroll in the idea of life unfolding and an acceptance that our goal is not to be somewhere, to be someone or attain something but our goal is the joy in the journey. These challengers (myself included) practice every day or at least 5 times a week renewing that message that we won’t turn back and that we are always okay when our destination is to never to land but to always follow the light!