As I drove Chris home around 10:00 pm from the 60 Day Challenge Party, we recounted story after story recited by each challenger in exchange for their hard earned trophy. Chris and I feel so humbled and impressed by the “whatever it takes” effort used in conquering any and all obstacles that may have gotten in your way to achieving this goal. Changing clothes in your car, doing doubles 19 times as unexpected travel suddenly appeared, coordinating a change in breakfast time with kids to get to the early class, and perhaps lobbying co-workers to remind you of what time it is in order to beat traffic are but a few of the precious visuals Chris and I imagined with giggles. Bravo! Unstoppable! And, there was a list of things so special beyond the stories: family members and friends at this event to celebrate this big achievement; so many dressed up to speak and accept their award; and the enthusiasm in which each story unfolded. No one was at a loss for words!

I was a runner. I started this yoga once a week then three times a week, then every day with the challenge. I lost 37 pounds. I noticed so many changes and posture improvements coming more often. I still run but I do this more than running now.” –Sophia

High cholesterol runs in my family. I was taking medication but no longer need to because of this yoga.” –Gina

The “Chris lights” in the yoga room inspired me to be in the room every day. This challenge gave me energy and focus to see so many things through that were happening in my life: started a company, sold my parent’s home, and created a Coop community in Bear Valley.” –Steve

This is my third challenge. I dedicated this one to my dad and to my good friend who introduced me to this yoga five years ago. I had so many serious back issues that I now no longer need to take medication for my spine pain. It’s completely gone.” –Juni

The stories came decorated with photos, tears, and laughter, and so many thoughts were heightened with distinct points of gratitude: “thank you to all the teachers,” “it’s this community that made the difference,” “I made so many new friends,” “I can’t thank my family enough for the support they gave me,” “I’ve done the challenge three times and this was the first time I finished. I am so thankful for the encouragement from the community,” the challenge has made me feel more of a part of the BYSJ community,” “I am so grateful for the energy of the members and the teachers.”

Surely, this was BYSJ’s most memorable Oscar type event yet! Maybe we actually roll in a red carpet next year! It’s that amazing and could never be scripted well enough to match the real deal of what transpires in an evening such as this. The intensity of the challenge in just 60 days punctuates the lessons garnered and while we don’t get to hear the “episodes” that surely appear in the throes of those many days, we do gather together at the end and capture your running theme. Thank you for telling us your lived out experience. Your journey shared impacts us all.

We had the most finishers to date and I believe in large part it was the influence of BYSJ Manager, Chris, affecting everyone with hope and perspective. As I said goodbye to Chris that night, we both realized that BYSJ has a life of its own. It was so fun to hear the pride of the 4:30 pm class and the protectiveness of the 5:30 am class. While we started with love and passion for this yoga years ago, it now also shows up ten-fold in various ways amongst each other multiplying with every member that comes to our yoga “temple.”

We are invited with our practice to connect to ourselves, to our faith and our surroundings and more importantly as I see it, to each other. Ironically, for an event that recognizes individual achievement, it’s the selflessness and relationships praised most. What becomes more noticeable is the attention we need and give to others the higher we ascend on our path to being our best. Becoming a strong community isn’t just a choice but a preference in how we choose to live! We want to come and lift up one another! Amazing how a challenge can motivate such a connection. Thanks, Challengers, and may you inspire even more of us to do it again next year!