Congratulations Big Downward Dogs for taking home the first ever Team Winning trophy in our summer 60 Day Challenge! BYSJ Instructor, Patrick McInerney, lead his team of nine: Rami Hamze, Shahin Tabrizi, Yuka Sugiura, Albina Datsukova, Eric Galas, Lisa McCortney, Jorge Helmer, Sathya Maturi, and Elahe Kamarei to the finish line with everybody but one finishing (and she was so close). Many of you that attended our 60 Day Challenge Party stated that having teams really helped you complete the Challenge, especially in the last week when it became harder, and your inner dialog was begging you to just give up. It’s a true gift that we get to practice within ourselves for those 90 minutes, but feel a deeper, more meaningful experience when we have that connection to each other in the room. Many of you on teams did not even know each other, but being a part of something larger than yourself made giving up even less of an option, as you didn’t want to let your team down! It shows too, that the world does perform better with camaraderie. You can feel it in your work, as well. Even though the task at hand might require just our own efforts, we all do a better job if we are surrounded by people whose well being is meaningful to us.

We gave out many trophies, some to members who completed the challenge for the first time, and some who have done it now five times or more. I recall Helen Meyer, who has completed the challenge four times, state that this was the first time she really felt acceptance; that whatever she felt going on within her in the yoga room was acceptable, and that it had meaning for her daily life. It is a quite a miracle to reach that discovery. Just because we have a thought about something doesn’t mean we have to claim it as our reality. That single small (but gigantic) step away from attaching to a thought is freedom. Acceptance is freedom. Without it, we are confined to a more narrow way of being. As many philosophers, self-help gurus and even Bikram will tell you, that is suffering.

Katya, one of our long time members but first time 60 day challengers, mentioned how important consistency is. She has become aware that we really are capable of doing most anything we put our mind to, but without consistency it becomes like everything else. I couldn’t agree more. Bikram Yoga is a great example of how frequency pays off. You won’t see much benefit with a casual practice, but turn it up a notch and do your best work while you’re in it, the return on your investment will be enormous.

I believe this was my 11th challenge. I keep learning more and more about myself with each one. While I can’t recall the exact shifts and when they occur, I can say that I’m more aware. As I listen to your stories challenge after challenge and the pieces of knowledge you’ve awakened to, I too, nod my head in unison. And that nod says, “Yes, I feel that as well.” I know that I am not alone as I see many in the room acknowledging their experience with that same insight. It’s another one of those experiences where the journey is done alone but the reaction we come away with relates to everyone. And my perception of it goes further, to the place that sees how similar we all really are, and how Yoga, with all of its promotional savvy to get us healthy, is also a path that gets us relating to one another. Its profound effect allows that connection to quickly cut through any boundary – perceived or otherwise.

While each of my challenges has awakened me to a new insight, collectively they have steered me to a place of stillness. I do believe that if it wasn’t for the yoga over the years, I wouldn’t be so drawn to sitting with myself in meditation for at least 20 minutes each morning. I’ve accumulated points in that area of stillness within each class I’ve taken in the last 12 years to the point that my being is tugging at me to give it more. I share that with you because we can only imagine the other unseen “flower petals blooming” within us taking us to a more empowered space of being.

There are so many seeds being planted each time we take our class. Seeds that sow beyond what we will ever really know consciously. The 60 day challenge gives us a chance to perhaps “catch” one, and the challenge party awakens us to other insights that we may have consciously missed but our have peers picked up on to share with us. It’s so interesting to hear how we interpret the gifts we’ve procured. How fun it is to listen to each colorful story. That might be the only difference we possess within each other as our filters for translation are unique and beautiful, but underneath their coating, the vibration of what it all means is quite the same.

Let the yoga speak to you. Watch how it impacts your relations to…well, everything. You’ll grow in mind and spirit. You’ll hold your uniqueness as a personal creation by you and intertwine that energy with others to further create… Harmony. Just what the world needs.