“I’m a thyroid cancer survivor and never thought that I could feel this good and free of pain from the surgeries and medications.”

“I have Crohn’s disease and for years took medication that left me feeling sick and with no energy. The 60 Day Challenge was hard but I am pain free and no longer need the heavy medication.”

“I love the community here. That’s what made me come so often. I lost over 30 pounds during the challenge.”

“This is the first trophy that I’ve ever received in my entire life.”

“This is my fourth challenge. They are all hard. But, this one was different. I love myself more.”

These are not made up. Seriously. These are only some of the real quotes given from wonderful members that came to recognize the feat they accomplished in completing 60 consecutive days of yoga. It is what makes this one of the most meaningful events that we host at Bikram Yoga San Jose. It’s your stories about the power of this practice. Proof that miracles happen in that room every day.

Deciding to do the 60 Day Challenge takes a spark of interest, but to keep doing it day after day, sometimes twice a day, takes courage to endure. In the years that we’ve had the Challenge, we’ve noticed a big drop around day 45 to day 50. It’s towards the end where it gets really tough. It’s easy at that point for the mind to say, ‘Wow, you did 45 days. That’s amazing. You can stop now.” No doubt, it is still a great accomplishment. But, that wasn’t the goal. The goal is 60! The last part, those last days, aren’t so much about the body and what it can or cannot give you, it’s about the mind, the determination, the willpower, the mastery, and the commitment to finish. BYSJ finishers: Congratulations. Over 70 of you finished! If you weren’t able to attend our fun party to pick up your hard earned trophy, be sure to see the front desk in the coming week to retrieve a meaningful token that honors your miracle story.

Bikram often asks this question. “What is the most important thing in your life?” If you haven’t heard this question before from Bikram, you might answer in various ways. But the answer is in the question, “your life.” Challengers, what you do next matters more. Stick with that frequent practice you’ve now established. Practice no less than 4-5 times a week. Do doubles sometimes. Practice with greater intensity as you are more equipped to make a correction or go a little deeper in the stretch with the stamina and flexibility you’ve acquired from the Challenge. This challenge was an opportunity to take control of your life. You did that. Now, keep “your life” the most important thing in your life and more miracles will unfold. In the process, inspire your family, the student next to you, and your friends at work to do the same. And continue the mission of what we continue to do at BYSJ: spread the yoga!

I’ve done so many challenges now, that I honestly don’t recall the number. Certainly every one we’ve held at BYSJ. In fact, once I completed the first one we scheduled, I just kept doing the yoga every day, sometimes twice a day. I do take days off but they are usually because I am out of town and there is no time to get to a yoga studio. Each challenge is a way to reunite me with my practice in a more profound way. I find my focus to be different and less disturbed because I am in a room filled with friends and a community that is working on this tall task much the same as I am. I have always benefited from the group energy we share especially during a challenge. This January challenge was particularly special. Yes, in big part due to the new studio, new surroundings, and the many new faces we’ve added to our BYSJ community. That really fires me up. But this one also grounded me in appreciation. Building a brand new studio in the way in which we did with such detail in all aspects of the space is wonderful but carries a flip side in wanting things to be perfect. Well, that is not possible. And, it’s also an ingredient to disappointment. When your mind is spinning in a direction of having things a certain way, it will certainly sound off when it doesn’t get it! Doing the yoga for so many years, I had the awareness to catch these damaging thoughts and detach, moving instead to a feeling of gratitude in what was here.

The practice with all of you day after day shuts out the sound of a “means-well-but-nagging” critical mind to a more serene calm state. After a few pranayamas, I was immediately immersed in the love from what was created. I let go of any and all control and soaked in the reason why we had worked so hard in the first place. Each day I was back on my spot and humbled by the appreciation I had for the windows, skylights, and natural lighting. I was in love with the big tall mirrors and the color of the bright paint. My eyes would float around the room from time to time and I could feel myself grinning at the real joy I felt seeing all of us in beautiful half-moon shapes. For the first time in a long time my final savasanas were 10 to 15 minutes long as I drifted to a different time and space as the meditative music played in the background. No doubt, I love the new studio as much as you all do. I am so appreciative to my practice and the footing it keeps me on.

Being in the face of numerous concerns could have kept me away from my practice and justifiably so, but I did what all you Challengers did, and that is to separate myself from what I am outside the yoga room to the limitless, nameless being that I am within that room. The world pushes up against us every day. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the heat of any situation. There are countless things to take care of craving our attention. We can lose touch with what is important in a matter of minutes. Our lives are more than the work we do, the bodies we have, and the mind we use. In my practice, I’m in touch with that reality. Retrieving my trophy was a statement to me about the importance of my life as Bikram says. It’s also the next step that I take that matters most. Continue. As long as we ponder the bigger questions, we are fully equipped to handle the minutia that shoves its way into our daily life. That’s when the miracles happen.