How many of us end the day asking ourselves, “What did I accomplish today?” I do make it a point to run through a list of any and all things that I was grateful for: had the chance to grab my coffee, made my appointments without much traffic, my sister’s call and the laughter we shared. It goes on. Tracking those snippets of appreciation produces more kinds of those snippets – like attracts like. As I share with many of you, I am blessed and grateful.

But I also run through my day auditing those accomplishments, questioning exactly what kind of accomplishments they were. I’m always proud when a meeting went well; a project took another step; I made my yoga class; I took the time to talk to people even when in a rush. Yet doing this day after day, month after month, I start to ask “why?” The feeling of satisfaction with an accomplishment is all well and good, but as a yogi you need to be unafraid to dig deeper, and think about what your accomplishments represent.

Michele on the phone

Every time we have a 60 Day Challenge party I always come away saying, “It was our best one yet!” They are just so surprising, with story after story of how a broken body, distressed mind, or lost soul found this challenge to be a way to heal, push through, and even mend circumstances that were once thought impossible to fix. Everyone who signs up for the challenge has a goal or their initial “why” for doing something like this (“I’d like to be more focused”) and yet every person ends up addressing that one thing which is much bigger (“It helped me overcome my deep depression”) – an accomplishment truly worthy of the tall task it took to get there!

60 consecutive days of yoga isn’t just about the 90 minutes in the room. It’s preparing to hydrate well; it’s constantly washing clothes; it’s eating right prior to class (not to be too full or too empty); it’s disengaging at work early enough to allow for traffic and make it to class on time; it’s adjusting the family schedule to accommodate making it everyday; it’s messing up and missing a day and then having to find time to do two in one day; it’s the sore body and the ranting mind that says you’ve done enough when you have 40 days to go; it’s questioning why you are doing this and the selfishness you feel on days when your family doesn’t want to sacrifice for you anymore.

Being ALL IN

But, YOU are ALL in. The 60 Day Challenge is so similar to the beginner’s class sequence because it’s set up for you. Once you’ve made the class, you are ALL in for 90 minutes. Once you’ve signed up for the 60 Day Challenge, you’ve decided and you are in it for 60 days! After a 90-minute class, you come out with big benefits, so imagine that 60 times larger! Bigger commitment gives you the bigger reward – not just better mental clarity but a stronger level of mental discipline; not just better sleep but efficient energy to supercharge you all day. After hearing members eagerly spill their personal stories – with unbridled excitement and vulnerability- on how they’ve transformed, you can’t help but get juiced up too, and want to bottle this up for everyone to experience.

So it makes me sad when I hear of studios doing away with the 60 Day Challenge: “members do it and then burn out and we don’t see them anymore”, or “it’s too long and members finish dissatisfied and burnt out” – oh dear!  After almost 14 years of owning a studio and over 18 years doing yoga, let me give you my slice of wisdom about what a “60 Day Challenge” delivers even if you’ve never done yoga before: it’s a lofty goal (hard enough yet attainable) as it should be, with a format set up for you to just follow (come in and do the yoga at any class time convenient for you and put up your star after class next to your name on the tracking board) that you’d think it would be easy right?  No! The 60 Day Challenge is the biggest shit-disturber ever! Just when you think you can do this on your own, you realize that you have to inconvenience so many others in the process of attaining what can look like a selfish goal – UGH. That can be way more uncomfortable than the yoga itself and we haven’t even touched on how hard it is to do the yoga everyday in a stupidly hot room with Hawaiian-type humidity temps!

But, that’s just it! You have to navigate your routines differently. You have to voice yourself differently. You have to treat your body differently. You have to negotiate with your critical, crying voice differently. All in the name of protecting YOU – not the ego-self but the higher Self that is calling you to make this transformation.  In the process, you resolve those issues you’ve been hopelessly trying to conquer and you BECOME something better. The 60 Day Challenge isn’t what you’ve done but who you’ve become! 

This is what I mean by “auditing accomplishments.” Yogis, you are not “doers”; you are in studio to “be” – be who you are being!  This is how I think about my goals now, otherwise they are nice but don’t matter much! I enjoy pleasure, and accomplishments of ease, and tasks fulfilled, but the ones that are hard AND right, the ones that are out of my comfort zone are the ones that give me power! The kind of power that feeds my Self!

An Analogy: How a Tree Bears Fruit

Here is a great example that will help you understand better the power and benefits of this practice – and how the 60 Day Challenge accelerates growth.

Our wonderful, long-time member Dane is a surfer, dad, and great friend to all. He’s also the one who brings in those perfectly sliced oranges every day for us to have after class. One day he explained to me how he continues to do bring them in, day after day and month after month. I was confused – oranges are not in season all year, are they?

orange trees

Dane’s orange trees.

Dane shares with me that he has three trees: two are his and another is his neighbor’s.  They each bear this fruit at different times of the year – thus, he can bring them in year round – lucky us! However, his neighbor’s tree was about to die until he started picking the oranges from it. Now, this tree yields not just the biggest oranges of all three trees, but also the most!

And so here’s the analogy: once nourished, cared for and used as we are intended – ALL in – only then do we live in the highest, most abundant way. You are obligated to take care of your tree – YOU –  in order to deliver the fruits of your labor. The 60 Day Challenge has nourished so many to thrive in who they are, beyond what they do. So “audit your accomplishments” yogis, and choose those that push you to a higher way of being. You will reap the rewards!