The Real Challenge of a Yoga Challenge

“Commitment is doing the thing you said you were going to do long after the mood you said it in has left you.”

—Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect

I think it is fairly easy to go to yoga every day. It might not be easy on the body, or the ego, but it is easy to surrender. Once you catch your breath and drop into the present, all you have to do, is what you’re told.

When people think about doing something like a 30 Day Challenge, I think the first worry is how their body is going to respond. Will it be able to do what the teacher  suggests?

Next they worry if they can persist. Can they stay motivated?

This year, the stated motivations of the participants range from trying to revive a dead practice, to curiosity to see if  practicing daily will make any difference, to wanting to shake off winter’s lethargy and revive their sense of self-command.

They quickly discover that it’s not the physical practice that’s the problem. The true challenge is fitting in the time to do it. Making time by making some hard decisions about what is more important, this? or that?

It takes a village to support a person in a yoga challenge. Everybody has to cooperate: bosses, babysitters, spouses, friends, and family all have to adjust their schedules, and their lives around you, so you can do this thing.

This thing you committed to.

This thing you were so looking forward to.

This thing that they encouraged you to do at the beginning, they are now sick of. They are looking forward to high-fiving you across the the finish line, and then going back to normal.

But here’s the thing: the person who is nearing the finish line?  They’re not done. They’re different now. They don’t want this to end. Maybe in this draconian format, but they’re not ready to break this streak they’ve built. No. The streak needs to continue. Everyone agrees about that.

They worked hard to make this happen, and they did the thing they said they were going to do even when, as Hardy says, the initial excitement wore off.

The challenge part starts now, after these 30 days are over.

The question now becomes: What is going to happen on on May 1st?

Will the mat get unfurled? Will the head bow? Will there be a conscious decision to surrender?

From my perspective as the teacher, what I want to know is if I’ve been successful in teaching them how to unglue themselves from linear time for at least an hour, and drop into real time, which is no more, or less, than this moment, this breath, this situation.

And then, can they make a life out of that.

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