I’m fascinated with “The Hero’s Journey” from mythologist Joseph Campbell. The Hero’s Journey has also become popular in Hollywood, with movies like Star Wars, The Matrix, and Avatar building the path of the main character in the film consistent with the stages of the hero’s journey. We also can undergo the hero’s journey in our own life. Why not add some excitement, innovate your life, and begin one? Why not undertake a journey towards innovating yourself with a challenge that will engage you holistically? I decided to begin my first ever yoga studio membership with a challenge…doing 30 yoga sessions in 30 days. It was an engaging and motivating 30 day period in my life. It was a mini hero’s journey. Here are some reflections on this challenge.
1. Make it mythical. Like the hero’s journey any journey that is meaningful and worth doing should engage your whole self. It will likely have the hero’s journey elements of the call, allies, belly of the whale, trials, adventures, and a return. Mine did.
2. It should be hard! Any journey worth writing about should not have been easy. Problem was my 30 day yoga challenge was getting easy towards the end. The toe that was bothering me was healing. I was no longer an anonymous stranger, the instructors and front desk people were starting to call me by name. I banged out two sessions in one day easily. I decided I needed to end it harder with a second back-to-back double session day.
3. Over-perform. My goal was 30 sessions in 30 days. I was thinking of hedging back on it because I would only have 28 days to do it and I didn’t think it would work out. We need to go above and beyond the call of duty. I decided to over-perform the goal and go for 30 sessions in 28 days. Then I decided to over perform that goal and do 30 in 27, then over perform that one to do 31 in 28. Shoot past your goals. I had two variables to work with…days and sessions. You can over perform one or both of those! Things get easier when you get in the groove…you can do more!
4. The heroic journeys are not necessarily about earning that degree, running that marathon, or doing 30 yoga sessions. They are about a journey to a new and higher level of consciousness. I do not view my body and mind the same way I did before the 30 day challenge, especially my body.
5. The return. There is usually something more. You just don’t do it and be done. You are different now. I want to do more with yoga, personally I’d like to see if I can maintain a 4-5 day per week practice. I keep getting the idea of other challenges, such as doing a yoga teacher training…taking it to the next level. Not that a job teaching yoga is on my mind now but doing would be an interesting journey and I could be better prepared to help my friends as I want to encourage others to do yoga. I think yoga plays an important role in solving problems related to our health care crisis. I think it could be one of the best consistent things you can do for yourself because it is holistic. Anyway, it is something I have needed.
What was the impact? What outcomes did I gain as a result of this 30 day challenge?
1. Assessment of complete body: strengths and needs for improvement.
2. Better strength all over.
3. Better flexibility all over.
4. Better alignment…or at least knowledge of alignment.
5. Better state of mind.
6. Something social to do for 1.5 hours each day!
7. Learned a number of new poses.
8. Motivation to be involved in the larger Yoga community.
9. Understanding and awareness of different parts of a single muscle or bone.
11. Toughening up physically. Holding uncomfortable longer.
12. Toughening up mentally. Quieting the mind and being still for longer.
This first yoga challenge journey was so engaging that I undertook a second one four months later…30 sessions in 15 days. This was an experiment on motivation and action that I’ll write about soon.