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Contests and commitments: my 60-day yoga challenge

I have always loved contests and a good challenge, so when my yoga studio, Bikram Yoga Pasadena, recently went in search of the “Most Inspiring Yogi” I decided to participate. 60 sessions of Bikram Yoga within 60 days. It would be hard, I thought as I was signing up, but barring any injuries or other unforeseen calamities that would hinder daily practice I knew I’d succeed. What I didn’t realize at the time was exactly how challenging I would find the commitment but also how much I’d benefit from it.

For the first 10 of the 60 days getting myself to the studio every day was a shlep. My mind would resist, going to places like Not again! I’m too busy! Do I have to? But the answer was always a firm Yes. By the time 30 days approached, things got easier. A groove set in where daily practice became a habit. The last week of the challenge was difficult again: twice I had to do two sessions in one day to make up for previously skipped classes, and I was just so eager to be done with the 60 days. Needless to say, I made it.

Over the past few weeks, doing the 60 sessions in 60 days, I have lost a couple of pounds; I sleep more soundly and through the night, and a long-standing, painful range-of-motion issue in my left knee is diminishing. More importantly, I have made exponential progress in controlling my breathing. In Bikram Yoga, as in all yoga practices, the breath is central. It helps us focus by keeping racing thoughts in check — some call it the monkey mind — and it helps us perform our movements more precisely. I am now learning to apply that technique to golfing and other areas of my life, including my work.

Will my studio crown me the “Most Inspiring Yogi”? Who knows. Like many lawyers, I am competitive by nature, and I’d be lying if I told you that I don’t care. But looking back, I see that challenges like my studio’s 60 sessions in 60 days are really about much more. They are about persistence in the face of busy schedules and of inner voices tempting us to bail out. They are about making commitments and keeping them.

by Kevin J. Moore