"Comparison is the thief of joy." I've heard it attributed to Theodore Roosevelt, Eleanor Roosevelt and even Winston Churchill. Whoever said it was a freaking genius.
Because, seriously, it is: a dirty thief..
While I know that motivation and consistency are difficult, hot button topics in the yoga scene, I won't abide this thievery in my own practice or encourage it in yours. Challenge thievery.
Yes, I know the research that's gone in to accountability and peer pressure. They're effective. But for what?
I think we have to look at the goal of having a practice at all before we go all boot camp on ourselves. And if your goal is boot camp-esque, then yes, by all means, complete a challenge. You're going to have an awesome butt. But if you look at the well-sculpted posterior as a bonus to the true aim of your practice, then I challenge you to set aside rigidity and limiting notions and look more at just showing up for yourself. Meet yourself. On your mat. Maybe you bust a Pincha or maybe you take a breath, but showing up for yourself is going to be way more reinforcing than showing up for a challenge.
I can hear the dissenters even now (maybe 'cause some of 'em live in my head, too): "Whatever gets you to the mat!" "Anything to get people practicing yoga!" Okay, if that's your thing - and yes, I'm all for more people doing more yoga. But maybe it begs the question "What is a practice," and as well as the age old "What is yoga?"
In the end, I'll respect whatever you decide to do on your mat. But you won't see me holding or issuing a "challenge," unless it's a challenge to listen - closely, quietly and often - to the sound of your own heart.