Luke leaves his farm to become a Jedi. Katniss volunteers as tribute to save her sister. Sisko takes control of Deep Space Nine, moving on from the grief over losing his wife. Harry Potter flies away from his awful aunt and uncle to go with Hagrid to Hogwarts.
We’ve all been there, right?
Actually, we have. It’s the trope identified by scholar Joseph Conrad in his “Hero with a Thousand Faces,” a common theme that serves as an archetype of our common narratives. Our protagonist decides to leave a humdrum but comfortable environment to find adventure and fulfillment in the unknown. They take a leap of faith.
And do we from time to time, which is why we love that idea. Our calls to adventure and risk may or may not involve a Hogwarts letter (I know mine was lost in the mail!), but over and over again we inevitably embark on one new challenge after another–jobs, relationships, identities. And yoga poses, naturally.
I myself have a microscopic little hero’s journey happens when I do the Half Moon pose. There I am, standing nice and stable (and boring) in a simple, feet-spread Warrior pose, yoga block in hand. Next I are tipping, tipping, tipping down towards the ground as my opposite foot and arm rise into the air. For that split second, all you have is your leap of faith, like Indiana Jones stepping off into the chasm, trusting something will catch him.
Indy is caught by a carefully camouflaged bridge and I am caught by your yoga block landing on the ground, creating a plus sign with my limbs and breathing a sigh of relief. Not that that position is easy either, whether you are on a nearly invisible bridge over a chasm or perched as a plus sign. But it is exciting and full of new potential for what you can do. And when you lower yourself back down, everything is a little more stretched and changed–for the better.
Afterwards, you just might be a little bit more ready for the next challenge ahead whatever it may be. And if the monk asks later, totally go for the old beat-up cup. When you choose your destiny, you must choose wisely.