Our favorite heroes’ stories follow a common pattern – as do our lives, really! Joseph Conrad defined 12 steps in this pattern as the Hero’s Journey, outlining how every hero starts out in a dull, not-quite-right beginning, gradually gains allies and enemies and goes through ordeals, and finally emerges changed at the end. It rings true, I think, because in a simpler way our lives are like that too. As Josh Groban so wisely puts it in “Crazy Ex Girlfriend,” “Life is a gradual series of revelations that occur over a period of time.”
Our yoga practice can illuminate that journey, helping us to understand what is happening to us. In the process, it can also mirror it… you start with the need for yoga, then you join a class and make friends and advance, only to encounter road blocks in what you can do. But by bringing our intentions back to yoga’s heart, we can rise above that and experience our own sort of revelation-resurrection. You “level up,” over and over, through processes that are sometimes easy, sometimes difficult, but always strengthening.
Here is the Hero’s Journey abbreviated into 9 steps in a yoga practice as well as the fandoms of Star Wars, the Labyrinth, Harry Potter, Clueless, and Doctor Who.