The Happiness Challenge – Background

Michelle LaBrosse, CCPM, PMP, PMI-ACP, RYT

Sorry Madison I did not put this in a tube. Well at least now we know it doesn't travel so well just rolled up.

Sorry Madison I did not put this in a tube. Well at least now we know it doesn’t travel so well just rolled up.

Background on the Happiness Challenge – Almost five years ago now,  I realized if I did gentle yoga on a daily basis it would help me age better.  I got the idea from a friend who was comforting me about my very athletic 77 year old mother having fallen and not being able to get up.  She told me it was common for people to be challenged getting up off the floor as they aged.  (We were to soon find out though that this was not my mother’s challenge – she was diagnosed a month later with inoperable brain cancer).  But the seed was planted – I wanted to stay flexible, limber and capable to get up off the floor as I got older.

I did not realize yoga was also going to be the way for me to transition to life without my mother. My mother was my best friend and helped me raise my daughters ( I became a single mother when my daughters were 3 and 5). So even in my 40’s, she was still the runway in my life.  When she was gone, I had lost my runway – it was a tough transition.  (I am not sure if anyone has an easy time with this transition). Yoga helped me create a home inside myself – it helped me create my own runway.  It also helped me find my way back to happiness.

I got the idea during my yoga teacher training to create a gentle yoga flow that could exercise every muscle and put weight on every joint.  I started teaching it and then created a yoga mat with all the poses.  After several iterations, we settled on calling the yoga flow – the Happiness Yoga Flow.  It only takes about a half hour to do – it includes a breathing meditation.   But it’s only one part of happiness.   So I created a couple of online modules about how to connect with yourself and the world around you in a way that increased happiness and combined this with a two day yoga retreat.   It then occurred to me to make it a stand alone online class – the whole program.  About the same time, I had started on a 66 day challenge to learn how to love and accept myself unconditionally as I have been challenged for decades with a negative perception about myself because of what I weigh.  I figured for happiness, this was also a good thing to do – make daily challenge to become happier. It had to include daily yoga, but also a daily contemplation related to a theme – grounded in what helps people be happy (it’s unique for each person).   As part of the 30 hour online Happiness Project Class, our students evaluate what is happening when they feel happy.  For me one of the things happening is I feel enthusiastically engaged in life.

My birthday twin and director of digital marketing, Madison, created a poster with the happiness yoga flow on the side of it.   I’ve enclosed a picture of mine (it got a bit crumbled on my trip to Alaska).  We used the Inspired Eagle cards to create the daily contemplation word.  Several of our co-workers are doing the happiness challenge with us and we are all going to be sharing what we learn on the Cheetah Learning Blog –  I will be sharing my insights here (as well as a shorter version on the Cheetah Learning Blog).


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