On Friday, July 11 at 11:15 AM, 808 Riskologists from Portland and all over the world threw their hands in the air to celebrate. We’d just broken the record for world’s longest yoga chain.
Here’s a brief recap of the event:
Yesterday, I wrote thousands of words summarizing the event, how it came together, and what it meant to myself and our community to succeed in such a feat.
Then, I threw it all away. A story like this is better told with photos and videos than words. So, below, is a short description of what we accomplished, how we did it, and why it’s important. But the photos at the bottom will tell you everything you need to know about why The Great Namaste was a fun, inspiring event for 800+ people.
The Great Namaste: World’s Longest Yoga Chain
As part of my involvement in The World Domination Summit, I’ve taken on the challenge of helping our community set a world record each summer to kick off the event. Last year, it was the World Float, where we broke the record for world’s longest floating chain.
Then we thought, “If we do it again, it’s practically tradition, right?”
This year, a small team and I put together The Great Namaste, an attempt to break the record for world’s longest yoga chain (think of it like a set of human dominoes falling into yoga poses). The current record? 696 yogis in India set in 2012.
After months of hard work and sleepless nights, it all came together. 808 Riskologists, WDSers, and local Portlanders came out to Pioneer Courthouse Square to blow the previous record out of the water.
How We Did It: It’s About Community
World records are tough. I’ve organized two now, and they’re a different beast from your typical event. At any other gathering, you simply get as many people together as you can and as long as everyone has a good time, the event is a success.
But when you’re trying to break a world record, success hinges on getting enough people to participate. We would have had a great time with 695 people (or even fewer), but the end result would still have disappointed.
A lot of people attempt records like this and fail. They don’t realize how much work it takes to plan and, most important, how critical it is to have an existing audience of fun, motivated people to help you break your record. For that, I can only say thank you to those who joined us.
If you’re starting from zero, it’s really hard. Just because you say you’re going to break a record and ask everyone you know to come help doesn’t mean all your friends will drop everything they’re doing.
The reason we succeeded with this record, I think, comes down to a few critical factors:
- We had an existing audience that was motivated to help. We’re incredibly fortunate to have the support of you—all the Riskologists who came out—as well as the amazing WDS audience who are always up for something fun and the great Portland community we gained access to by partnering with many local organizations like Yoga Rocks The Park and Jill Knouse Yoga.
- We had a team of intelligent people planning and promoting. An event like this doesn’t simply come together. It takes the dedicated planning of many intelligent people who give up time they’d be using to do any number of other things to be a part of something special like this. There are so many details to plan, so many risks to avoid, so many things to do. I’m the ringleader for these world record events, but my contribution is tiny compared to the efforts of the team.
- We made it about the community instead of ourselves. You wouldn’t think of it, but so many record attempts like this are nothing more than thinly veiled publicity stunts—big companies trying to get an audience together in order to sell something. Our events are completely self-funded, there’s zero advertising, and the goal is not to promote anyone. Instead, our only aim is to showcase the power of our community. We want to show the world what can be accomplished when we all rally around a shared goal.
It’s for these reasons I believe we succeed where others often fail. Of course, Big Dream Influence makes rallying the community an easier task.
Why This Record Is Important To All Of Us
The reason we all came together last week, I think, is best told with a short story from my past.
I used to be a construction manager at a big firm here in Portland, and one of my jobs was building a new elementary school. Each morning, I’d meet with the lead plumber, electrician, and carpenter to check on progress. One morning, I was walking the job site when I bumped into the plumber.
“What are you working on today?” I asked.
“Just putting a water line in the bathroom,” he replied.
I ran into the electrician and asked the same question.
“Well, I’m putting data cables in some of the classrooms.”
I walked on and finally found the carpenter. I asked him the same question. His reply?
“Oh, you know, just building an architectural masterpiece that will educate and inspire thousands of people for generations to come.”
I laughed at his answer—I really just wanted to know if he was on schedule or not. But, the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was the best answer anyone had ever given me.
We came together last week to do yoga, but The Great Namaste is not about yoga in the same way being a carpenter is not about swinging a hammer. It’s about building something. It’s about seeing your own contribution to something greater than yourself. And it’s about seeing the value of that contribution.
I’m not even a yoga guy. I’ve been to one, maybe two classes in my life. And that was the same story for many of the people who came out to The Great Namaste last week. We weren’t there to show off how great we were at yoga. We were there to show off how great we are when we all work together.
If you were there with us, you know how powerful of an experience it was. If you weren’t, I hope all the photos below give you a sense of the magnitude and value of the event, the connections made, and the fun had. Most of all, I hope we’ll see you at the next one.
Start planning for Summer, 2015!
All amazing images courtesy of Armosa Studios.