Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The 10,000-hour rule

In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell argues that 10,000 hours of deliberate practice is required to reach the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert -- in anything. I was thinking about this while lying in savasana last night (my mind was wandering) and started to do the calculations. I've been practicing Bikram Yoga about five times a week since August 1, 2008. That translates into 585 hours, a far cry from the 10,000 needed for true expertise. At this rate, I won't be a Bikram Yoga master for another 25 years!

Part of the reason I want to attend Teacher Training this fall is to help me evolve my practice. What better way to do this then to practice 16 hours a day, six days a week, for nine weeks? It'll be a once in a lifetime opportunity to focus solely on my yoga, without the other demands of life getting in the way.

From the stories I've heard, Teacher Training is no cakewalk. A typical day starts at 8 a.m. and goes until at least midnight, and includes two Bikram Yoga classes. Some days don't end until dawn, and you get only a few hours to sleep before it all starts again. I'd be lying if I said that the whole thing doesn't scare me. But I also know that my passion for this yoga surpasses almost everything else in my life and becoming a teacher may be the most important thing I do. If I can help inspire others the way my teachers have inspired me, I will be happy.

While Teacher Training will give me another 500 hours of practice under my belt, I’ll be in my late 50s by the time I become an expert if I’m bound by the 10,000-hour rule. Truth be told, I’m more interested in the journey than the destination. Practicing Bikram Yoga is something I enjoy and the rewards are inherent in the practice itself. Over the next 25 years, I look forward to sharing my passion for the yoga with others. Achieving mastery is gravy!


  1. Very cool about wanting to do TT. I have no plans to do it (tenure-track teacher--there's no leaving this job, and I dont' think they offer it in the summer) but would love to in the spirit of just learning more about yoga and the body.

    I love that this is the SECOND Gladwell post this week! (dancingj did so, too--different book.) Gladwell represents.

  2. Hi Chrissy, I just found your blog! Good for you on going to teacher training! I would love to do it one day. I'm sure you will learn an amazing amount about yourself and your yoga.