Welcome to The Love Challenge!

Ten days to focus body, mind, and soul on love. Cue lone saxophone and a dozen conga drums, gently thumped. Yes, yes, yes, that's a nice idea, but really? Listen: To love well, in all senses of the word, takes practice. One must calm the mind, and train the body, and open the spirit. How's that exactly?

The paths are many, and we wouldn't dare prescribe yours, but we will say it can be done, and that it might be quite pleasant actually. Like any challenge, it takes a little commitment, a bit of structure, some support. Also a sense of humor. Generally speaking, that's what we do around here. What's the upside? More love.

To complete The Challenge, and take a small but important step toward being a Lover, you must achieve four love-related "feats," one each in the areas of Body, Belly, Mind, and Soul. We set the categories, and offer guidelines, but you get the final say on the exact nature of your feats. Make them up? Yes, and to help you in this, as well as generally inspire your efforts, we've recruited a crew of Spirit Guides. We've also lined up a number of lovely prizes. Please see boxes at right....

The Challenge will run from February 12 to February 22nd, so you have ten days to get the job done. To track your progress and register your accomplishments, you will simply click a button on a fancy new interactive page that we'll roll out when the starting gun fires. For now, all you have to do is browse the feat descriptions below, interrogate your heart, and then click on the bright purple buttons above to join us.

The Feats

BODY: Two Hours of Body! Love involves a physical relationship in some form, and such a relationhsip can be as rich and mutli-hued or narrow as the bodies involved. We're not talking simply about sex....

BELLY: One Wild Meal! Next to procreation, there is perhaps no more fundamental human activity than preparing food and eating. Romance is tied to candlelight dinners, marriage to all night feasts, and sex to aphrodisiacs, however mythical....

MIND: One Great Book Or Equivalent! Love is curious, it's thoughtful, it's open. And if the body needs to be strong and sensitive, so too the mind. Fortunately, in our cerebral society, there is no end to art and ideas dedicated to love....

SOUL: One Hour of Soul! You may come to this category with some skepticism. Even if you grant us some the existence of some vaguely defined notion of "soul," as distinct from mind and body (or belly), you would be right to wonder how exactly we suggest such a thing can be trained....

Ready to love? If you're already a Social Workout member, just click here! Otherwise, follow the two step process via the purple buttons above to the right. Meanwhile, feel free to check out your fellow, love-filled challengers!

Prizes!

GRAND PRIZE: Five days of yoga, surfing, and paddle boarding in Rincon, Puerto Rico with Jessica Bellofatto & Gina Bradley. Yes, all expenses paid. April 8- 12, 2010.

BODY, BELLY, MIND & SOUL FEAT PRIZES: $100 Spa Week® Gift Cards from Spa Week Daily! Indulge yourself with their February spa deals, or wait until
Spa Week® Spring 2010, when treatments are just $50 a piece.

Spirit Guides!

Agapi Stassinopoulos

Author and motivational speaker, Agapi was born in Athens, Greece and educated at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. She holds a Master's Degree in applied psychology from the University of Santa Monica. She is the author of Conversations with the Goddesses and Gods and Goddesses in Love, which has been translated in seven languages. Her one-woman show, Conversations with the Goddesses, became a PBS special and aired nationwide.

Jamil Moen

Writer and brilliant observer of the urban condition, Jamil was the longtime head of all things marketing for Kiki de Montparnasse, pioneer of the global luxury "intimate lifestyle" brand. With various Ivy League degrees completed or pending, and sophisticated experience with lingerie and instruments of pleasure, Jamil explores the wonders of love from the boudoir and beyond.

Patricia Moreno

Patricia Moreno's intenSati classes are closer to ecstatic revival meetings than group fitness classes. Her theology is love, sweat, and self-empowerment, and she's struck a deep chord. A star in the making, her first book, The intenSati Method: Seven Principles to Thinner Peace, just hit the shelves, with a flurry of favorable media attention, and she's poised to take the Sati Life movement from New York to the rest of the country. To see Patricia up close, check out Angela Jimenez' beautiful photo essay.

Tim Haft

Walk into the 14th St Y on a Monday night or the Greenpoint YMCA on a Wednesday night, and you will encounter an unusual sight: A few dozen exercisers, of diverse ages, sweating profusely and laughing hysterically while jumping rope, playing games, and running relays. Leading this spectacle will be Tim Haft, the man who has reclaimed recess for adults. A long time trainer, specializing in partner work, Tim does fitness with a rare combination of humor and humility. His is a labor of love, and he has inspired a growing network of Punk Ropers across the country. For more on Tim, check out Charity's great interview!



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