Misogi Challenge: A Japanese Ritual that Will Change Your Life

by Global Viewpoint
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Looking to take your life to the next level? Do you long for a transformative experience that will challenge you to push your limits and go on adventures? If so, then it’s time to learn about misogi!

Misogi is a Japanese term that refers to a unique and challenging practice of purification. In traditional Japanese culture, misogi involves immersing oneself in cold water or standing beneath a waterfall to purify the body and mind. But in contemporary times, misogi has taken on a broader meaning. It’s a challenge that pushes you to your limits and forces you to confront your fears, doubts, and weaknesses.

At its core, misogi is about transformation. It’s about shedding old habits and beliefs, and embracing a new, more powerful version of yourself. By pushing your physical, mental, and spiritual limits, you’ll discover a reservoir of strength and resilience that you never knew existed. You’ll gain a newfound sense of confidence and courage, and you’ll be better equipped to handle the challenges that life throws your way.

So if you’re ready to embark on a journey of self-discovery and transformation, it’s time to take the Misogi Challenge. Whether you choose to immerse yourself in cold water or push your body to the brink of exhaustion, the experience will be one that you’ll never forget. Get ready to push your limits and transform your life – the journey starts now!

Misogi ritual for personal development
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Misogi at a glance: the history behind it

Before diving into the Misogi Challenge and how you can use it to level up your life, let’s first cover its origins.

The practice of misogi has a rich history that dates back to Ancient Japan, where it was used as a method of purification and spiritual development. In Japanese Shinto culture, misogi involved submerging oneself in cold water — often standing underneath a waterfall — to cleanse the mind and body.

But don’t let the simplicity of the ritual fool you – misogi is no easy feat! Imagine standing beneath a freezing waterfall, with icy water pounding your head and body, and the roar of the water drowning out all other sounds. It’s a powerful and intense experience that requires a great deal of mental and physical fortitude. Plus, there are many scientific benefits that justify doing it!

Hiking up to the top of a mountain in bathing suit during a Wim Hof retreat
Hiking up to the top of a mountain in bathing suit during a Wim Hof retreat | Into the Wild Within

Misogi as a modern practice

Despite the challenges, the practice of misogi has endured over the centuries, thanks to its transformative power. Those who have completed a misogi ritual report feeling more clear-headed, energized, and focused, as though a weight has been lifted from their shoulders.

Over time, the practice of misogi has evolved and adapted to modern times. Today, people all over the world participate in misogi in various forms – from cold water immersion to extreme endurance challenges. The underlying principles, however, remain the same – the idea of pushing oneself to the limits in order to purify the body, mind, and spirit.

So if you’re ready to explore the history of misogi and experience the power of this ancient ritual for yourself, get ready for a transformative journey that will push you to your limits and beyond. Let’s dive head first into the Misogi Challenge of today.

Misogi is all about leaping into the unknown
Misogi is all about leaping into the unknown

The Misogi Challenge

The Misogi Challenge can be a life-changing experience. It’s all about doing one extremely challenging (and memorable) thing each year that has a profound impact on the other 364 days. Think of BIG ideas like running an ultra marathon or hiking to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Put something on your calendar that scares you, and then go out and do it.

Jesse Itzler, a successful entrepreneur and ultra-endurance athlete, is a big believer in the transformative power of Misogi. He’s completed a number of Misogi challenges himself, and he’s now helping others discover the incredible benefits of this ancient practice.

I recently listened to Jesse discuss the Misogi challenge on a podcast and was blown away by the concept. As Jesse puts it, “Misogi is about taking on something that’s so difficult, so far beyond what you think you can do, that it forces you to dig deep and find a new level of strength and resilience.”

And that’s exactly what makes Misogi so powerful. By pushing yourself to your limits and beyond, you’ll discover a well of strength and determination that you never knew you had. You’ll gain a newfound sense of confidence and courage that will spill over into every other area of your life. As a travel blogger, I’ve been doing this challenge subconsciously over the years. But now, I absolutely want to be more intentional about it.

But don’t just take Jesse’s word for it – try it for yourself. Whether you choose to immerse yourself in cold water or push your body to its absolute limits, the experience will be one that you’ll never forget. And the benefits will be tangible and long-lasting.

Jumping into an ice cold lake in Iceland
Jumping into an ice cold lake in Iceland

Misogi tips

Before diving into some Misogi examples and ideas that you can start using in your life, let’s first cover a few tips.

Choosing a Misogi challenge can be a daunting task. With so many options out there, how do you know which one is right for you? Here are 5 tips to help you choose the perfect Misogi challenge for your needs:

1. Find a challenge that excites you:

Your Misogi challenge should be something that gets you fired up and excited to get started. Whether it’s a physical challenge that requires you to push your body to the limit, or a mental challenge that forces you to confront your deepest fears and anxieties, make sure it’s something that truly resonates with you.

2. Push yourself out of your comfort zone:

The whole point of Misogi is to stretch yourself beyond what you thought was possible. Achieving something where there is a significant probability of failure will help you conquer your fear of failure. It will also show you what your true potential is. So when choosing a challenge, make sure it’s something that pushes you out of your comfort zone and forces you to confront your limitations.

3. Set realistic goals:

While it’s important to push yourself, you also need to be realistic about what you can accomplish. Make sure your Misogi challenge is challenging enough to be transformative, but not so impossible that you don’t stand a chance of success. Also, the Misogi exercise doesn’t have to take a long time. Even just a full-day experience can have long-lasting effects.

4. Choose a challenge that aligns with your values:

Misogi is not just about physical or mental endurance – it’s also about spiritual development and personal growth. So when choosing a challenge, ensure it aligns with your values and helps you connect with something larger than yourself.

5. Have fun with it:

Misogi may be challenging, but it should also be fun! Choose a challenge that excites you and that you can enjoy along the way. Remember, the journey is just as important as the destination.

For more content about Misogi growth challenges, I highly recommend reading this book: The Comfort Crisis: Embrace Discomfort To Reclaim Your Wild, Happy, Healthy Self by Michael Easter.

Misogi examples

There are many different forms of Misogi challenges out there, each with their own unique set of physical and mental demands. The idea is to do something “crazy” and uncommon. That way, you are challenging yourself versus somebody else.

Here are some Misogi examples from my life and others that are on my bucket list:

Misogi ideas that are physical:

  • Hiking to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro: A 19,340-ft. climb up Africa’s highest mountain
  • Run an ultra marathon: Any running race over a marathon (>26.3 miles)
  • Complete an ironman triathlon: Consists of 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile marathon
  • 29029 Challenge: Hiking 29,029 feet – the equivalent of Mt. Everest in 36 hours.
  • Bike ride across the US: Covers a distance of 2,500-3,500 miles
  • Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James) Pilgrimage: A long trek through Spain (and neighboring countries)
  • Doing a polar plunge: Perhaps consider in the ocean or an ice cold lake
  • Week-long camping adventure: It could be in a national park or any other nature reserve that interests you
  • Skydiving: Choose a place that excites and inspires you
  • Trek to Machu Picchu: This is one of the most famous hikes in South America
  • Master a handstand: Or learn some unique body inversions in yoga!

Keep in mind, these Misogi ideas are merely that…ideas! It’s better to do challenges that are more uncommon to make the experience truly yours. So, instead of hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro, perhaps think about the Matterhorn, Denali, or Mt. Rainier. Whatever feels true and meaningful to you!

Misogi ideas that are mental

  • Starting a business
  • Travel to a new country or continent once per year
  • Attempt to set a Guinness World Record
  • Sing or dance to an audience
  • Do a volunteer trip
  • Publish a book
  • Live in a foreign country

Misogi examples that are spiritual

  • Visit Burning Man
  • Attend a silent retreat or another kind of meditation retreat
  • Go to an Ayahuasca ceremony
  • Become a Reiki master
  • Go to a yoga retreat in India
  • Spend time at a monastery in Tibet
  • Attend a Native American sweat lodge ceremony (“Temazcal”)
  • Visit the holy sites in Jerusalem or Mecca
This sweat lodge ceremony in Tulum could be a Misogi challenge
This sweat lodge ceremony in Tulum could be a Misogi challenge

Last thoughts on the Misogi

I believe that everyone, regardless of their physical and mental abilities, should do a Misogi. Not only will it show you your true potential, but it will also help you build self-confidence – knowing that you honored your word and did something truly incredible.

Life nowadays has gotten way too easy. Many of us avoid distress at all costs, resulting in comfort zone behavior. It’s no wonder, then, that there’s a mental health pandemic and most people are ill-equipped to deal with stress. By seeking out difficult challenges, we are priming our minds and bodies to perform better – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Our ancestors faced adversity each and every day, and we are adapted to do the same. By engaging in a massive growth opportunity once per year, we will be better for it. In the process, we will learn a heck of a lot about ourselves and our abilities. Without challenges, there is no growth. Misogi offers a unique opportunity to do just that. So start applying this ancient wisdom in your life in 2023!

Comfort zone challenges called the Misogi
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