by Jason Scholder
People ask me all the time how I came up with the Three Minute Egg®. The real story often surprises us both. The Three Minute Egg®, while an excellent or Eggs-cellent idea, was not the product of detailed planning, precise instrumentation or divine inspiration. While I can’t actually prove that last one, I am quite confident about the first two.
I am a recovering Cabinet and Furniture Maker, and before that, I was a recovering Artist. The Three Minute Egg® came into existence while I was making my own version of something which already existed. But experimentation got the better of me and the Egg was the result.
Throughout my life, I’ve endured a number of back injuries. When I was 9 years old, I fell maybe 6 feet off a jungle gym flat on my back. In high school I was hurled into a windowsill by the school psycho striking my lower back. And at 30 years of age, I took a header off my mountain bike.
None of this stopped me from pursuing a career as a craftsman — a field where heavy machinery was sometimes outweighed by even heavier finished products. At age 34, having been diagnosed by multiple experts as having the back of a 75-year-old man, I quit building furniture. I sold my shop, moved across the country, and dedicated myself to my spiritual evolution.
During these years of intense spiritual inquiry, I toyed with many possible new career paths; among them becoming a professional Poker player. Simultaneously, having moved from the television and movie capital of the world (Los Angeles, CA), to the furniture capital of the world (Asheville, NC), I wrote my first script and began a career in television and film (or as my salty dog friend likes to remind me — video). All the while, I would try anything to help my back. I’ve been to a multitude of chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, and vibrational healers. All of them led me to wanting to heal myself.
One day someone turned me onto the Heart Block, a not-so-user-friendly dinosaur bone-looking wooden slab, which could just as easily have been designed as a torture device. However, the moment I laid down on it, my back popped in half a dozen places and I stood up feeling great! After driving to my friend’s house on a daily basis to lie-down on this thing, it soon became obvious that I should just make one myself. And so back into the wood-shop I went.
Due to the economics of wood, grain direction, and milling biases, I was compelled to make 2 of them. The shapes left over were really cool looking, and since I was in the mood to experiment, I began carving them into the shapes they more or less wanted to be anyway. One of those shapes was what we now all call the Three Minute Egg®! The Eggs did everything the Heart Block could do, times infinity. So I quickly abandoned the fossil, and made my move with the Egg. I used this Egg on a daily basis, and since I was out of a job and had been compassionately labelled “unmanageable” by the one person I’d applied to work for, I decided to see if I could sell them.
A brief flurry of market research and consultations with health-professionals led me to believe that there was a market for the Eggs, but they needed to be softer. Since I was already familiar with traditional yoga blocks, making them out of foam seemed like an easy and obvious choice. Doing so cut down on weight, labour, dead trees, and potential damage to the spinous process. They would also be far easier to reproduce and less expensive for my customers. A friend of mine’s father sourced manufacturers for me while I took a crash-course in entrepreneurship. I emerged 10 weeks later, the Egg man.
After six months of weekly tutelage from a North Carolina-based business development team, I’d written my first business plan! This was by no means my first business — I have been a pathological entrepreneur since doubling my money on a yo-yo in the 4th grade — but it was the first time I had a plan. Once I had a plan, a lot of things started falling into place.
Mostly I am self-financed, having fully leveraged my home in order to start both businesses (I also own a boutique production company called Reel Change Films, which makes all my videos), and deferred my salary until I get over the break-even point — soon, I hope! But I have also received modest funding from close friends, and a generous Small Business Loan from Advantage West — an economic development group supporting small businesses in Western North Carolina.
My business keeps me busy. I exhibit at all the major Yoga conferences in the U.S. and Canada, and some of the minor ones. Newspapers and bloggers contact me now and then, and my Eggs are being used all over the world. Had I known what was in store for me when I set about marketing an international fitness product, I might never have started. Luckily for me, I had no idea!
This has been by far the most challenging endeavour of my life — and I say that as the father of a 3-year-old girl! Perhaps by the time she’s a teenager, my barometer for “challenging” will have changed. Meanwhile, both are extremely rewarding.
I am humbled by how much people love these Eggs, and grateful to everyone who has invited them into their practice. Some have even admitted they wished they thought of it first. The benefits are so obvious once you try them; I can’t believe no one else did.
I have my work cut out for me in an environment where traditions date back for millennia, gurus have the last word, and blocks have been status-quo for years. I encourage people to, “Think Outside the Blocks” because the need for change isn’t always obvious. But when better options reveal themselves, shift happens. Each time someone tells me how great these are, it touches me more deeply than I ever could have imagined. With every new Egg-lover, I’m inspired to make more Eggs.
Yoga is based on openness and flexibility — both of which come with time. I feel fortunate that in a very short time, the Yoga community has embraced the Three Minute Egg®. Thanks to the grassroots evangelism of numerous early-adapters, word of the Egg is spreading. Its acceptance in the global Yoga community is increasing, as more and more people get Eggs-perienced.
Thank you for sharing in the journey with me.