It’s not even 10 in the morning and I’ve already done my yoga: the chandra sequence. It’s Sunday, so I was planning to sleep in, but a screaming neighbor woke me around seven. Something didn’t work out in his garden, so he started yelling; at himself. I couldn’t sleep anymore and decided to make the best of my early morning by getting up and doing yoga. My seventh day in a row. I’m on a mission: my 40 day yoga challenge.
Why 40 days? Well, there is something special about ’40’. Musa spent 40 days on Mount Sinai where he received the 10 commandments. Jesus was tempted 40 days. Muhammad was praying and fasting in the cave for 40 days. When Noah was building his ark the rain poured for forty days and surrounded the world with water. Buddha reached enlightenment on the full moon in May after meditating under the bodhi tree … for forty days. In spiritual literature the number forty is used by God to represent a period of testing. There is a reason to it. Neurobiological studies prove that 40 days of repeated new behavior reprograms your brain by reversing neural pathways. It’s this reversal that changes your patterns and behaviors and that’s where we’re after with yoga.
See the problems in life come from our habits. Habits and behavior we’re mostly unknown of. Old emotions have left imprints – neurobiological pathways – in our brain. We act the way we’re programmed by these pathways. The habit is actually a subconscious chain reaction between the mind, the glandular system and the nervous system. If we want to change our habits, we have to change these pathways, therefor we have to reprogram our minds by repeated new behavior. If we do this less then 40 days, the new pathways won’t last and we will fall back on old behavior and no long lasting change will happen. As Yogi Bhajan (the great kundalini yogi) said it: “Therefore when we do sadhana, what do we do? We challenge the weakness, the laziness and our self-destruction. We challenge everything which is going to destroy us tomorrow.”
We want to create new habits: better ones, conscious once. To do so, we must repeat the new habit day after day. If we practice every day for 40 days straight we will break any negative habits. If we practice every day for 90 days straight we will establish a new habit in our conscious and subconscious minds. It will change us in a very deep way. If we practice day after day for 120 days straight this will confirm the new habit of consciousness. The positive benefits of our new habit get integrated permanently into our psyche. And if we practice every day for 1000 days straight our new habit will be so strong, no matter what will happen, our new habit will stick.
A thousand days of yoga in a row, doesn’t sound bad. But let’s start with these 40. Will you join me?