40 Ways to Do 40 Days

In almost every spiritual tradition, there is an understanding that a profound change in consciousness generally requires 40 days to accomplish. The story of Jesus Christ fasting in the wilderness for 40 days, the parable of the great flood for 40 days (which shows up in several religions), Buddha meditating under the Bodhi tree for 40 days, the Egyptian alchemy view that it takes 40 days for the soul to be liberated from the physical body and so forth.

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Western psychologists in the 1960s discovered that it took 6-weeks (40 days) to alter habitual patterns (hence the early 6-week smoking cessation clinics).

And in Kundalini Yoga, we know that to establish a positive habit pattern or eliminate a negative one, it also requires 40-days of meditation.

When you can apply yourself to anything for a 40-day period, you can create a powerful new habit.  It’s a psychological fact and a long spiritual tradition.

And while we all may begin a 40-day Kundalini Yoga meditation practice with enthusiasm, there will be bumps along the way.

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Here are some hints and suggestions to do your 40 days in 40 ways!

  1. Start today.
  2. Mark off days on a calendar.
  3. Set up a daily email reminder on your computer.
  4. Make a note card that says “Yoga” – put it on your pillow after you get up.
  5. Get someone to be your 40-day yoga practice friend.
  6. Make another positive change in your life at the same time (diet, exercise, etc.)
  7. Create a routine, same time every day.
  8. Reward yourself at the end of each week.
  9. Talk about it (Facebook it!) so people will ask you how you are doing with it.
  10. Read an inspiring book over the 40-days.
  11. Visualize what you will be like after 40 days and write it down.
  12. Write in a journal every day.
  13. Keep it fresh, vary the setting.
  14. Do it especially when you are traveling or away from home.
  15. If you get sick, spend the time visualizing that you are doing your yoga.
  16. Be realistic, set a small goal you know you can reach and then exceed.
  17. Know you will hit a wall and be prepared to climb over it.
  18. Watch for how your mind will try to trick you.
  19. Be grateful.
  20. Take the results into the real world.
  21. All excuses are self-abuses.
  22. Inspire someone else to do it.
  23. Put a note in your car or on your computer – remind yourself of your higher self.
  24. If you miss one day, never miss the next day.
  25. If you miss one day, do it twice the next day.
  26. If you miss one day, add a day.
  27. If you miss one day, start over for another 40 days.
  28. Document your avoidance behavior.
  29. Take a picture of yourself after every week – before and after 40 days!
  30. Remember why you did this in the first place.
  31. Pray.
  32. Laugh.
  33. Remember it’s okay to feel bad when you are trying to be better.
  34. Never negotiate with your mind – command it.
  35. Not having the time is not acceptable.
  36. Idiots think – saints do.
  37. Keep up and you will be kept up.
  38. Think about your next 40 days.
  39. The victory in life comes from winning the small battles.
  40. Don’t stop. 40 days is just a beginning!

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