40 Days in 40 Ways


By Gabriella Singh

How would most of your friends respond if you told them that you were starting
a commitment to doing 40 days of yoga? While it’s a given that you’ll get a mixed
bag of reactions, everyone of their questions begins with the startled reaction of,
“but WHY!?”

Without an answer to provide I started a journey of a committed yoga
practice (5 times a week in studio, once at home), twice daily meditation and
weekly ‘excavation questions’. Along with 40 other people at, The Power Living
Yoga Studio, in Sydney.

Week One held the theme of Presence, perhaps one of the most fundamental
tenets of yoga and the perfect starting point for anyone wanting to change their
habits or lifestyle, simply because we’re so unconscious of them of course!

Week One flowed into Two with fairly little misery (despite a growing tiredness of
having to get up at 5:30am for a 6am class everyday). Week Two’s theme was
Vitality. Our twice daily meditations had moved from 5 to 10 minutes twice a day
and it was interesting to see the struggle and negative reactions that people felt
in getting this done. I mean, why bother “meditating” when you can just go to
sleep, right? Well, we’ll come to that.

By Week Three things were starting to get into full force, with a growing bond to our
classes and teachers, as well as each other. Weekly meetings meant we could
discuss our fears, difficulties, triumphs, advice and experiences in a revitalising
space. In this week our theme was Equanimity, perhaps one of the most
significant feelings to become aware of in our over scheduled, 21st century lives.
Looking at Equanimity (meaning calmness and composure, especially in a
difficult situation) allowed a lens into accepting all those things that grate
against us every day. The person that cut you off, an untidy flatmate or the
draining co-worker, and to understand why these things push our buttons and
why we react the way we do. It’s a universal human feeling that in recognising it
alone, allows us power to move away from.

Restoration was the relieving theme for Week Four, and while we were told to “treat
yourself!,” it was also still a time for anguish given that we were expected to
participate in a 3 day fruit fast. I know what you’re thinking here, and the answer
is in the statement. No loop holes, just fruit, for 3 days. Boom. My experience of
this is a somewhat amusing tale from an outsiders perspective as I started my
first day on the backfoot of being hungover (I know, I know). Having only eaten a
mango and some coconut water by 1pm I made it to a hair appointment which
seemed easy enough. Alas, it wasn’t, given that within an hour of sitting there
getting my colour done I had thrown up in their bathroom twice. Nice. Only to be
followed by being sick in the back alley an hour after that because the bathroom
was full. Yep – we keep it classy here Down Under. Ironically it was in sharing
this story – among many others – with the group that we became closer as we
shared each others trials and triumphs.

Week Five’s theme of Centring felt extremely apt as we had solidified our
awareness and commitment and attempted to figure out how to balance new
skills with our daily lives. The focus on balance is one so rarely touched upon
when we’re trying to get a beach body by the weekend!

I can hear you ask, “so what was the fundamental lesson learned (and ergo
purpose to this whole commitment)? Superficially, its realising the significance of
meditation. I know, your think, YAWN, but if you dig a little deeper, this little tool
can help you unlock all the blocks in your life that we all stumble across from day
to day. You can learn not to feel guilt about insignificant things, release worry,
be amused by irritations and most importantly dream those dreams you are too
self-conscious to tell anyone.

In our final weekly meeting as a group in Week Six (theme – Triumph) the final
question we were asked was “what would you do if you could not fail?”. Again,
the answer to your confusion is in the statement. The first thing that comes to
your mind, say it out loud and make it come true.

Gabriella Singh is a freelance writer, producer, gourmand and coconut water
enthusiast. In between her travels around the globe you’ll be able to find her
amongst the beaches and bays of Sydney and indulging in bookshops and raw