Several months ago, a friend mentioned that she was doing a 40-day challenge at a local yoga studio. She was only about halfway through the program, yet she felt she had already gained some perspective about her life. I was intrigued by — and perhaps skeptical about — her renewed energy and enthusiasm. I wondered: Can a person really change her life in just 40 days?
Master yoga teacher Baron Baptiste is the author of several books, including 40 Days to Personal Revolution, which asks participants to invest in yoga, meditation, nutrition, and journaling for 40 days.
Why 40 days? As Lisa Taylor, founder of Evolution Power Yoga in Pennsylvania, explains it, “It is believed that it takes 40 days to ingrain any new way of being into our system, and that is what we are aiming to do in this revolution: wipe out the old and welcome the new. In 40 days, you can shift into a whole new way of living and being.”
Baptiste (whose parents, Walt and Magana Baptiste, opened the first yoga studio in California in the 1950s) advocates hot power yoga and a philosophy that centers on vitality, strength, gratitude, and freedom. His style of yoga is adaptable to any level of physical ability, from beginner to advanced. There are many Baptiste-affiliated yoga studios throughout the world (as well as studios that aren’t officially affiliated but practice a similar style of yoga) that lead students through the program once or more per year.
Students are asked to practice yoga six days per week and meditate daily. Liz Snyder, owner of Home Power Yoga in New Jersey, says, “By far, the part of the program people are most resistant to is the mediation. They don’t see the importance or will say, ‘It’s not for me,’ because they hate the idea of sitting around doing nothing. But there are tangible benefits to meditating.” Participants are encouraged to start slowly and then increase their mediation time throughout the 40 days.
They are also encouraged to eat healthy and drink lots of water. Week four includes three days of eating only fruit.
As for journaling, the program asks participants to answer questions about themselves to help them get a more in-depth look at their goals, dreams, and internal road blocks. Taylor explains, “The more insight you have, the more empowered you can be about your life.” While it’s not therapy, the inquiry allows participants to excavate their minds. Snyder says, “Many people have never asked themselves, ‘What do I want? What’s in my way?’ and figuring out the answers can be life transforming.”
While people may enter the program with specific goals, they often exit having learned something about themselves they hadn’t realized before. “They may think they are there to lose 20 pounds, but then they discover through the journaling and mediation that their real goal is to feel good about themselves,” Taylor says.
Does It Work?
Snyder and Taylor have both participated and facilitated the 40-day program and say they have seen it help participants change their lives. Some have changed jobs, ended bad relationships, or embarked on a more lengthy journey into self-discovery. Taylor says she realized that she had to contribute to the world to feel valued. Snyder says she has participated in the program multiple times because there is always room for personal growth.
Would it work for you? We don’t know. But here’s what we are sure of: You won’t go wrong with a deep dive into yoga, meditation, and nutrition. Forty days of that will set you on a good path. What happens on day 41 and beyond is really up to you.