The whole is the goal. My 40 Days To Personal Revolution – by Al Washco- -
Several weeks ago, I was practicing at my local hot vinyasa studio in the US, just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. My friend Johnny, who introduced me to hot yoga several years ago was instructing the crowded class. He suddenly paused about 50 minutes into the practice, and I could sense him walking in my direction.
He paused from the flow for a moment and said, in front of the entire class, “Al – your movements and focus – wow, I haven’t seen you practice in a while. You were a bit of a mess last time I saw you, but you’ve really changed in an amazing way”. I was a little embarrassed to be called out in a class, especially when many of the participants have strong practices. He walked over to me and asked quietly, “what have you been doing?” I whispered back – “I found a special place called Lumi Yoga and learned that ‘The Whole is the Goal’ in the 40 Days programme – and I try to live it every day.”
Roll back almost 18 months to March 2017, when yes, I certainly was ‘a bit of mess’ in many ways – physically, mentally, emotionally, and my eating and drinking habits couldn’t be any worse.
As I arrived in London, I was keen to take action. I had been practicing at Lumi from time to time for about 6 months, and despite the fact that I could do only half of a 60 minute practice (lying on my back like a beached whale in pools of sweat for the remaining 30 minutes), I absolutely loved what I felt when I stepped inside the studio. So, I decided to commit to a regular practice for several months.
By September, I was physically in a much better place and my diet had improved. But there was something very intriguing to me about Lumi that was very different from any other yoga studio – the consistent messaging from the Lumi teachers about where your mind should be when you’re on the mat and the weekly ‘themes’ at the studio that were weaved into the practices – I felt there was more to all this than just the physical component of the practice and I wanted to learn more, I wanted to go to the next level…… which ultimately led me to join the 40 Days programme, a journey that resulted in a foundational change to my life.
The 40 Days to Personal Revolution programme is a challenging and rigorous experience with 4 components – daily hot yoga practice, integration of a mindful diet, personal inquiry, and meditation – all done for 40 consecutive days. There are also weekly meetings with the entire group, which is also divided into smaller teams which communicate regularly as well – this was an eye opening (and heart opening) part of the programme for me, as I felt that I became incredibly close with everyone. Each piece of this puzzle brings its own personal challenges, insights, and successes, but when combined into a single entity (the whole), the impact can last far longer than 40 days.
The critical part of the programme for me personally were the meditations. I have always trained physically (sometimes more than others), dieted (with inconsistent results), and considered myself a somewhat introspective person. Never once in my life, prior to 40 Days, did I ever meditate – and I was really worried about it.
I started with the 5 minute meditation during Week 1, and really struggled trying to ‘get it.’ I just couldn’t understand – and it was very, very difficult for me to sit still. However, I stuck with it, working my way to 10, then 15 minutes. As I began to get more comfortable with the meditations, I began to find a greater consistency with the physical practices, a clearer understanding of the personal excavations and readings, and a more meaningful understanding of what I put inside my body.
The meditations also helped me with the relationships that I formed with the members of my group, giving me space to develop a greater empathy and understanding for others. 40 Days was very challenging at times, but the key for me was consistent meditation, the glue that helped me develop the consistency and to understand ‘the whole’.
The 40 Days programme was an immersion into a new world for me – summed up by what I believe is the key lesson – ‘the whole is the goal’. This is not just about practicing hot yoga for 40 days in a row to improve strength and endurance – it’s about trying to achieve ‘the whole’, the sum of 4 separate parts – to obtain what I would describe as a new level of self-awareness.
My transformation occurred when I gave all four 4 parts of this equation equal attention and focus…each playing an important individual role, but in combination having a synergistic effect that allowed my journey to continue for many months after the end of 40 Days.
Ultimately, 40 Days is about listening and learning from others, thinking in a new way about how to approach everyday challenges, and most of all, how to improve your relationship with you. I am very happy that 9 months after finishing the 40 Day programme, my focus on ‘the whole’ continues with regular meditation, practices, healthy diet, and introspective personal inquiry. I’d like to thank Ari and Barbara C, my 40 Days guides, and the entire Lumi community for your kindness, acceptance, and caring.
The next 40 Days To Personal Revolution start on Sunday 23rd September. What are you waiting for? Sign up here. If not now, when?
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