top of page

Practicing for a Mandala (48 Days)

It is believed that old habits die hard and new habits are hard to form. Espe­cial­ly as we grow old­er, we expe­ri­ence dif­fi­cul­ty in cre­at­ing new habits like going to the gym or keep­ing a dai­ly jour­nal. We either for­get or resist. Things that we repeat form a strong impres­sion in our neur­al path­ways and the only way to inte­grate them into our dai­ly life is to keep repeat­ing them until they become a habit.

Peo­ple who come to our yoga ses­sions share that they have tried var­i­ous forms of exer­cis­es and diet at dif­fer­ent points in time but haven’t been able to sus­tain the moti­va­tion. In the Indi­an yog­ic sys­tem, it has been adviced that any form of prac­tice be done for one Man­dala i.e 48 days. Just as the embryo needs to spend enough time in the womb to become a ful­ly formed child, a yog­ic prac­tice needs its time to mature with­in our sys­tem. It takes some time for our food to digest and give us ener­gy. Sim­i­lar­ly, it will take some time for the prac­tices to inte­grate with our sys­tem and offer us ben­e­fits.

While adopt­ing yog­ic prac­tices new­ly, we cre­ate a space in our mind for it. We also make the nec­es­sary adjust­ments in our envi­ron­ment to accom­mo­date the new habit, say an adjust­ment in our time sched­ule.

Neu­ro­sci­en­tists talk of Neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty which is the abil­i­ty of the brain to rewire itself. When stroke patients lose this neu­ro­plas­tic­i­ty they are advised to repeat cer­tain actions so that the neu­ronal con­nec­tions can be restored and strength­ened. Not only is rep­e­ti­tion impor­tant but the con­sis­ten­cy of prac­tice is also key in achiev­ing this plas­tic­i­ty. The same thing hap­pens when we repeat a yog­ic prac­tice. Ini­tial­ly, the neu­ronal con­nec­tions with respect to the prac­tice are loose but even­tu­al­ly strength­en through rep­e­ti­tion and this takes rough­ly 48 days.

It takes time for the mind and body to be tuned to this. Hence don’t be quick to judge, keep prac­tis­ing for a Man­dala and then beyond.

In spite of know­ing all this, we still can for­get or resist the prac­tices. So here are some tips! The sci­ence of habit for­ma­tion says:

  1. Reminders: Set a reminder on your phone or write it on a wall in front of your bed to take up that prac­tice every day.

  2. Track­ers: Have a chart where you put tal­ly marks as soon as you fin­ish the prac­tice. This will help you to track your progress. There must be lot of apps that help you with this.

  3. Sup­port Group: It would be ben­e­fi­cial to have a group of peo­ple doing the same prac­tice. Share your progress and moti­vate oth­ers who are on the verge of dis­con­tin­u­ing.

  4. Rou­tine: Allot a spe­cif­ic time in the day for the prac­tice

  5. Loud Mouth: Telling oth­ers about your “man­dala chal­lenge” so that there is a lit­tle bit of social pres­sure for you to com­plete. (Go get some “likes”).

  6. Resolve: If no sweet method is need­ed, you could just resolve to do..“just do it”.

  7. Visu­al­ize: Visu­al­ize that you have com­plet­ed the task and the sense of achieve­ment you feel. This can go a long way in help­ing you stay moti­vat­ed.

TAGS: yoga

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page