In recent years, medical experts have begun to understand the seemingly intangible relationship between physical and mental health. Good health, as we know is more than a disease-free body. Good health, is a stress-free frame of mind and vibrant energy. When one cleanses, toxic waste is removed and disease is removed. The process also causes feelings of toxicity and a range of negative emotions, as if the emotions are stored with the waste. When you cleanse, a total sense of well-bring can be created for your system.
Fasting is an ancient tradition practiced by most cultures for thousands of years, used for spiritual purposes, for physical purification before performing a ritual act or rite of passage, and self-discipline or asceticism. Among some Native American tribes, fasting is the primary means to stimulate ecstatic experiences on a vision quest.
In today’s world, many are partaking in a fast in order to lose weight. It seems that most Westerners come about the idea to fast when they reach an awareness that it is time to clean, renew and perhaps kick start the body into a new state of wellness. They come into the idea from the position of wanting to look and feel better, and with time and experience, as well as the combined practices of yoga and meditation accompanying the fast, they can quickly learn about the other benefits.
Some of the best yoga practices in your life can happen while being completely empty. You may be able to actually feel your internal organs, twist deeper and get into the meditative quality of the practice while on a fast. You needn’t feel like you don’t have enough energy for the practice; it’s nice to do something gentle but if the body is used to yoga, it feels good to move into spaces you don’t normally have, especially in twists.
Meditations can also go deeper while fasting. It is interesting to feel one’s mind settle more quickly when going in, like a switch turning on. It can take at least thirty minutes of an hour long silent meditation at times to get into the flow when one is more connected to the grounding experiences when taking food. When the body is empty, experiencing the higher chakras in meditative states is easy, and bringing about the sense of “no mind” that meditators and yogis are able to achieve with as much practice and stillness is also possible.
When the body is allowed to rest internally, with no energy being spent on the digestion of food, a deeper clean can happen which allows for the regeneration of cells. It is highly recommended to use colonics when cleansing, assisting in drawing out toxins through the colon. When waste is disposed of in this way, it is like the reset button has been pressed internally. Vitamins and minerals are absorbed better through the internal organs, allowing the body space for less food to have to be taken in order to get the same health benefits and feeling of fullness. Glands and tissues also benefit from this time of rest; clearer eyes, skin and appearing younger can result.
Breaking the fast is as important as doing it, as eating things too hard on the body all at once can be damaging, causing bloating, yeast infections in women or indigestion. Those who have not been careful with sugar intake (even in fruits) or have not incorporated enough probiotic content that needs to be replaced once the body is emptied have also been known to cause the very problems they were trying to eliminate after the fast. Be sure to eat wisely upon completion. It is a nice idea to eat a bowl of cucumber to break it, or a bowl of fruit if there is no worry about candida or sugars and how they affect the body.
Fasting is an excellent compliment to your yoga practice if you are on the path to optimal health. It is recommended once a year, as is an annual yoga retreat, and consistent meditations of all sorts, not just the silent sits. See my next article on moving meditations and Osho Rajneesh.