I fast once a week for 24 hours. I skip food between two evening meals. I fast during Ekadashi and on a random day between two Ekadashi when it feels appropriate. In general, I also practice breaking fast only after I had a proper elimination in the morning. Therefore I often have lunch as my first meal.
I do fasting to
- give the digestion system a rest regularly and support the cleansing of the body
- connect back to the sensation of real hunger (vs appetite)
- stop identifying myself with my body
Sadhguru explains how fasting can purify the body and improves other dimensions of our lives more in-depth.
My observations during fasting:
- My body temperature drops. I need to make sure I keep my body warmer than usual (clothing, warm shower, heat-producing spices, asanas).
- When I start to run out of energy, the energy I still have, I will focus on things that matter to me. I become more focused.
- My body feels lighter. I can do asanas with more ease.
- My consciousness is rooted less in my body therefore it takes less effort to do spiritual practices
- I appreciate food much more when eating with real hunger
Here are some considerations that help me maximize the benefits of fasting:
- Going into and out of fasting should be a gradual process to avoid stressing the body. I eat kitchari before and after fasting for a gentle transition.
- During fasting, one can drink an infusion of ginger, black pepper, and cayane to help kindle the agni and burn away toxins. If one chooses to do juice fasting, grape juice (vata), pomegranate (pitta) and apple juice (kapha) diluted with water will be beneficial (Vasant Land: Ayurveda, The Science of Self-Healing, p86).
- If one needs to be active and yet wishes to keep the fast, warm water with a squeeze of lemon and honey is an excellent resource of energy too
- Skipping a meal if there’s no hunger
- Depending on one’s needs, the weather, and the season, fresh fruit, banana smoothie or, stewed apples are appropriate choices to break fast with