“The greatest discovery by modern man is the power to rejuvenate himself physically, mentally, and spiritually with rational fasting.”
No matter what medicinal path you are on, all of them recognize the observance of fasting in a way or another. Ayurveda too has indexed about it convincingly and it forms a great part of detoxification treatment.
Western medication, too, believes in the self-mending capacities of the body during a fast. Long term or short-term, fasting is prescribed in all faiths as a form of other-worldly purification in addition to the corporeal ones.
A Different Approach to Fasting
In a larger context, fasting caters to the needs of the body, mind, and soul. In other words, think of it as the elimination of physical, emotional and mental toxins, and not just giving up of food.
Spiritual fasting usually involves a certain degree of isolation–removal of oneself from worldly responsibilities. It means social isolation, which is also the current state of most of us; it can prove to be restorative, especially to the ones who have invested their energy outward. It is, hence, vital to withdraw from anything that you believe is toxic for your mind, body, and soul.
Coming straight away to the benefits, fasting is seen as a Niyama or a strict observance, that challenges our resolution. We abstain, primarily from eating, giving a priority to “will” over the “instinct”– conscious maneuvering versus physical desire.
Second, being more conscious makes us more aware. Physical hunger makes us aware of our bodily needs and internal processes. A great outcome, therefore, is to regulate our activities, ensuring we don’t waste our energy.
Lastly, and most importantly, by giving the body a break from digestion, absorption, and expulsion, we give it time to renew and restore.
Animal Fasting: It’s a Natural Instinct
Did you know, the natural instinct of animals is to fast when they face any illness? Their curative strategy? It’s pretty simple– light, fresh air, abstinence and rest.
Digestion requires energy which could instead be used by the body when braving an illness.
All those who take nature as an example, resort to fasting, a day or two of which is enough to eliminate illness from the roots.
Seems like we can finally turn our perspective of this dreadful global situation into something positive.
Co-incidentally, not only are we in a state of inactivity at present, but spring is also considered to be the best time for any detoxification or purification pursuits in Ayurveda. The rising temperature of this season liquefies the accumulated toxins (Kapha) during the winters. Spring cleaning, therefore, aims to reduce, if not eliminate those toxins altogether.
Intelligent Fasting: Why Now’s the Best Time?
The significance of fasting during a complete shutdown is much more than when we are busy with our lifestyles. It’s a chance not to be missed.
It’s all about energy expenditure during our quotidian-lifestyle. Fasting at a time like is detrimental. We must ensure that we have an adequate opportunity to take that break.
In the words of the master himself:
“And how does fasting purify? Because whenever you are on a fast the body has no more work of digestion. In that period the body can work in throwing out dead cells, toxins. When the body has nothing to digest, it starts a self-cleaning process spontaneously and starts throwing out all that is not needed. Fasting is a method of purification.” – Osho
The method of fasting is an effective way to rekindle the digestive fire and terminate the toxins. According to the studies, a short term fast is more favorable than a longe-term fast and entails fasting a day each week, or setting aside a few days in a month.
A more extensive fast is best during the change of season. It regulates the digestive system, brings a feeling of lightness to the body and improves mental clarity.
In The End
“Once in a while, a fast is beautiful – not doing anything, not eating, just resting. Take as much liquid as possible and just rest, and the body will be cleaned. Sometimes, if you feel that a longer fast is needed, you can do a longer fast also – but be deep in love with the body. And if you feel the fast is harming the body in any way, stop it. If the fast is helping the body, you will feel more energetic; you will feel more alive; you will feel rejuvenated, vitalized. This should be the criterion: if you start feeling that you are getting weaker, if you start feeling that a subtle trembling is coming into the body, then be aware – now the thing is no longer a purification. It has become destructive. Stop it. “- Osho
Ayurveda strives to address not just the body, but mind and soul also. It is not a means of “short-term gratification”. It is the practice of sustenance endeavoring for the best that we can. But how do we know that giving up is really for the best? Listen to yourself— your body will acknowledge and your mind will pacify. It’s a win-win situation.