Yoga And Fasting

Fasting can be described as the act of refraining from certain or all types of food and drinks, for a certain period of time.In the olden times, fasting was regarded as a spiritual or devotional act, performed to appease the Gods. However, in today’s world, people fast for different reasons.

Some people fast for religious and spiritual purposes, but for many, fasting is a way of losing weight or cleansing the body and flushing out all the toxins from it.


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Many people are also known to combine yoga and fasting, to maximize the effect of the act on their health. Many people who are aware of the benefits of detox fasting, but find it difficult to abstain from food completely, take up a yoga diet instead.Since the real yogis just ate to live, (and did not live to eat), they followed a yoga diet plan, which mainly included whole and healthy foods that provided the body with the required strength and energy, without allowing a person to go overboard. Just like you can choose from many yoga disciplines, there are a few different types of yoga fasting diet plans that you can use too. You have the option of a hatha yoga diet menu or a Bikram yoga diet plan for weight loss. Most yoga gurus or teachers advise people to follow a yoga diet to detox the body and complement their yoga workout routine.

Yoga and fasting go very much arm-in-arm. Fasting is a very important facet of Yoga for the growth of the spiritual aspirant, since Yoga is very beneficial to all seeking purification. One without the other will leave a void; this will only cause an imbalance on one level or the other. Hence, in Yoga, fasting is one of the very important tools for health and disease cure. A lot of people are learning the trick of healing their colds, headaches, nervous spells and other acute troubles just by skipping a few meals or going on a short fast. It is the easiest and the most effective way of relieving the overloaded and "toxic" system. You may be surprised to know how little food you actually require to keep yourself hale and hearty.

One of the commonest complaints when sick is that people "lose their appetite". In fact, it would be the greatest blessing to them to lose it long enough to be able to rediscover the pangs of hunger. Loss of appetite is a sign that the system is overcharged with poisons; it is nature’s way of trying to set things right by giving the waste accumulation a chance to escape from the system.

Fasting as a remedy is completely harmonious with the philosophy of "nature-cure". If the complaint is caused by an abnormal accumulation of toxins in the body, then fasting will help in their elimination. The linings of the stomach and intestine that act as a "sponge" to absorb food materials now get sufficiently squeezed to dispose of the waste matter from the body.

During a prolonged fast, people feel they should take complete rest. This however, is a complete fallacy. There is no reason why you should not do the same amount of work to finish your daily tasks, so long as they don’t strain your body and mind to the point of exhaustion.

In fact, fasting and Yoga complement each other perfectly. The combination of gentle moving, stretching and twisting along with deep breathing exercises, speeds up the detox process. The more you detox, the clearer you make the energy channels and the greater the effects of the Yoga practice on your system. This is highly beneficial both in the short term and long term. Besides it also makes the detox process easier and much more fun.

For one thing it makes you feel psychologically uplifted. Your mind gets strengthened to carry on and you get a clear indication of the energetic effects of Yoga. During the fasting program you are also encouraged to take certain herbs, powders and pills that facilitate elimination of toxins from the system.

When your get rid of these old toxins from your body, you will also be releasing negative emotions. Hatha Yoga, Pranayama, Kriyas and Meditation further abet this process. They are powerful tools that help bring the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies into a harmonious balance on all levels.

Yoga Diet

A yoga diet can be described as a branch of its own, known as Anna Yoga.

Unlike many other diet plans, the yoga diet plan or sattvic diet plan does not require people to go hungry. Following a yoga fasting program or even a yoga diet may be a bit of a challenge for most people, who are used to their fixed eating habits. Fortunately, with the right type of motivation and with the required levels of determination, people can switch over to the much healthier yoga diet and nutrition. Some people are under the misconception that yoga diet recipes are bland and tasteless. However, the main yoga diet purpose is fasting and eating foods that are organic. Hence, a good yoga diet meal plan comprises of fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds, nuts, as well as some amounts of dairy products. In fact people who join a yoga diet health retreat are actually served organic food, which could have Indian or Mediterranean flavors too. Although a yoga diet chart does not really require people to be vegetarian, but most people feel that since meat is heavier, it makes them feel a little less energetic. Since the yoga diet purpose is the elevation of consciousness to a higher stage, following a vegetarian diet is a lot more effective. An effective yoga diet menu plan will include:

  • Grains like cooked oats, cooked rice and wheat
  • Vegetables, such as turnips, radishes, onions, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, garlic, beets, green beans, cucumbers, carrots and asparagus
  • Fruits, which include melons, oranges, pineapples, papayas, lemons, grapefruit, coconut, berries, avocadoes, plums, peaches, mangoes, grapes, figs (fresh), cherries, bananas and apricots
  • Beans like chickpeas or garbanzo beans, lentils, soy bean, tofu and mung beans also called as green beans.
  • Most dairy products
  • Oil, such as olive oil or sesame oil
  • Herbs, especially healing herbs and sweet herbs. Contrary to what most people believe, the use of most of the bitter herbs, such as fenugreek, turmeric, coriander and parsley should be completely avoided
  • Certain spices, which have a positive impact on the health, like cloves, cumin, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom. However, spices should always be consumed only in moderate quantities.

Yoga For Fasting Guidelines

Just like there are guidelines for a yoga diet, there are certain guidelines in yoga for fasting too. Most people include fasting in a yoga diet to cleanse their bodies and eliminate all the toxins. However, fasting in yoga could be slightly difficult for people, at least for the first couple of days. Fortunately, there are several tips on detox fasting and how to speed up the process. Given below are some of the most common recommendations and tips on fasting and yoga.

  • Start off with a fast that lasts for no more than one day, to get an idea of how fasting feels and how difficult or easy it is.
  • For people who are used to eating 3 to 5 meals a day, going without food for a few hours could be a difficult task. In such instances, it is recommended that one full meal be consumed at around lunch time or so, with juice or other such beverages in between.
  • There are different types of fasts that people can choose from, which include the water fast, a vegetable juice fast, a fruit juice fast and so on. Regardless of the kind of fast being followed, it is important to drink a lot of water during the course of the day.
  • While a one day fast can include nothing more that liquids, following the same fasting plan for three days or longer may be a bit of a challenge. Therefore, people are advised to eat light foods like soup, salad or raw vegetables in between.

Breaking a fast can be as much as a challenge, as following one is, especially in case of the 3-day or 5-day fast, as the body has gotten used to the absence of food and eating could trigger off nausea or vomiting. Therefore, people are advised to start with light foods, such as fresh fruit, plain yogurt or salad, before moving towards their normal diets.

There is no rule that says people cannot exercise when they are fasting or following a yoga diet plan; however, heavy exercises, like running, jogging and swimming should be avoided. It is best for people to walk instead.

Even though there are many health benefits associated with yoga and fasting, these practices are not ideal for all people. There are many people who suffer from medical conditions, such as diabetes, and therefore, could have low blood sugar problems, in case they go on for a long period of time without food. Therefore, it is absolutely essential for people to consult a doctor and get a go ahead, before deciding to fast for even a single day.

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