DAY 7. (read to the end for your challenge today)
Fasting for health.
Fasting is an extremely effective way to cleanse and purify the body and mind. A fast allows the entire digestive system time to rest, and the energy that you would normally use to digest and absorb food is instead used to repair and strengthen all of your body systems. In addition, many people find that fasting makes them feel particularly alert and clear-headed, enabling them to focus better and achieve longer periods of concentration or meditation.
Fasting is an act of self-discipline that should be carefully managed. Yoga does not condone extreme self-depravation. A fast should be used only to cleanse your system and restore balance to your body. Fasting should be avoided by anyone who is unwell, pregnant, breastfeeding or taking prescribed medication, unless under strict supervision. It should also not be treated as a quick way to lose weight.
A short fast can last between 1 – 3 days. Try to plan to fast during a period where you don’t have to work and are able to devote your time to rest. Two days before a fast, you should prepare your body by simplifying your diet to a few ingredients.
On the day of your fast, eliminate all solid foods and drink either fruit or vegetable juice (don’t mix them – our body uses different enzymes to digest them). Drink up to about 4 litres of juice a day and try to “chew” it rather than simply gulp it down – this aids in digestion.
During a fast, toxins and impurities are released from the body through all the organs of elimination, including the skin. Wash regularly and try brushing the skin with a natural vegetable bristle brush, which helps remove dead skin cells and stimulate circulation and the nervous system. Try avoiding the use of skin products during your fast as these can block the pores. You may experience skin eruptions as the body goes through its internal cleaning process, but these should clear up in a couple days.
Juices have the best nutritional and pranic qualities when they are freshly pressed, and can be an important part of your diet when fasting. You can buy unsweetened, organic fruit juices from the supermarket and health-food shops, but the best option is to make them yourself at home.
Make sure that the fruit or vegetables you choose are firm, fresh and thoroughly washed. If possible, buy organic product.
Quick tip: the addition of a small amount of lemon juice to a freshly made juice wills top it from turning brown when it comes in contact with the air.
Left-over juice can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge but keep in mind, freshly squeezed juice does not keep long. It’s best to make small amounts frequently and drink them all at once.
*Juices are best drunk at room temperature rather than cold.
Breaking your fast should be a slow and gentle process so that your body has a chance to re-adjust. On the last day of your fast, eat one type of fruit (avoid acidic fruits such as oranges). Then, the following morning, at around 10am, eat some more fruit and perhaps a yogurt. Have a similar meal in the evening at around 5pm. The next day, introduce raw vegetables and salads. The following day you can add rice and other grains, perhaps some steamed vegetables as well. After this, you can return to eating normally!
Day 7 challenge:
Have you ever fasted? Would you try it? Let us know in the comment box below.
All participants’ names will be entered in our 30 days of yoga with hipS-sister draw Oct. 1st.
Tomorrow, we have a look at understanding posture.