Fasting - An Ancient Technique to Reboot the Mind and Body

A discipline that anchors physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Fasting - A discipline that anchors physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Fasting - A discipline that anchors physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.Unsplash

In Sanskrit, fasting is termed as 'Upavasa', 'Upa' means 'near', and 'vasa' means 'to stay' implicating 'to stay near (The Lord)'.

The root word thus has an inbuilt orientation of divine therapy. In Ayurveda, it is considered a type of 'Daivavyapashraya chikitsa' (Spiritual therapy) and one among ten 'Langhana' therapies (that which produces lightness in the body).

Fasting is a vital practice essential for maintaining and retaining health. We are consuming more processed foods loaded with pesticides, fungicides, artificial fertilizers, preservatives, and chemical additives than ever before. Additionally, when we overeat and choose poor-quality foods, it takes a toll on digestion leading to the accumulation of undigested food matter.

Fasting - A discipline that anchors physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
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A Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2016 for his research on how cells recycle and renew their content, a process called Autophagy which is activated by fasting. Autophagy helps in slowing down the aging process. It also has a positive impact on cell renewal.

Autophagy helps in slowing down the aging process. It also has a positive impact on cell renewal.
Autophagy helps in slowing down the aging process. It also has a positive impact on cell renewal. Unsplash

In addition to the above mentioned aspects of fasting, it has covered an array of spiritual importance as well, it plays a role in controlling desire, anger, greed, lust, and is believed that a person who practices fasting enjoys profound mental peace.

A five-day fast incorporated from the beginning of treatment can cure diseases pertaining to GI Tract, eyes, common cold, ulcer, and fever.
Dr Padma Bhat, B.A.M.S, MS (Ayurveda), PhD
Fasting - A discipline that anchors physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
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How to Fast?

Before fasting, it is important to consider one's body constitution, health condition, digestion, and metabolism. Ayurveda opines that a person who is aware of his being and then takes further action is considered wise. So, it is always ideal to choose the right direction before fasting.

There are 2 main types of fasting as explained in Ayurveda

1. Nirahara - Without taking any food

a) Sajala - with drinking water

b) Nirjala - without drinking water

2. Phalahara - With fruits

Contraindications of Fasting:

1. One who lives in a hot climate

2. One who does a lot of physically strenuous activities

3. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers

4. Geriatric patients

5. Chronic illness

6. Underweight and undernourished

Nature has given gifts that are very amicable to adapt to a healthy life, amongst which fasting requires no fancy items rather, a simple, and wise technique is sufficient.

References:

1. https://en.banglapedia.org/index.php/Upavasa

2. https://www.bluezones.com/2018/10/fasting-for-health-and-longevity-nobel-prize-winning-research-on-cell-aging/

3. https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/blog-the-banyan-insight/details/how-to-fast-the-ayurvedic-way/

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Fasting - A discipline that anchors physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
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