Many yogis are adamant about bringing the awareness and the mindset of their yoga practice beyond the boundaries of their mat. The traditional practice of yoga was a spiritual discipline as much as it was physical. In today’s modern age, we are often missing the integration of body, mind, and spirit that the ancient practitioners and fathers of yogic philosophy proposed.
For some individuals, diving into some of the ancient practices like fasting could be a way to deepen their current yoga practice. If you’re interested in this tradition, you should first understand the basics of what fasting is.
Most people would define fasting as a specific time where no food is consumed. Historically, fasting has been a large part of yoga practice and several other religious traditions. There are no set guidelines about how long you have to go without eating in order to be considered fasting.
Some yogis may find that they are able to go days without eating. Others may need to set aside just a few hours or a portion of several days in a row. Everyone has different caloric needs and body types, so you will need to experiment in order to discover what works best for your body. You don’t want to cause undue harm by incorporating fasting into your yoga practice.
This tradition should never lead to fainting or other serious health concerns. If it does, you should break the fast with gentle and easily digestible foods.
Fasting is about more than generating rapid weight loss in a relatively short period of time. Occasionally, the body may begin to feel overwhelmed by the sheer volume of food we consume on a daily basis. Toxins can build up and begin to jeopardize our physical wellbeing.
The goal of fasting is to restore a sense of balance within the body. For a short period of time, your organs can rest and reset themselves before beginning the pattern all over again.
However, fasting is also about more than taking care of your physical body for a few days. In traditional yoga practice, meditation plays a key role in connecting with your spiritual self. Many proponents of a regular fasting practice claim that lack of food could help you to reach new heights in your meditation practice.
Because your body isn’t focused on digesting your food, it has more energy and awareness when you sit down to clear your mind. These yogis believe that you can actually come to a sense of feeling grounded far quicker during a fasting session. If you’ve been struggling to find enlightenment or to find a new intention for your practice, fasting could help bring you to these higher planes of meditation.
Overall, you will need to consider what your goals are for a fast. It can certainly be a great way to bring your yoga practice deeper when it’s done properly. Think about what type of fasting may benefit you this season as you work to integrate your body, mind, and spirit into your practice.