How to Fast Safely: Best Tips and Guidelines for Beginners
Fasting can be challenging and often a difficult task, especially if you do not have the habit of fasting. Most of us think that the most challenging part of fasting is the feeling of hunger. But this is not true. It is said that a person can stay without food for about a month. But we cannot live without water. An average man can stay without water only for up to 3 days. So, the most difficult part of fasting is to cope up with thirst.
With enough hydration you can avoid being thirsty and your stomach will not feel empty. Fasting is one of the best ways to self-cleanse your body. It also provides you a lot of physical and mental benefits. If you are thinking of fasting, it is important that you start preparing your body a day before you fast.
It is advised that you do not fast for not more than one day. In case you are planning to fast for multiple days, it is important that you keep a gap of one day between. You can also take the help of your doctor if you are fasting for a number of days. There are some factors that will help you take the decision yourself. The factors are:
Effective Fasting Factors:
- How much will power you have?
- What’s your body’s dosha type
- What are your eating habits
- The strength of your stomach
According to ayurveda, if you have a Vata body type, you should not try water fasting or be on any restricted diet for more than a day or two. This is because absolute fasting can wreck the metabolism of your body. If you are planning to fast, you should make sure that you include water with lemon juice or honey, fruit juices, yogurt or milk in your routine.
People with Pitta body type should make sure that they consume raw vegetables and fruits as well as water when they are on fasting. Water fasting is a complete ‘no’ for them. They may have diluted fruit juices or bitter vegetable juices. But they should not consume sour juices.
People with Kapha body type can fast on a weekly basis to improve their digestion and to maintain digestive health.
Here is given a step-by-step guide that will help you make your fasting simpler than before.
Start preparing your body:
People who fast usually suffer from headaches or nausea. This is because of the withdrawal of caffeine from the body. So, it is important that you reduce your caffeine intake a day or two before you start fasting.
Eat sufficient food on the previous day:
Remember to start your day with a heavy and healthy breakfast. This should be followed with a moderate lunch. Make sure that the final meal you take is about 1 hour before you start fasting. This will help in keeping your stomach full.
Avoid salty or thirst-inducing foods:
Try to avid foods that increase your thirst tea, coffee, chocolates etc. It is also important that you avoid salty foods as well as alcohol. They require extra water to be processed.
Avoid eating non-vegetarian food:
Since fasting is usually linked with spiritual practices, it is better that you do not eat on-vegetarian foods when you fast. Moreover, non-vegetarian food is heavy on the stomach and takes longer time to get digested.
Break the fast wisely:
Just as you get prepared for a fast, breaking the fast wisely is also very important. Make sure that you do not consume too much of food. This can affect the process of digestion in the body. Moreover, if you practice the same thing often, it can lead to obesity.
Drink plenty of water before breaking your fast. This helps in keeping your body hydrated and ready to take food again. Even if you did a liquid food fast, it is important that you drink a glass or two of water before you break your fast.
Make sure that you eat a light meal. Never break your fast by fasting on heavy food, as your body has grown used to taking in very little food. Your stomach will have shrunk. So, you will not take in too much of food at first. You can have a small meal consisting of vegetables and some protein to make your body able to digest food again.
Never have foods that do not digest easily, like beans, legumes etc. You can have them a few days after the fast. The day you complete your fast, you should take care not to drink alcohol. This is because it can have adverse effects on your body as your tolerance level at this time is very low.
Fasting Day – How to Begin?
- On the day of fasting make sure that you get up early in the morning, so that you can give a fresh start to your day.
- Have a head bath.
- Now you can practice pranayama. This helps in improving your concentration power and to add strength to your body.
- Since you are not taking any food, there is no supply of calories to your body. So, you will need proper rest.
- Do prayers. This helps in increasing your inner strength.
- Avoid going to the gym or any other workouts.
- Since fasting can lead to an increase of vata and pitta, try not to expose your body to sun and wind. This is because exposure to sun and wind are correlated to vata and pitta.
With proper care by taking proper precautions, you can complete your ayurvedic fasting successfully and smoothly. But it is a good idea to always keep your doctor’ number with you so that you can contact him in an emergency.