Question: What’s so good about fasting? How long does it last?
Fasting is one of the secrets of long life. Your body, and your digestive organs in particular, are required to work and work without any vacation. You know that you require rest from your work or your school from time to time. In the same way, your digestive system needs a rest from time to time.
Periodic fasting provides the rest for your digestive system. It allows your digestive system to recuperate from the rough treatment that you may have given it by overeating or eating the wrong foods or eating at the wrong time.
In addition fasting also provides an opportunity to eliminate many toxins from your body. After fasting, you should take some lemon water with a bit of salt. This drink helps to flush the digestive system, eliminating waste material that might otherwise remain in the body if you didn’t fast.
Fasting also helps you to keep a balanced mind in spite of the attraction of the moon on the fluids of your body. That is why our fasting system is timed in relation to the moon. The eleventh day after the new and full moons is the time when this attraction is very strong. If you fast during this period, then the emptiness of the stomach pulls down liquids that would otherwise rise up in your body under the attraction of the moon.
Finally fasting also gives you a chance to save some time and use that time for spiritual pursuits. In order to eat, you may have to spend time shopping, cooking, cleaning and of course eating. If you fast, you can use that time to do meditation, to read or some other valuable pursuit.
This system of yogic fasting has a duration from sunrise to sunrise. You begin at sunrise on the fasting day and eat nothing. If your body is strong you can also refrain from drinking anything. On the next day, you can break the fast with lemon water, as I have mentioned above, and then with fruit and other suitable food.
Some people think that fasting is difficult. If you prepare yourself for fasting it is not difficult. Prepare yourself physically by taking enough food and also plenty of liquids the day before. Prepare yourself mentally by deciding the night before fasting: “Tomorrow is fasting day, and I am not going to eat anything.” If you take this mental determination prior to the fasting day, you will not be hungry during the fasting day. If you don’t make a prior determination, during the fasting day you will start to think “Maybe I should eat, and fast another day!” Decide beforehand and you will be able to complete your fast.
All in all, fasting is one of the best practices for maintaining physical, mental and spiritual health. I highly recommend it.