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Is There Any Benefit to Fasting?

By Sadhguru Email By Sadhguru
April 2018
Is There Any Benefit to Fasting?

It may not be a good thing for everybody to fast, but it has many benefits if it is done with proper understanding. So finding the right situation for the system and staying off food at that time will be a good thing to do.

When you are very hungry, all your body wants to do is eat. But now, you could take a moment, before you start eating, to silently express your gratitude to everything that has brought this food to you—the land, the farmer, the vendor, the person who cooked it, the one who served it, and to the food itself for offering its life for yours, before you start eating. A simple act like this reminds you that you are not the body. When you are very hungry, you are the body. Just give it a little space and suddenly you are not that. Hunger is there, you are there, and it is okay. Misunderstanding this has led to simply torturous fasting.

It is important that you don’t fast forcefully. If you observe the natural cycle of the body, there is something called a mandala. Every 40 to 48 days, the system goes through a certain cycle. In every cycle, there are three days when your body does not need food. If you are conscious of how your body functions, you will become aware that on these days, your body does not need food. And without effort, you can go without food on that day. A lot of your health issues will be handled by that simple pattern.

Once in every 11 to 14 days, you may not feel like eating. On that day, you should not eat. On the day the system says “no food,” it is a cleaning-up day. Since you don’t have this awareness, they fixed Ekadashi—every 14 days in the lunar calendar.

The reason is because the planet itself is in a certain state on that day, so if we keep our body light and available, our awareness will turn inward. The possibility of opening the door within is more on that day. If you have a full stomach, and you are unaware and dull, you will not notice it. So to stay alert and also to purify the body, you go without food on that day—you ate dinner the previous day and the next thing you eat is dinner on Ekadashi.

If you are unable to go without food, if your activity levels are such and you don’t have the necessary sadhana to support you, then you could go on phalahara, fruit diet.

Suppose one wants to fast for a certain period, it must always be supported with the right kind of spiritual practices or sadhana. If you forcefully fast without preparing your body and mind sufficiently, you will only cause damage to your health. But if your body is properly prepared, if you are mentally also in a certain state, if you are prepared energy-wise, then fasting can be of much benefit to you.

If you are constantly drinking coffee or tea, then, if you fast, it will be very difficult. So, first of all prepare the body by eating the right kind of foods. If it is a great torture when you hold back your urge to eat, you will only cause damage to the system.

If you’re unable to fast the entire day, here are a few recipes that can serve as a light morning meal. Also, check out Isha’s article on how amla or Indian gooseberry is helpful while fasting. Further down are a few items that can make up your post-fast dinner.

[Editor’s note: If you are not in the hot Indian climate, consider reducing the amount of salt.]

BREAKFAST

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Ashgourd Juice
Serves 3
Ingredients:
Ashgourd, 4-5 inch sized – 1
Lemon juice – 6 tsp
Black pepper powder – 3 tsp
Salt – 3 tsp
Method:
Cut ashgourd, remove skin and seeds.
Blend to a smooth puree.
Strain.
Add lemon juice, black pepper powder, and salt.

Multi-grain Health Mix
Serves 3
Ingredients:
Multi-grain health mix – 6 tbsp
Jaggery/Brown sugar – 6 tbsp
Water – 3 cups + ½ cup
Method:
Make a paste with the ½ cup of water and multigrain health mix.
Boil the 3 cups of water and add jaggery.
When the jaggery dissolves, add the health mix paste and stir for a while so that lumps are not formed.
Let it cook for 3-5 minutes.
Serve hot.

 

DINNER

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Brown Rice Kanji
Serves 3
Ingredients:
Brown rice – 1 cup
Green gram/Moong dal (with the skin on) – 1/3 cup
Salt – 1 tsp
Water – 3.5 cups
Method:
Mix all the ingredients in a pressure cooker and cook until the brown rice is soft and turned to a porridge consistency. Add more water if you need a lighter kanji.

Black Chana Sundal
Serves 3
Ingredients:
Black chana, soaked overnight – 2 cups
Tempering (Tadka/Thalimpu/ Thalidha Ulundhu) – 4 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Water – 4 cups of water
Grated coconut, fresh – 3 tbsp
Method:
Pressure cook black chana, salt, and water until the chana is cooked.
Add the tempering and fresh grated coconut to the cooked chana.

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Beans-Carrot-Cabbage Poriyal
Serves 3
Ingredients:
Beans, sliced – ½ cup
Carrot, sliced – ½ cup
Cabbage, sliced – ½ cup
Tempering (Tadka/Thalimpu/ Thalidha Ulundhu) – 4 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Grated coconut, fresh – 4 tbsp
Method:
Cook the vegetables.
Add the tempering and fresh grated coconut to the cooked vegetables.

Toor Dal Chutney
If you’d like to add a little flavor to your meal, try this chutney recipe that serves 3.
Ingredients:
Toor dal – 1 cup
Black mustard seeds – 2 tsp
Tamarind paste – 3 tsp
Tempering (Tadka/Thalimpu/Thalidha Ulundhu) – 4 tsp
Dried Red Chillies – 4
Ginger, sliced – 1-inch thick piece
Groundnut oil – ¼ cup
Salt – 1.5 tsp
Method:
Heat oil on a medium heat and add the toor dal, then mustard seeds and dry red chillies. Roast for 5 minutes and let them cool.
In a blender, add the roasted toor dal, mustard seeds and dry chillies along with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until a smooth paste is formed.


 

Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic, and visionary, and a prominent spiritual leader. An author, poet, and internationally renowned speaker, Sadhguru is the founder of Isha Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to human wellbeing. (www.isha.sadhguru.org)
 

 


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