People fast around the world for various reasons-to treat diseases, for religious beliefs, or simply to detox. A fad that has recently caught peoples’ attention is intermittent fasting. People who want to lose weight but do not have the time or luxury of going through the entire rigmarole of weight loss programs, keeping diet charts, or working out religiously, have found their go-to in intermittent fasting. But does it really work?
“You overwork your liver, stomach and pancreas so much,” says the global spiritual master and humanitarian, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who founded The International Association for Human Values, “If there was a labor court for the body, all these organs would have complained against you in that court. We don’t allow them to rest at all! We drink and eat the whole day until night, and we overwork our system. They do need some rest and for that you need to fast.”
What is intermittent fasting?
It calls for fasting for 14-16 hours. You then have your meals within an 8-10 hour window. It comes from Ayurvedic understanding of Dwikal bhojanam or eating twice-once after the sun rise and once before sun set. These are the times the body is said to have better digestibility when the Pitta dosha is active.
Concept of autophagy
Intermittent fasting relies on the concept of autophagy or the idea of starving cells until they start burning fat and cleanse the worn out cells and speed up cellular metabolism.
Why should you fast?
1. A natural remedy for treating various elements.
2. Purges toxins or ama
3. Strengthens digestive system
4. boosts jatharagini or digestive fire.
5. Weight loss
6. Light and clear mind and more awareness
7. Less bloated
8. Reduces insulin resistance
9. Boosts brain function and fights neurodegenerative disorders
10. Controls blood pressure
11. Reduces inflammations in the body
12. Brings a glow on the skin
Here are quick fasting tips for the best results!
1. Check your prakruti
Before you get down with intermittent fasting, do check with your Ayurveda expert if intermittent fasting is good for you based on your prakruti or unique physiological constitution and how should you do it and for how long.
2. During fast, have lemon or ginger water. You can also have tea or coffee without sugar or milk during the day.
3. Do not have your dinner post 8 PM.
4. Dinner should be very light and low on carbohydrates.
5. Avoid fried or heavy meals when you break your fast. Having high carb food can actually impair the progress you make on your weight management.
6. When you break the fast, start with having dates, salads or fruits. Avoid sweet fruits though.
7. While fasting monitor sugar and salt intake as this can cause water to get retained in your body.
8. Ideally fast for at least two to three days for the body to get adjusted to the fasting cycle and for total detoxification to happen.
9. Do not skip rest or sleep during fasting periods. It can cause pitta aggravation.
10. What can aid and complement the detoxification process you undergo during intermittent fasting is taking a Panchakarma treatment based on consultation with an Ayurveda expert.
11. Massage therapy during fast can help you relax better and ease the stiffness too.
12. In fact, Ayurveda recommends an oil massage before fasting.
Abhyanga is one of the most popular and commonly recommended therapies in Ayurveda that incorporates warm, aromatic oils, rhythmically massaged into your body, which loosen toxins, relax the nervous system, and provide rest, nourishment, and rejuvenation. It improves blood circulation, tones and moisturizes skin, works up the lymph system, and calms the mind and nervous system.
Shankara’s Soothing Body Oil is one such offering. It is a soothing blend of essential oils that are known for their relaxing and de-stressing qualities. Made from essential oils of almond, grapeseed, sunflower, borage, evening primerose, lavender, sandalwood and chamomile, this nutrient rich body oil also helps address worries of the mind, over critical thinking, irritability and anger! An oil for hypertension and stress release is also an oil for a perfectly calm and relaxed mind!