A few months ago I fasted for 24 days. And I LOVED IT! Yes, there was weight loss, but beyond that, I learned a lot about myself and my body in the process.
The first thing I should say is that I didn’t follow anyone’s system or dogma. I listened to my body and followed some basic ayurvedic principles. I am a pitta-kapha dosha, so I may be predisposed to enjoy fasting. My goal, aside from weight loss, was to rid my body of a few tiny scars and cysts that had been persisting of the years.
I chose to use mostly water and herbs to clear things out of my system. A lot of the reading I’ve been doing talked about the curative properties of fasting with water and others about herbs, but no one has anything on using both. I also used lemon juice, raw honey and occasionally whole non-homogenized milk.
My top 5 lessons from fasting are as follows:
1. Eating takes time. Lots of time! I recognized that I spend nearly three hours each day eating. It was actually kind of nice to have that time for other things.
2. Sometimes the smell of good food is enough. Food is good for you, true. But for me, less is way more. A good deep whiff of good quality food actually gave me the same satisfaction as a meal.
3. The eyes are an organ for taste. A beautiful looking meal with beautiful ingredients will more often than not taste amazing. During my fast I took great pleasure in preparing food for the rest of my family. I enjoyed making the meals as colorful as possible. I think I did my best cooking while I wasn’t eating.
4. I spent a lot of energy digesting. I had so much more energy during my fast that it was shocking. I determined that since my body wasn’t spending so much energy digesting all day, that I actually had energy to think and get things done.
5. A little discomfort is a lot of discomfort. A little bellyache or sore shoulder is enough to ruin a whole day. Feeling good feels good. My mood made a turn for the best.
Fasting is certainly not for everyone. Ayurveda recommends it only for short periods and only for kaphas really. I am starting a new fast to ring in my birthday this year. I’m hoping to gain clarity, peace and time.