Sivananda on fasting
Fast and eliminate
Fast and cleanse
Fast and vitalize
Fast and conserve energy
Fast and cure
Fast and pray
Fast and meditate
With the best possible precautions, it is very difficult to avoid committing mistakes in regard to the food we take. A man with a great self control may be moderate in food, but there are various other causes which he cannot avoid and thus his health gets impaired.
If there is the least symptom of disease in the body, it is a signal to fast for a day or two. Animals which depend only upon nature, fast naturally if there is any disease and cure themselves by natural means – sunlight, fresh air, fast and rest.
By gradual practice we should learn to fast one day in the week without taking any solid food. If we observe this practice and take only fruit juices on this day, we will save much of our troubles and doctor’s bills. Tea and coffee should be avoided not only on fasting days, but even after the fast, if possible.
Fast for over a week not only cleanses the body, but gives us more energy and power and also spiritual strength.
Fast is a subject that is commended by all religions and all creeds of thought. It is the first step in the ladder of Divine Life. It is the first suggestion that your doctor prescribes to you as soon as you go to him for diagnosis, because it gives him a correct view of your entire physical system. The nervous system places itself before the medical men more clearly when you are not fed than when your stomach is full. Both fast and feast give blessings to the human being. The feast gives you immediate blessing which vanishes in a few hours, craving for more, whereas fast gives a different kind of happiness more lasting than that of feast.
In fasting, physically your system receives an overhaul more than that which even an intelligent doctor can do for you. Mentally you have more concentration and more capacity to resist. You improve in firmness; there is more capacity to withstand the physical disturbances of any kind of illness, fatigue and any disease.
Fasting bestows in you a divine happiness which can be enjoyed with such delight that when you once take to it you are not inclined to leave the habit.
Fast gives clearness of insight into subjects. A mirror for the vision. A man with a genuine practice of fast at regular intervals has clear-cut thoughts, an expression all his own, an imagination which others cannot excel. His thoughts are sublime and firm. His actions are diligent. There is a transcendental glow in him. He never wounds the feelings of others. His ideas are rays of light in the darkness of human life in everyday world.
Fast is nature’s curative agent. It can restore health where everything else has failed. It gives nature a chance to clean the system.
If you overwork, you need perfect rest. If you continue to overwork without rest, the whole system will break down. If the stomach and digestive system are overworked on account of over feeding, various diseases of the digestive apparatus will develop.
If the sewer system of a city gets clogged up they flush it with water. If your system gets clogged up, do the same. Stop eating. Drink plenty. Flush the intestines.
When your motorcar goes out of order you send it to the garage and have it overhauled. Even so is fasting. Fasting thoroughly overhauls the system and gives new vigor and strength.
Fasting is a vitalizing agent. It fills the system with new vigor and vitality. It purifies and galvanizes the Prana and makes the mind serene and tranquil. Fasting starves the diseases. Persons become stronger day by day while fasting, because energy is conserved. Utilization of considerable amounts of energy for digestion, assimilation and elimination is saved. The conserved energy builds better health. Statistics show that people who fast most live the longest.
I can assure you, friends, that most of the ailments may be prevented or cured by moderation in diet, partial or complete fast.
Never eat unless you are really hungry, unless you can enjoy every mouthful. Never force yourself to eat. If you have no appetite it clearly indicates that the body does not require any food at that moment. The stomach will cheat you through pseudo-appetite. You must be able to differentiate habit-hunger from real hunger.
Give up the erroneous notion that fasting weakens the body. On the contrary, it is the most effective and drugless method of revitalizing your system and rebuilding health.
Fast and calm your emotions and passions. Fast and be healthy. Fast and lose weight. Fast and control the tongue and other sense organs. Fast and destroy your sins. Fast and eliminate the poison from your system. Fast and control your sleep. Fast and pray. Fast, purify and meditate, realise the Self and be free. Fast and shine with divine splendour and glory.