spiritual fasting – how it works
Everyone knows how hard it is to stick to good approaches, especially when it comes to something that tastes good or makes you happy. I speak from experience: my eating habits are not optimal, I like sweet things best, I like pasta and could hardly imagine life without ice cream or chocolate a few years ago. I had problems with too many kilos all the time, even though I exercised regularly and went on various diets. So I was constantly running from the losing weight phase back to the gaining weight phase. That really puts a strain on the body.
Be patient with yourself
Constant change brought me the yogic way of life, which combines physical exercises with a individual diet. After I started practising yoga (asanas, meditation) I got rid of all the most harmful eating habits one after the other. It was not quick, but it was effective. First meat was sacrificed to my new lifestyle, then alcohol and finally coffee and chocolate. You have to be patient with yourself and not stop practising asanas and meditation. The consequences will show sooner or later by changing oneself, especially in terms of diet.
Ekadashi fasting in particular has helped me against weight gain. Ekadashi comes from Sanskrit and stands for a spiritual cleansing on the 11th day after the new and full moon. These practices are practised by all serious yoga practitioners such as monks and/or yoga teachers. Adhering to them is not difficult at all if you are mentally prepared. Mental readiness comes from understanding the meaning of Ekadashi.
How I do Ekadashi
Mental preparation should already start the day before. To outsmart my tricky brain, which constantly lies to me that you have to eat, I try to give my thoughts the spiritual direction. I read something that inspires me spiritually or listen to my gurus. To make a smooth transition to fasting, I try to eat lighter foods the day before and meditate before bed. In the beginning, it also helps to sleep a little longer or to sleep at lunchtime instead of eating. I start Ekadashi, as I do every day, with a glass of water with a little lemon juice and drink tea, water, fruit juices diluted with water during the day. I do yoga and try to meditate, if it´s possible. If I have held out until about 5 o’clock without eating, it is not difficult for me to go until the next morning without eating.
The next morning I cleanse my gut using 1L. Water with 1 tablespoon of salt and juice of 1/2 lemon. I drink this disgusting tasting liquid immediately after getting up. This causes a physical cleansing of the intestine: the water comes out with all the residues that stick to the intestine if it is not cleansed regularly. The whole thing including preparation, fasting and the conclusion requires a certain amount of concentration. I compare it to the tea ceremony: everything should go one after the other so that you have a feeling of fulfilment. This concentration is the spiritual purification that takes place through physical purification.
The result of this 3-day ceremony is an all-round lightness. One feels clean, relieved and renewed. You can eat again (better not immediately very luxuriantly) and what you eat gets a new intense taste. The routine is gone, one can start anew, one feels able to achieve something. This is Ekadashi! If you practise it consistently 2 times a month you will fill up much healthier both physically and mentally. Just try it and see what happens. Good luck!