The Greatness of Fasting
The greatness of yoga is that it is not only dealing with the flexibility of the body, but it literally deals with every aspect of human life: body, mind and soul. To have a healthy mind one needs to have a healthy body. To get a healthy body one need to exercise, eat proper food, and do regular fasting.
Fasting is a simple and ancient method of purifying the body. Stopping the intake of food for a limited period of time allows the body to clean itself by eliminate accumulated poisons. Animals instinctively fast when they are sick. Humans, however, refuse to obey their lack of appetite when sick and continue to stuff their bodies with food, thinking that it will give them more energy.
The typical human diet consists of foodstuffs that cause the body to become over-acidic and causes many diseases. Some of the poisons are passed out through the kidneys or bowel but still many poisons cling on to the cells, organs, glands, arteries and veins and build up over time. These are more difficult to remove. In such a condition, the body is weak and germs and viruses strike us more easily.
Diseases are often the effort of the body to eliminate the waste, mucus and poisons that are clogging it and hindering its normal functions. To heal the body, one must cleanse it of the accumulated poisons.
People normally resort to pharmaceutical medicines and antibiotics to stop their illness. Consumption of such medicines only serves to stop the symptoms but the poisons still remain in the body and it is only a matter of time before other symptoms shows up. To have complete and effective elimination, an “absolute emptiness” of the digestive system must be observed. Only when the digestive system gets a complete rest through fasting can the body concentrate on excreting accumulated toxins and waste.
Many people think of fasting as starving themselves. In fact, proper fasting is never harmful and is a procedure that will conserve more energy and gives our bodies more energy to fight against diseases. As one doctor explained, people don’t realize that the chief obstacle to fasting is overcoming the deep cultural, social and psychological fears of going without food.
Fasting also increases mental and spiritual elevation. To remain without food, and even without water if the liver and kidneys are sound, is not an easy task, and it brings about mental strength and will power. One feels energetic and the mind becomes extremely clear and sharp during the fast. This is the best time for meditation, so the extra energy can be used to elevate the mind to higher states of consciousness.
Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad and Pythagoras are among the many spiritual teachers and ancient sages who fasted to set an example for us.