Updated: Nov 1, 2021
While Intermittent Fasting might seem like the hot new health trend, it is actually a practice that has been around for centuries and is rooted in the 5,000+ year old holistic system of Ayurveda, the knowledge or science of life.
These days, Intermittent Fasting is hyped as an easy way to lose weight fast, but that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what Ayurvedic Intermittent Fasting can do for your physical and spiritual self.
Intermittent Fasting, Ayurveda, and the Digestive System
In Ayurveda, the digestive system is considered to be crucial to a person’s wellness and vitality. When the digestive system, agni, is unable to work optimally, toxins, ama, build up and cause imbalance before eventually leading to disease. Fasting promotes a steady release of those toxins and fosters proper regeneration of energy and digestive power.
For thousands of years, Ayurveda has recommended at least a 12 hour fasting window every day to give the digestive tract adequate time to rest. If your digestive tract is never given a break, your digestive fire, your agni, gets low and can no longer properly digest the food ingested. Fasting is just one of the ways Ayurveda can help improve your digestion and overall health.
Intermittent Fasting as a Spiritual Practice
Fasting, in Ayurveda, is not simply intentionally skipping a meal or two. Fasting Ayurvedically, is an extension of practicing pratyahara, withdrawal of the senses —in Sanskrit praty means against and ahara means anything taken into the body. Ayurvedic fasting is a spiritual practice aimed at understanding one’s self and developing spiritual strength.
Ayurveda teaches us that Intermittent Fasting is not about the food, but about the spaces between the meals. Intentionally skipping a meal is an opportunity to perform tapas, to exercise our discipline.
When we choose to practice pratyahara through Intermittent Fasting, we deliberately choose what to put into our body, or, in this instance, not put into our body. We create a commitment to not eat and through that experience, we gain determination on our path. It’s a lot like exercising and gaining spiritual muscle.
Practical Steps for Intermittent Fasting the Ayurvedic Way
Ayurveda teaches us to eat with intention and focus and to set aside any distractions when enjoying a meal. When we focus on our food as we eat, we connect with the nutrients of the food and with the prana, the life force of the food. Even when you’re eating the finest of organic foods, if you forgo the mental connection to your meal, you’re missing out on the most critical component.
Here are a few other guidelines to consider as you go about your day:
1. Eat your meals at the same time each day.
2. Avoid eating between meals as it interfere with the intelligence of the digestive system and disrupts your prana, life force. 3. Eat with awareness. “Eat and only eat.” 4. Practice eating meditation.
5. Fast as a spiritual practice, not just a digestive practice. 6. Eat breakfast like a prince/princess, lunch as a king/queen, and dinner as a pauper.
7. Eat your last meal at least 3 hours before bed.
8. Sip hot Saumya Digestive Detox tea throughout the day.
Fasting is the secret to a long, healthy life. Schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your ideal fasting window and to discover how Intermittent Fasting and Ayurveda can help you take control of your health and digestion.