Fasting – Way Of Detoxification
We have usually seen that Ayurveda is more focused on what we intake, how it is utilised within the body and lastly, how waste is thrown out of the body. The reason behind every step of metabolism is explained in Ayurveda. But this metabolic process needs a rest.
There is a tradition of fasting in every house. But, why are they fasting?
What does a fast look like?
When and how will they do it?
Well, Ayurveda has answered these questions precisely.
In Ayurveda, for prevention of any disease or for the well being of the body, the three primary concepts of Agni, Ojas and Ama are considered.
Agni refers to Fire and Jatharagni viz. the digestive fire and involves digestive enzymes.
Ama refers to waste i.e. unprocessed food and emotions within the body.
Ojas refers to the purest form of energy that is generated after the entire digestive process.
While we talk about detoxing in Ayurveda, we’re regarding the loosening and elimination of these toxins or Ama inside the frame. Eliminating the Ama is the first step of the restoration, even though Ayurveda also acknowledges the significance of rejuvenating the structures and bringing them back into balance.
A common observation between Agni, Ama and Ojas, that when Agni is balanced, then Ama is low and thus, immunity is balanced. Similarly, when Agni is low, Ama is more and Ojas is low, causing disbalance within the body. Thus, from above we can conclude that understanding of disease is rooted in malfunctioning of the digestive system.
According to Ayurveda, when we opt for fasting, we practice Pratyahara which means ‘against what we intake’. Fasting doesn’t mean that we have to starve ourselves, rather it’s about intake of those foods and liquids that cleanses our body, in lighter proportions and appropriate stuff. In Ayurveda, Fasting and Cleansing are one, depending on length and type of fast. Usually, fasting is for a short duration, while cleansing lasts for a longer duration. During longer Cleansing, a mono diet of Kitchari is recommended. One can also opt for intermediate fasting, which cleanses the body on a regular basis.
But why is fasting important?
Many of us are overfed with nourished and undernourished foods. We eat packaged food which have preservatives; moreover food that we consume consists of pesticides, fungicides and artificial fertilizers, sweeteners, etc. Ayurveda says, you are what you eat, and, these low grade food can cause diseases with frequent health imbalance. So when the Agni (the digestive fire) is low, Ama (toxins) are produced more; and Ama is the root cause of all diseases, which also leads to mood swings, bad breath, body odor, cravings and sluggishness. When Ama is generated in ample, it enters the bloodstream and causes further problems. Thus, it becomes necessary to cleanse Ama before it ruptures the system.
According to Ayurveda, Spring season is the best time for cleansing the body, because the body also is in cleaning mode at this time. When the temperature increases during Spring, the accumulated Kapha within the body melts and thus, the body opts to eliminate this Kapha from the body. So, during this phase Panchakarma and Fasting are advised to cleanse it completely.
Below are some benefits of fasting:
1.The largest organs of the body – the digestive system requires energy and also rest.
2.When the digestive tract is at rest, the fasting frees up energy that can be used for healing.
3.This freed energy is used to improve Agni, burn Ama and support the immune system.
4.Fasting in a sense is a better understanding of body and mind.
5.Fasting boosts immunity in the same way meditation does for brains.
6.Fasting provides nourishment needed for the body to heal itself.
7.Fasting gives the body it's natural glow.
8.The overall energy of the body increases.
9.Body revitalizes and cleanses itself.
Our body eliminates the undigested food via excretion, skin eliminates waste via sweat through pores and sweat glands. Still, the body needs additional help to remove that waste which is accumulated in the body over a period of time. Thus, detoxification in the form of fasting gives our body internal spring clean at a cellular level.
Fasting can cleanse pipes of excess mucus, food wastes, sludge, old fecal matter and inorganic mineral deposits. It helps in rebooting our system. It is also essential to intake some nutrients in the form of liquids, mono diet or fruits.
Adding onto benefits of fasting, some important ones can be noted as:
1.It restores the sense of calmness of mind and nervous system.
2.Boosts mental, spiritual and emotional health.
3.Maintains body weight.
4.Maintains a balanced sleep cycle.
5.Promote regular release of Ama
6.Prepare tissues for nourishment
After fasting when Ama is eliminated, the Tridosha – Vata, Pitta and Kapha stay in harmony. Once these Doshas are in equilibrium, the wellbeing of the body is established.
Hence, giving a short break to the body, cleanses the body from cellular to organ level and rejuvenates the entire system.
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