23 September, 2014

Fasting during Navratras

Give your body and mind a chance to:

Break out of a pattern and give it a new direction. 
Fasting - a gift to an over-burdened body and an over-indulged mind.
Fasting according to Ayurvedic ways is denial to the body for the cravings.

It is controlling your lust, hunger pangs with strong will power to give the digestive system some rest, give it a new direction, detoxify and cleanse it. It is to break the daily pattern and learn self-discipline. Ayurveda believes that we should eat to live and not live to eat. Fasting helps us to control our senses that make us crave and binge. It is a gift to the body and mind that are sometimes over-indulged. By fasting we ignite the digestive fire, eliminate gas, lighten the body, clear the mind, clean the tongue, restore the health and have a fresh breath. Fasting also helps in cases of water retention, especially in case of people who consume excess salt. Having more salt is a cause of high blood pressure and cardiovascular ailments. Fasting, whether done as part of health regime or as part of religious rituals, has many benefits.
Spiritually speaking, fasting helps you to be detached. It makes the mind clear and peaceful. It helps to connect to the Absolute power within us. It helps us to have harmonious relationships.
The yogic way of eating and drinking is chew your food very well. Let the taste savor in your mouth. Do not over indulge. Sip water slowly.
But fasting should also be done with care so that the body is not under nourished and depleted of essential nutrients. By doing that, the body can become weak.

Navratras come twice a year during change of season. During both these seasons we have low immunity and according to Ayurveda, we should consume light meals to build up our immunity. Satvik food, which does not have meat or alcohol, helps to build immunity and prevent diseases. Harden grains and normal salt is difficult to be digested. By avoiding onion and garlic, we avoid food that generate lot of heat and keep the system cool.

Healthy food items. 

Consume lots of water to prevent getting dehydrated and constipated. Have fruits and fruit juices.

Have salads like cucumber. You can even have cucumber juice. Have nuts. You can also have milk.

But stay away from pakodas. Have fruit chaat.  other nutritious and healthy foods you can have are
roasted makhanas

Sabudana khichdi or sabudana kheer

Curd. A bowl of raita- made with cucumber and yogurt helps to keep the system cool.

Paneer (cottage cheese).

•  Rock salt or sendha namak used during these fasts is a pure form of salt that is not chemically processed. It is rich in potassium and very helpful in digestion, relieving gas and soothing heart burns.
It is advisable to consume simple carbs and easily digestible proteins like vegetable proteins, which are easy to break down by a slow-functioning metabolism. This will keep the mind light and easy and enable better quality of prayer. After 21 days of fasting, which Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi called “21 days of uninterrupted prayer”, he said, “There is no prayer without fasting”.  

Instead of frying, switch to healthier options like steaming, grilling, baking or saute