Yoga: The thrills and spills of a five day fast to heal my broken heart… Part 2
So I had agreed with myself that a fast was the way forward. Why fasting to heal the heart? Because the mind and body are not separate. Wounds inflicted on the mind through negative emotions manifest as toxins and therefore illness in the body. Yogis have been doing this for thousands of years and as I pointed out, there are many on this planet who fast through no choice of their own but simply because food is sparse.
Even though I have fasted for 24 hours intermittently, a 5 day fast seemed like a pretty significant undertaking. I made a pact with myself that I would aim for 7 days but if I got to 5, I’d be feeling pretty good about it. Despite having worked at a detox retreat teaching yoga, I wasn’t really too familiar with the mechanics of fasting. I’d seen some pretty grey looking people wandering around the retreat at times snarling at each other, other people almost passing out in my yoga class from simple forward bending and others walking around looking as though they’d been born again so I knew that the effects could vary hugely but given my constitution and Indian heritage along with the fact that as a rule these days, my living is pretty clean, I figured I could cope with the more extreme end of the spectrum.
I knew that if I were to go the juice route, I’d need to borrow a juicer first off and organise the right fruits and vegetables. Well that put me off straight away. I looked into the ‘Cleanse’ phenomenon and saw the $345 price tag for the course including all supplements etc, looked at my bank account and thought, f*ck that. I then remembered the, ‘born again’ detoxer who had spent the whole week on nothing but water and thought, stuff it, I’m desperate. I’ll have me some of that. I got up Monday morning, boiled the kettle, stuck in a few slices of lemon and didn’t look back.
The first day was pretty easy for me considering I’ve done 24 hour fasts before although even then I’m not sure I’d been so strict as to have nothing but water. I was surprised myself at how easy I found it as there have been a few times where I’ve got fed up and gone to bed early on a 24 hour one because I’ve had to deprive myself of dinner.
My facebook status update was: “I’m so dizzy my head is spinning, like a whirlpool it never ends,’ is the lyric that springs to mind. Most annoying as I felt fine on day two last time I did this. Not going to make a big deal out of it. After all, there are plenty of Africans who fast and not by choice” I powered through it with a tiny bit of help from a couple of gulps of juice, mainly because I knew I had two indian head massages to do at a care home and I didn’t want to find myself passing out on one of the residents. The orange juice did the trick. I also read that consuming a little bit of juice can help the body break down toxins. I wasn’t in a position to say no. I figured a couple of gulps couldn’t hurt.
Bored of chamomile tea and water! Juice fasters have it easy, seriously. I had to have a couple of gulps of orange juice this morning when I woke up at 7am and tried to meditate but felt too head spinny and nauseaous to sit upright. As I’m still trying to function in every day life, I had to give in to a tiny bit of fruit sugar. Other than that, I’ve had nothing but the juice of a satsuma (yesterday for the same reason), a couple of cups of tea and lemon water since Sunday. The effects are interesting. Felt my heart pumping blood all the way into my finger tips so intensely this morning. Wondering where this will take me!
Excited about berry tea and the addition of cinnamon to my warm lemon water. No sickness or dizziness. Low on energy but feeling very calm and at peace and connected with the world. Have experienced angry thoughts but been able to refrain from identifying with them. Feels odd to actually get angry. As though I couldn’t if I tried. Bit of emotional releasing yesterday during my yoga practice but otherwise, no reports of me behaving badly/being rude or antsy as some people apparently get when fasting and everyone seemed to enjoy last night’s yoga. I even managed to hold tree pose for them.
Here was where it really kicked. I woke up in the morning and one of my first thoughts was, “What the hell am I doing worrying about fighting for someone who most definitely is not fighting for me. Not only is he not fighting for me, he’s not fighting for himself. His job and his marriage make him unavailable and he isn’t even recognising it. Wake up Nicola! What are you doing?” The thing was, that although I’d said to him, “I don’t want to talk to you unless/until you sort the aforementioned issues out”, my heart was still very much hanging around his neck. In fact, just the day before I had been telling a friend how much so. I thought about it hard but the answer seemed clear enough. I had to honour myself. Trying to hang on for someone that could give me no promises was not something I was capable of and I wasn’t going to beat myself up about it so I sent him a ‘forget about me but thank you for the lessons’ message. He replied, “I wish you well in your life” which stung but I shrugged and carried on. It doesn’t mean that I have forgotten him or that I have stopped loving him.
What I had also noticed during the conversation with my friend was that I related information about my lack of relationship with certain family members which up until this point, had always rendered me a blubbering mess. I remarked to her at the time how surprised I was that I had been able to talk about it without welling up in tears.
Two days after the fast, I finally felt able to forgive my sister for the actions she took which first began to destroy our relationship. She upheld a decision my grandmother made which left me feeling that she had betrayed me as her sister, something that no matter how hard I tried, I just hadn’t been able to get over. It was compounded when early this year I found myself homeless. I had been desperately grieving the loss of our relationship ever since but felt that the only way to protect myself from further hurt was to keep her at a great distance to such an extent that we’d blocked each other from facebook. I was able to find a level of compassion for her and the decision that she’d made which enabled me to see things from a different perspective. I no longer felt the need to hold onto the hurt. In fact, the hurt was no longer in me. I took the bull by the horns and contacted her and her response astounded me a little. She said that she missed me greatly, still talked about me all the time and she really would like to try and rebuild our relationship which we could maybe start with a phone call. I couldn’t have been happier. Elated in fact.
In my next post I will talk more about the benefits of fasting, why it works and some of the dos and do nots from my own experience. Personally, I felt as though I had gone through a huge transformation. Much like the one which brought me onto this path in the first place.
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