Yoga: Five day fasting… The why’s and wherefores, do and do nots – Part 3… of fasting

By now you’ve probably read my previous two posts which are an account of my whirlwind foray into the depths of fasting. With any luck and an ounce more of grey matter too most likely, you won’t be going to bed on a Sunday having decided on a … admittedly heart felt whim, that you need to embark on your longest ever fast without having organised a thing. Here are some quick tips which I have explained in more detail below.

1. Set intention.

Think about why you are doing this. Setting intention for your healing is really important. Mind and body are not separate so focusing your mind will help focus your body on what you want to heal and your mind too if it’s something psychological.

We are so much more than a physical body and fasting affects every part of our being. When we cease the over-indulgence that has become so common in our modern world, even for a short while, our lives and our priorities become clearer. Do these “short while”s occasionally, and you have a tool that will greatly add to your life.

Fasting will:

  1. rest the digestive system
  2. allow for cleansing and detoxification of the body
  3. create a break in eating patterns, while shining a spotlight on them
  4. promote greater mental clarity
  5. cleanse and heal “stuck” emotional patterns
  6. lead to a feeling of physical lightness, increasing energy level
  7. promote an inner stillness, enhancing spiritual connection

2. Set realistic goals. You know your own body, your limits and your own capabilities.

I already knew I’d fasted occasionally before. I also knew how good I am at self discipline and therefore, felt 5 days was feasible for me. I decided that I would aim for a 7 day fast but that if I made it through to five days I would be pretty happy with myself. I originally planned to stick to water and herbal tea but found that in order to keep up with my normal schedule, I had to be a bit kinder to myself and allowed myself a little juice. I also read that juice helps to break down toxins in the body so figured it was actually helping anyway.

3. Be prepared. Take time out. Go to a retreat ideally where there will be professionals around to support you both emotionally and physically with the detox process.

For a start, for most people, are not able to continue functioning in their every day life easily when fasting for longer than 24 hours at a time. Most of us have some idea of the kind of limits our bodies have from past experiences but the effects of a fast cannot be predicted and in some instances, particularly when fasting on water alone, it is preferred that the average human being be mostly horizontal.  I knew that I wasn’t in a position to cancel all my classes, nor was I in a position to wait longer to try it. Additionally, fasting brings up all kinds of emotions that have been repressed and ideally, it’s a good idea to be in a place where we can be still and observe this instead of being distracted but for me, I had already spent a significant part of the last few weeks releasing and observing this release in addition to the vipassana I took last year (which now feels like a million years ago) as well as my regular yoga practice.

4. Support your entire being.

During a fast, you are cleansing not only your physical being but your spirit too. Old wounds and issues come to the surface and to help your light energy body clear them, yoga and meditation cannot be encouraged enough no matter how gentle. In the yoga world, we call practices to cleanse the body, kriyas. These could include stomach swilling, nose cleaning, ear candling etc. Massages can be helpful as will reiki treatments.

5. Don’t panic.

Most of the physical symptoms and emotions that come up during a fast do so because they are meant to and will pass. Eventually even that week’s worth of stool! Yes. It’s normal to not go to the loo during a fast. Your body will deal with it as it is meant to. Don’t immediately go rushing off for an enema or a colonic irrigation. This is a myth. They are not necessary. I wish I’d found this out before having a panic attack over it myself.

6. Don’t expect to be able to carry on the way you used to.

Be prepared to make some bigger changes in your life. I thought I could get away with eating the way I used to on a friend’s birthday meal out. I couldn’t. I spent the whole of the next day being very sick!

Armed with this knowledge, I wish you the very best of luck with your fast and send you love and light.

For more information on fasting and benefits, check out

Reiki Winscombe : Reiki North Somerset : Reiki Healing Somerset : Reiki Healing Cheddar