An ancient tradition
The art of fasting is an ancient tradition practiced for thousands of years for curing illness of all kinds, rejuvenation, clarity and decision making, cleansing and strengthening. Have you noticed that when you're sick, your appetite diminishes? (Similarly, when animals are ill, they lie down and often don't eat or drink.) Energy goes towards healing our bodies instead of digesting food.
Fasting also allows for the body's enzyme system to focus on detoxifying and breaking down toxins in the body quickly and efficiently without the job of heavy food digestion. During fasts, toxins are being circulated in the body in order for our organs to de-arm them. Therefore, it's not always wise to detoxify quickly because a flood of toxins being released at once can cause serious distress to the body that can do more harm than good.
Benefits of fasting
And let's not forget the powerful effects of fasting on our spiritual connection. Another one of the benefits of fasting is that it promotes we take our attention inward, that we listen, become quiet. And that quiet quality time, you with you, will also allow, if you are willing, a greater sense of kinship with your Inner Being. Without the continual addition of heavy foods into the system (and after any major detox symptoms have passed), the body takes on a lighter, less dense, feeling. This helps to create a subtle separation from ordinary physical reality and all its worldly things, and instead you begin to sense the presense and power of things beyond this world.
Meditation or prayer become clearer, higher states easier to attain, messages or guidance from higher realms clearer. Knowing you are loved and supported every minute of your day and of your life is something you begin to intuitively feel. Recognition that there truly is a higher plan or purpose will become more real as it is intuitively experienced rather than just intellectually understood.
Your experiences will be deeply personal and unique. Sometimes, subtle too. You have to pay attention to the little things, you have to be quiet enough internally to pick up the nuances in a changed attitude or perception.
Effective ways to fast
If you've never fasted before, and would like to experience a fast, have no fear. Fasting should be gentle and nurturing and can range from a one day to as long as a week. More rigorous fasts, such as a water-only fast, should only be undertaken by those experienced in fasting and detoxification.
A gentle fast is great way to start -- without even having to go hungry.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
Eating a raw food diet of fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts
Eating a "mono" diet of one food (for example a fruit or rice gruel)
Consuming mineral-rich bone and vegetable broths
Drinking green smoothies
Drinking only fresh pressed vegetables/fruit juices
Eating salads exclusively
Eating kichadi ( a traditional Indian rice/vegetable dish full of healing herbs and spices)
Having an early dinner and refraining from food for a 16-hour period before eating breakfast.
Fasting may seem overwhelming or daunting, but if you simply choose one day per week and practice any of the above tips, you'll get used to this healing practice.