Yoga The

10/02/2012 15:18

My Yoga friend, Alex, occasionally goes on a week-long fast, abstaining from everything except rice and water. He uses fasting as a tapas. One of the niyama's described by Patanjali, tapas is an austerity or form of self-discipline. He believes that with fasting he is burning negative karma, purifying, and advancing towards his goal of spiritual enlightenment.But the thing is, our oldest texts on the practice of Yoga as a physical discipline clearly state that fasting is prohibited. Many misguided yogis have used long-term fasting over the centuries, but the wise sages of the past certainly did not recommend it.All gurus in the classic trilogy of Hatha Yoga, the major ancient treatises on how to practice, say fasting is unwise. Really. They say a big fat "No!" to long-term fasting.Hatha Yoga Pradipika
I:61 Goraksha says -- Avoid bad people... fasting, etc. and actions that hurt the body.Gheranda Samhita
V:31 He should not practice observances that harm the body, such as... fasting, nor should he eat only once a day, nor eat at night, nor at the end of the night.Siva Samhita
III:34-37 Now I shall teach what is to be avoided, the great hindrances to Yoga... fasting... and overeating -- the yogi should definitely give up these.Take note of the specific words of the Gheranda Samhita. Read more about Yoga The This verse essentially describes modified intermittent fasting (IF) in the modern medical literature, a program of abstaining from food for 24 hours at a time except for a small 400 to 500 calorie meal around the 18-hour mark. Modified IF has been shown scientifically to have remarkable beneficial health effects. With modified IF, there is no eating at night, nor at the end of the night. There is no eating only once a day.For example, after eating as usual throughout one day, eat an early dinner that evening just before 6:00 pm. Then don't eat again until 12:00 pm the next day. At that time, eat a nutritious meal of 400 to 500 calories. Don't eat anything else until 6:00 pm, when you can have a full meal that completely fills you up. That would be the "on" day (or 24 hour period from 6 pm to 6 pm) of a modified IF program.With IF, on the alternate "off" day (the following 6 pm to 6 pm), eating whenever is allowed. That part might not fit the Yoga diet and fasting advice mentioned above, but it certainly abides by the words of our most respected gurus far more than a week of only rice and water or any other popular fasting program.  For more info visit Yoga The


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