Man needs rest. From time to time we take a vacation, go to warm countries, turn off the phone and the Internet. Reason and body need peace and harmony. Do not rest only the stomach: on vacation, like at home, we continue to overeat. Meanwhile, our digestive system also needs pauses. In the Vedic culture, days of abstinence from food and water are called Ekadasi.
Ekadashi (translated from Sanskrit as “eleven”) is the 11th lunar day after each full moon and new moon. As a rule, this is the 11th and 26th lunar day. In Hinduism and Jainism, these days are considered especially favorable for various spiritual practices, meditation, and purification of the body by observing fasting. It is about the physiological aspect of Ekadashi that we will talk about in this article.
What is Ekadashi?
From the point of view of Vedic teachings, every 11th day of the ascending and descending Moon favors the purification of the body and its self-recovery. It is believed that these days the Moon closest to the Earth and has the greatest gravitational effect on its waters. And since a person is 80% water, the Moon affects not only the tides of the sea, but also the physiological state of the body. Cells in these days are already experiencing “overload”, and heavy food can be detrimental to health. While abstinence from eating and drinking, on the contrary, allows the body to rest and gain strength.
Followers of Hinduism believe that such unloading days activate the body’s internal resources, purify it of toxins, improve health, rejuvenate and even prolong life.
From the point of view of modern medicine, Ekadasi is a preventive one-day dry fasting. Within 24 hours (from sunrise to sunrise), it is necessary to refrain from eating food and water. At the same time, there are both supporters and opponents of unloading and dietary therapy.
The benefits and dangers of dry fasting
Supporters of Ekadasis and other types of curative starvation state that Hippocrates was still treating hunger; fasting is in all religions; in abstinence the great wisdom of ancestors is hidden.
It is believed that Ekadasi can alleviate the symptoms of such diseases as asthma, allergies, hypertension, stomach and bowel diseases, diabetes and others.
The main argument in this case is this: without getting fed from the outside, the body turns to internal nutrition by destroying its own fats, carbohydrates and proteins. At the same time, the body is cleansed of toxins and toxins. Thanks to which the cells heal, the person feels the influx of vivacity.
It is important to emphasize that curative fasting is a method of alternative medicine. Doctors representing a classical school, as a rule, do not support such radical measures. So, MD, professor of clinical medicine, cardiologist Isadore Rosenfeld (Isadore Rosenfeld) opposes diets that require consumption of less than 1200 kcal per day.
He argues that the idea of the existence of so-called slags in the human body is unscientific. There are no studies that reliably prove that the body needs help in deriving the products of final metabolism. Moreover, Dr. Rosenfeld believes that fasting can weaken the immune system, disrupt the rhythm of the heart and lead to dehydration.
Ekadashi provides for the refusal of water and food for 24 hours. It is possible as a strict fast (complete absence of contact with water and food), and more sparing (partial fasting, when once a day allowed to drink and eat). In the teachings it is said that the one who observes fasting completely receives the “reward” completely, and the one who eats nakto (dinner) is only half. However, it is important to remember that the loss of water, causing a decrease in body weight by 10–20%, is life-threatening. Doctors urge to refrain from dry fasting in hot weather, as well as with significant physical exertion.
Followers of Ekadash recognize that the first few posts can cause side effects:
- heart rhythm disorder;
- lowering of blood pressure and others.
But it is believed that this is a natural reaction of the body, which is rebuilt to combat slag. If you practice Ekadasi regularly, these symptoms will pass.
Doctors say that dry fasting can lead to complications of urolithiasis and gout, and in the long term – to problems with the liver and kidneys. In addition, there are diseases in which doctors categorically prohibit starving, especially without water. Among them:
- heart disease and circulatory system;
- lack of body weight;
- malignant tumors.
It is also not recommended to post Ekadasi to pregnant women, nursing mothers and people taking potent medicines.
Post Ekadasi: how to enter, observe and exit
As mentioned above, the best way to observe Ekadashi is to completely refrain from eating and drinking. But those who can not adhere to such strict rules, are allowed to drink water and eat certain foods. The main thing is that it does not include legumes and crops (peas, chickpeas, beans, beans, rice, pasta and others).
Other products banned in Ekadashi:
- onion and garlic;
- spices, sea salt and sugar;
In addition, it is not recommended to eat in other people’s homes, cafes and restaurants.
But the most difficult thing is not the post itself, but the correct entrance into Ekadasi and the way out of it. We need to prepare the body for starvation, the day before giving up heavy food and generally cutting the diet.
Exit Ekadashi should start with drinking (if you adhere to a strict fast). To do this after sunrise, you need to drink 0.5 liters of salted water (one teaspoon of salt per half-liter). If desired, you can add lemon juice to the water-salt solution. A few minutes after taking water, you can eat a banana. It is believed that this fruit envelops the stomach, neutralizing the acid that has accumulated in it. Even after a while you can afford a light breakfast. During the day after Ekadashi, it is not recommended to eat fatty, fried foods.
If a person fasts in Ekadasi, I will burn all his sins and give him His transcendental abode. Ekadasi is the most suitable day for the destruction of all sins. He comes to all for good. Krishna Arjuna
Remember: Ekadasi, like any religious fast, is first and foremost spiritual abstinence. These days, one should devote oneself to austerities, help the needy and do good. After all, in Hinduism Ekadasi is purification not so much of the body as of the soul.
If you practice (ever practiced) Ekadasi or other types of starvation, share your experiences in the comments.