FASTING, THE SEED OF HEALTH
Fasting is not about starvation and neither about weight loss. Fasting is about a pre-prepared plan on how we can save our organism from toxins in a healthy, pain-free, and stress-free way. Of course, we are also losing kilograms, although this is just an outcome and not its main purpose. Fasting expands consciousness because it does not only cleanse the body, but the cleansing also happens on a spiritual level.
A human being has always been fasting. The story of fasting is embedded in all religions. Fasting is recommended to strengthen one’s life force, for spiritual progress, and mostly for eliminating old, useless, and even harmful patterns. Fasting is ''deleting of old data'' and preparing the body for a fresh start.
WHEN SHOULD WE FAST?
The best known and most traditional fast happens in spring. People in different cultures have always been fasting in spring when they got help from young plants that have not yet developed various disorders and diseases in their cells. Those, filled with the power of water and melted snow, are extremely useful. Most people who fast for the first time are often cold, therefore it is more suitable for them to fast in spring and summer when they can feel a gentle, warm touch of the sun, and temperatures are a little higher. Water awakens from its sleep in the spring and this is the time of natural cleansing. This is the time when our organism needs a natural environment and it needs to be listened to. Spring cleansing is cleansing with a freshness that provides youth, joy, and energy. This is the time of rejuvenation and cell regeneration.
VARIOUS TYPES OF FASTING
We know several types of fasting. From eating fruit to consuming solely liquid food and fasting soup where we also do an enema. We know one-day fasting with water only (I recommend this type of fasting for only a day, maximum two) and many fasting therapies to purify our body of filth, toxins, or ame in Ayurveda.
With unhealthy living, we constantly add all sorts of toxins into our bodies. Unmetabolized waste is disposed of in our body in the extracellular matrix, in fatty and connective tissue. These are toxins waiting to manifest - as a disease. The body reacts differently with every individual because we are a unique product of genetic predispositions of our parents and a few other factors at the time of conception. In Ayurveda we call this state Prakriti and this is some kind of a genetic code. And Vikriti is a current state, which is believed to be most similar to Prakriti.
Therapeutic fasting requires a firm decision. When fasting is only a desire and we are not entirely determined to go through with it, the effort is in vain. Then we force our body into something our mind does not want, and we can do more harm than good. If we have the support of our family, friends, or colleagues, the process is much easier.
People believe they will give up food for a week or two, drink some clear soup, some vegetable juice, cleansing tea, and the body will be purified. Healthy fasting is so much more than that. It is a body and spirit intervention as we operate on a physical, mental, and spiritual level. Therapeutic body cleanse is not just about solving health issues or weight loss, it is a wonderful method to lift our spirit. Scientists have determined that the body secretes several growth hormones during fasting. They have discovered that growth is linked, at different levels, to mood improvement and cellular revitalization.
MENTORING AND CONSULTING
When we are determined that we are going to fast, we must find a mentor with years of experience, a professional. Surrender your body to an experienced mentor you trust. Therapeutic fastings I perform are adjusted to each individual's needs. First, I determine the physique, then I run a diagnostic that includes a tongue, eyes, lips, nails, and face exam, I check the heart rate and the medical condition from the blood scan (hemogram). Only then we decide together on the length of fasting and therapy required during the fasting.
Essentially, you can do your own fast, although results are never as reliable as with an expert who guides you through obstacles. Conversation is also needed during fasting, most commonly about physical problems, but also about unconscious mental content, because ''filth'', deeply rooted in our subconsciousness, is being cleaned. Sometimes I come across issues I do not have experience with, but we work on them together to solve them. We keep in touch every day, so people can feel safe. I also do partial fasting, diet support for weight-loss, and on-line fasting. My clients get instructions by e-mail and then we talk on the phone whenever it is necessary. Everything depends on what kind of person you are and what is your view of this unique experience.
In Ayurveda we perform a process called panchakarma. Pancha means ''five'' and karma means ''action'' or ''treatment''. There are five actions: vomiting, purgation, therapeutic enema, nasal administration of medication, and purification of the blood. These are shorter fastings. For people with kapha physique, this is the most advisable fast as they usually have plenty of supply. Pitta and vata should fast less. Normally, the basic dosha or two increases during fasting because the body is being cleansed and therefore it is good to pay attention to deviations in mental and physical stability. Therapeutic vomiting is performed in cases of pulmonary congestions causing permanent attacks of bronchitis, cough, cold, and asthma. This is how you remove the enlarged kapha which causes mucus. However, I do not practice this. But we do clean nasal cavities. The procedure is called Nasya. The nose is a door to our brain and consciousness: prana or life energy, enters our body with air, with inhalation through the nose. The cleaning of the nasal cavity is painless and helps repair the disturbance in prana, which affects the higher brain, sensory, and motor functions.
WHO SHOULD AVOID FASTING?
People who take any type of drug to prevent blood clots or diabetes need to be especially careful. It is also not suitable for pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers. However, it is suitable as prearrangement for pregnancy, to purify the body and for the fetus to enjoy a clean environment while it grows. Fasting is also not recommended for underweight people, individuals with anorexia and bulimia. And it is not suitable for people with mental disabilities because in this case, they would need consistent and professional support of a psychotherapist.
Bilka Baloh is an independent researcher and a counselor for a healthy and balanced diet, a scholar of Ayurveda, a lecturer and mentor for therapeutic fasting. She is committed to mountains, climbing, yoga, and meditation. She is a visionary who sets her goals high. Her life motto is " Never give up!” She believes that there are no coincidences and that everything in the universe is “on the key.” That life is a predetermined plan we receive at birth and cannot be avoided.
“But we can partially amend it, improve it – by a healthy lifestyle and by ethically sound action towards fellow human beings, animals, nature, and the whole creation. Working on personal development is healing of past wounds as well as a remedy because all diseases derive from unresolved conflicts that are deeply rooted in our subconsciousness. When we make them aware, when we express our fears, repressed feelings, anger, and distress, we do not only redeem ourselves but also redeem our loved ones. And the key we are all looking for is love for ourselves.''
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