Periodic fasting has tremendous benefits on the human body. It's a thorough and healing reset for most systems of our body. Practicing yoga during a fast has the power to amplify the benefits of fasting. This Yoga & Fasting program is a deeply purifying process that will cleanse your body and mind in powerful ways.
What is fasting? Fasting is purposefully cutting food intake for a specific period of time to allow your body to detoxify and heal.
Why Fast? Our digestive system is always working hard to digest our food and drink, which requires a lot of energy. During a fast your body gets a break from digesting food, so it begins to work on healing other parts of the body. It can then use it’s energy to repair, reset, and work to get things in better condition.
Your immune system, adrenals, hormones, brain chemistry and metabolism can all be positively affected by fasting. After about 8 hours of no food our bodies dip into glucose stored in the liver and muscles. When the stored glucose has been used up, the body then begins to transition into a metabolic state known as ketosis and burn fat as a source of energy, which can result in weight loss. When ketones become your body’s new fuel source you become a fat burning machine! Additionally, the use of fat for energy can help preserve muscle and reduce cholesterol levels and it is extremely detoxifying.
Some benefits of fasting (and entering a state of ketosis) include:
- Improved brain function
- Strengthening of the immune system
- Cancer prevention
- Skin clearing
- Weight loss assistance
- Cleansing of organs
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced cholesterol
- Potential reduction of risk for diabetes
- Reboot of the immune system
How does yoga help the process of fasting? Yoga and fasting are complementary, and yoga amplifies the benefits of fasting as both are purification practices. Yoga can also help give you more energy during the process of your fast. Furthermore, the detoxifying benefits of yoga will increase the detoxification of a fast. Fasts can also be a mental and emotional process and the practice of yoga provides a mental reset during the sometimes challenging and intense process of a fast.
IMPORTANT SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: While fasting is generally safe, it is not for everyone. Please be responsible and take time to explore whether fasting is the right choice for your body. Before beginning be sure to consult your doctor or health care practitioner to make sure it is safe and a good choice for you right now. While the benefits of fasting have been researched and are widely accepted, listening to your body is essential for a safe, healthy and successful fast.
What to expect and potential side effects: If this is your first time fasting, it's important to be properly prepare yourself. The first few days you may experience headaches and/or drowsiness as well as feelings of low energy (although this isn't the case for everyone). Because of the potential for side-effects, it's best to pick days for your fast where you will be better suited to handle the potential side effects (especially for the first days). Set yourself up for success! Again, low-energy and other side effects aren't necessarily experienced by everyone, and your personal experience will vary and will be your own. In fact, some people actually report feeling more energetic during a fast, so notice how your body reacts without expecting that you'll be tired, but also try not to pick an especially hectic time in your life to try fasting for the first time.
For more information, here is a great article describing potential side effects as well as the many benefits of fasting and being in the metabolic state of ketosis.
How long should you fast? If you're new to fasting, trying it out for one day is highly recommended before committing to a longer period. If a 1-day fast feels like the right start for you, simply practice day 1 of this program's class(es). See how you feel afterwards and assess if you want to continue for longer or return to the program at a later time for a longer stretch. If you're going into the full program, take care to assess what the right length is for you. Check in after day 3 and see if you're ready to add another day or two. Stay present with your body!
How this program works: The Yoga & Fasting Program, is a 3, 4, or 5 day program where you remove food from your diet and practice one complementary yoga and/or meditation per day. As mentioned above, you choose the right duration of your individual fast.
Each day you will be offered a choice of two yoga classes to choose from. One choice will be more rigorous and effortful yoga class, and the second will be a more gentle option. The intensity level of the rigorous class options will gradually decrease over the course of the program as your energy reserves also gradually decrease. As outlined, some bodies will feel more energized and the rigorous classes will be more supportive on certain days. For others, some days during the fast may feel more restful, and the gentler classes will be a better choice. You only need to do one physical class per day as part of the program.
Fasting, can be both beneficial and challenging - not only physically, but also mentally. Because of this, we've included a meditation option each day. Many report feeling a mental detoxification of sorts during a fast. The body and mind are connected, and doing a deep cleanse such as this has the potential to create breakthroughs mentally. When your get rid of old toxins from your body, you will also be releasing negative emotions, so don't be surprised if emotions come up during this time.
Enjoy giving your body and mind the gift of this Yoga & Fasting program!
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