Fasting An Indian Tradition For A Great Health

Fasting An Indian Tradition For A Great Health

Fasting An Indian Tradition

Fasting is an Indian tradition that has roots from the Vedic times. The tradition is deep-rooted amongst the Hindus to the present day. More recently, intermittent fasting has been adopted by the youngsters. But what is fasting really? Would it be necessary if we ate only according to the body’s needs instead of succumbing to the compulsive nature of eating whenever possible?

According to Sadhguru, two meals a day are ideal for most people, particularly those not involved in heavy physical labor. He suggests that eating two meals daily, typically before noon and in the early evening, can be sufficient for many people’s energy needs. He asserts that this pattern can give the digestive system ample time to process food and rest, enhancing overall energy and health.

Sadhguru suggests that fasting one day a week can be beneficial for health. He states that this practice can break the body from the constant work of digestion, allowing it to detoxify and repair. He encourages individuals to listen to their bodies and eat accordingly. The body often knows what it needs, so attention to hunger and fullness cues is essential. Overeating, he suggests, is often more of a psychological need than a physical one.


Fasting refers to abstaining from all or certain types of food and drinks for a specific period. It’s been a part of human tradition for thousands of years, often for religious or spiritual reasons. In recent years, fasting, particularly the intermittent one, has gained popularity for its potential health benefits.

Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a pattern of eating that alternates between periods of eating and fasting. It doesn’t specify which foods you should eat but when you should eat them. There are several different intermittent fasting methods, and the length and frequency of the fasting period often define them.

The potential benefits of intermittent fasting include weight loss, improved metabolic health, increased longevity, and improved brain health. Some research suggests intermittent fasting can lead to weight loss because it helps people consume fewer calories. It may also improve metabolic health by improving insulin resistance, inflammation, and heart health markers like LDL cholesterol.

Fasting can stimulate autophagy, where cells dispose of and recycle waste. This process can help protect against diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Fasting An Indian Tradition

Fasting has a deep-rooted significance in Indian traditions and culture and is practiced across many religions in the country. It is often undertaken for spiritual, religious, or health reasons.

It is a common practice in Hinduism, often associated with devotion, purification, and spiritual progress. Many Hindus fast on specific days of the week, month, or festivals, often associated with a particular deity. For example, devotees of Lord Shiva often fast on Mondays (Somvar Vrat), while those devoted to Lord Vishnu fast on Ekadashi (the 11th day of each lunar fortnight). Fasts can involve complete abstinence from food and water or consumption of only specific foods like fruits, nuts, or dairy products.

Fasting is also a significant part of Jain traditions, where it is viewed as a way to purify the body and mind and reduce karma. Jains practice different forms of fasting, ranging from restricting certain foods to eating only once a day. ‘Santhara,’ or voluntary starvation unto death, is a well-known and controversial aspect of Jain tradition.

While not mandatory, fasting is a common practice among Buddhists too. On full and new moon days, known as Uposatha days, Buddhists may fast, meditate, and abstain from physical pleasures. They also follow the Middle Path, avoiding both self-indulgence and severe asceticism.

Fasting Related to The Moon Cycles

In Hindu philosophy, the moon is often seen as a symbol of divine feminine power (Shakti). The lunar cycles are believed to have a certain impact on the human body and mind, as they do on the tides and many other natural processes.

The moon’s cycles, in Indian culture, have been intimately linked to human activities, including fasting and religious rituals. It largely concerns the lunar calendar, which many Indian festivals and rituals are based on.

Ekadashi is an important fasting day in Hinduism that occurs twice a month, on the 11th day of the waxing moon (Shukla Paksha) and the 11th day of the waning moon (Krishna Paksha). Devotees fast from sunrise to sunrise on Ekadashi, consuming only water or specific foods. This fast is believed to cleanse the body and mind and is particularly associated with the worship of Lord Vishnu.

Purnima, the full moon day, and Amavasya, the new moon day, are also significant in many Indian religious practices. Some people fast or perform specific rituals on these days. The nature of the fast can vary widely depending on regional and personal customs.

Karva Chauth and Chhath Puja are other examples of festivals in which fasting is synchronized with lunar cycles. Karva Chauth involves a day-long fast by married Hindu women for the well-being of their husbands, and it’s broken upon the moonrise. Chhath Puja, primarily celebrated in Bihar, Jharkhand, and parts of Uttar Pradesh, involves fasting and paying homage to the sun and the next morning to the moon.

Empty Stomach Is Not Being Hungry

One can equate fasting with an empty stomach.

Sadhguru makes a distinction between being hungry and having an empty stomach. He emphasizes that having an empty stomach does not necessarily mean you are hungry. It is simply a state of the body that is free from digestion.

He states that an empty stomach can be beneficial in various ways. For instance, he suggests that certain yogic practices, such as meditation, can be more effective when performed on an empty stomach. That is because an empty stomach can lead to greater ease of energy movement in the body.

On the other hand, hunger is a sensation that indicates the body needs nourishment. It is a signal that the body’s energy stores are depleting, and it’s time to refuel. Sadhguru advises that it’s important to respond to this signal appropriately by eating nutritious food, but also emphasizes not to overeat, as it can lead to lethargy and health issues.