A few weeks ago I had an unexpected and challenging shift come into my life, and I needed to find clarity. Nearly every religion in the world promotes fasting in some way or another as a means of coming closer to God, of finding answers or at least peace through the trials that life sometimes offers us. Over time, as we overcome our attachments to eating, our energy begins to settle and we are able to more quietly observe the fluctuations of the mind. I decided to do ten days, taking only water with lemon juice as well as sitting two hours of meditation a day so I would be able to really step into the silence that this fast would create. I had no idea how incredible this experience would turn out to be.
What happened physically?
I lost 22LB. I didn’t poop for 10 days. My skin got clearer and my eyes brighter. I did get dizzy, but only when teaching yoga or any other strong physical activity. Teaching hot classes was especially interesting. If I got behind on the flood of water I had to keep flowing into my body, I got weak quickly and could feel my heart beating from my toenails to my eyelids. This got to an extreme on the 7th night, I didn’t drink enough and got to a point where I was to weak to even get up and slice a lemon. I laid in bed for a few hours slipping bit by bit into delusion. I think this was the only time in the whole thing where my body was in danger. I became convinced that I had eaten and laid there pondering why. Was 7 days long enough? Couldn’t I have made it to 10? Well, I soon realized that this whole time I hadn’t actually moved, never mind eaten anything. It was all a complete trip. I realized I was losing it a bit and got to the kitchen to down a liter of water. Other than that, if I stayed hydrated I generally felt quite good physically. Cravings were very minimal, my body seemed more than happy to be working with the calories from the lemons along with fat and protein stores in my body.
What happened emotionally?
Amazing, beautiful things. The physical benefits were great but I was doing this to align myself with truth and step away from attachment and desires. I feel that if I was eating during this time, it would have played into an emotional roller coaster. Feel something unpleasant, have a snack and soon begin to feel the same stuff again. Even healthy foods are stimulants when we are trying to find stillness and clarity. Being off of food entirely, as well as sitting that much meditation, I was able to really look at and work through these layers as they arose. This was a very honest and at times difficult process. But when I did work through something, some idea or thought, that was it. Sometimes it took half a day but when I found peace with that feeling or that piece of time it was put to bed entirely. I was able to very clearly see which of my feelings were based in desire, and which were based in love. Without the attachment the love began to take over and I stepped into an appreciation for everything exactly as it was.
I have to say, this was one of the best experiences of my life. As the fast went on I began to see a very light and beautiful man in the mirror, and I don’t mean my physical appearance. I loved who I saw, I was proud of what I was doing and I felt deeply connected to this person. The process didn’t come without it’s challenges but as I began to break through them I honestly felt more joy in my heart than I have in years. I was genuinely excited, totally empowered and stoked on life. The radio sounded better, my friends felt closer, and life in general just had a sweetness to it.
I am so grateful to have felt that joy. It gave me a reference point for the way I want my heart to sit, and for the way I want to view and experience life. It also showed me the work I have to do to get there. As I slowly came back to eating over 3 days, from juicing to boiled vegetables to an amazing Thai curry, I noticed some attachments coming along with it. This was interesting to watch happen and made me very aware of what I was putting in my body. Since the fast my diet has gotten more and more clean, my daily meditation is going strong and that light, joyful feeling is coming more and more into my life. If you are interested in doing a fast, check with your doc first. If he/she says go ahead, I highly recommend it!