8 March 2023
The Power Combo: Fasting and Meditation
Fasting and meditation are two ancient practices used by cultures and religions around the world. While typically practised separately, combining fasting with meditation can be an incredibly powerful tool to keep minds and bodies healthy, reduce stress and anxiety and promote spiritual growth. Fasting elevates our awareness not just of the emptiness of our bellies, but also the realisation that you are completely fine and in control. This brings a sharper awareness to your consciousness and creates a space of greater intention for your meditative practice.
Not only does fasting detoxify the body, it also detoxifies the mind. The term “hangry” is charged with emotion. When we’re in this state we often find ourselves eating through our emotions rather than sitting and meditating through them. Instead of binge-eating our feelings, we can repurpose our hunger by fasting. The fast creates a deeper meditation, allowing you to focus more clearly and detoxify yourself fully.
Historical and Cultural Significance
Various religions include fasting in their spiritual practice. Judaism has the Yom Kippur fast, Islam practices during Ramadan, and Christians have Lent. During these periods, individuals abstain from food and/or drink as a way of purifying their bodies and focusing their minds on prayer and meditation.
Meditation, on the other hand, has been used for centuries in spiritual practices such as Buddhism and Hinduism. An exercise in training the mind, meditation can help one achieve a state of mental clarity and inner peace.
I personally like to practise meditation during my morning routine when I first wake up or as part of my evening ritual 30 minutes before going to bed.
Benefits of Fasting and Meditation
Blending these two ancient practices unlocks several amazing benefits. Here are some of the most significant ones:
Increased Focus – When you fast, your body takes a break from the process of digestion. While your body isn’t focused on digesting food, your mind can experience greater clarity, making it easier to meditate and concentrate.
Healing – Taking a break from digesting also promotes healing as your body can focus its energy on other vital functions like repairing tissue and fighting inflammation. When combined with meditation, this process can be accelerated, leading to even more improvements in health.
Less Stress and Anxiety – More and more, people are turning to meditation to help reduce stress and anxiety. When fasting, your body releases natural tranquillisers called ketones that help calm the mind, further alleviating anxiety.
How I Incorporate Fasting and Meditation Into My Routine
Running my own business Plant Essence can be very stressful, and that’s why I make a conscious effort to fast and meditate regularly. Fasting has always felt very natural to me.I even look forward to it and would do it more often if my work permitted me. When I was younger, I was able to practise a disciplined fasting routine. In my adult life, I realise the importance of sustainability and I understand the value of ensuring my body is fueled enough to energise me through my day. I now stick to a much more practical and manageable fast, usually 12-16 hours.
I also like to practise meditative breath work during my fasting periods, as my empty stomach heightens my sense of clarity. Combining all of these wonderful practices really helps keep me grounded, allowing me to fully connect and check-in with every part of my mind and body. I find it also boosts my energy throughout the day, and improves my sleep.
How to Fast
Fasting can be incredibly impactful for both physical and mental health, but it is very important to practise fasting safely. Do a little reading on different approaches to fasting, and make sure to be realistic with your goals on expectations. Here are my top three tips for fasting:
If you have never fasted before, it’s best to start slow and dip your toe before diving straight in. Start with a shorter fast and gradually work your way up to longer periods. This will also create a more sustainable approach to fasting, encouraging you to really stick with it in your wellness practice.
It is crucial to keep your body hydrated when fasting. Drink plenty of water, and avoid tea and coffee. The acidity and caffeine in tea and coffee will disrupt the cleansing process and be counterproductive to your detox.
Listen to Your Body
If you start feeling lethargic or experience any unwanted side effects, consider breaking your fast and changing your approach. It is always a good idea to speak to your doctor or a trusted health professional before beginning your fasting journey.
Combining fasting with meditation can be an incredibly powerful way to achieve better health, reduce stress, and increase spiritual growth. These two ancient practices complement each other beautifully, creating a dynamic synergy that helps unlock the full potential of these tools. For best results, it is essential to fast safely and correctly. Give it a try and see for yourself what a difference it makes!