We first revered the Father (Shiva), then indulged the Son (Ganpati) and now as we dance and rejoice we pay our respects to the Mother (Shakti) during Navratra or Navratri. The word Navaratri means ‘nine nights’ in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights. During these nine nights and ten days, nine forms of Shakti/Devi are worshiped, which represents the Divine Feminine Principle within us.
Many observe a strict fast during this period. Today fasting is frequently heralded as the “miracle weight loss” for those who have tried all else without success.
Actually Fasting in Sanskrit is called ‘Upavas’. Upa- means near and Vas means to sit. Thus Upavas is sitting next to or residing in close proximity to the Divine or simply a Connection with the Divine
A fast also is one of the best ways of controlling our mind and senses, especially our Tongue. They allow us to withdraw our senses from the outside world and become refocused on our own inner divine nature and our connection to God. Unfortunately today, most of us have forgotten much of the purpose of a fast. Today, we either see people feasting in the name of fasting. Or we see the exact opposite – starvation. People starve for various reasons – to please God or to even lose weight. Starving is the ideal way to increase your abdominal girth, as when we starve the adrenal gland kicks in, stores the fat and lets go off the muscle, bone and water. Though you may be few kgs lower on your scale, your Fat percentage just jumped further up, putting your body into more danger and more closer to a heart disease.
So just like on a normal day, even when observing a Fast, sensible eating is required. The food restriction during a fast is not a punishment, but rather to practice self-restraint. Fasting typically means to eat a healthy diet comprising of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, protein, healthy carbs and fat, which is essentially called a “Sattvic” diet in Ayurveda. This in turn leads to clarity and equanimity of mind while also being tremendously beneficial to the body – thus bringing us to a state of balance.
The so called restricted diet gives us a chance to get in touch with our tummy. Everyday everywhere we see a variety of food on in front of us and somewhere we forget that the body needs only a certain amount of food for sustenance for the stomach can hold only so much physically. It is our senses continue to crave, and we give in to those cravings very often.
These fasts just come as a break for us to get in touch or rather friendly with our stomach, to get clarity of what we want to eat, when we want to eat and most importantly HOW MUCH to eat, for it is only we ourselves who know how much we need to eat in that moment – no doctor or dietician can tell us that.
So if you really want to fast – let go of your past. Give up criticizing yourself. Give up on the tags and labels you put up on yourself. And ‘feed’ yourself only certain things then – put yourself on a diet of self – love. Nurture yourself. Celebrate yourself. Be thankful to yourself. Strictly follow a diet like this just for a Week and Witness the Wonders 🙂
Found this beautiful poem and just had to share –