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 Yamas & Niyamas - Restraints & Observances
 Diet transition from terrible to spiritual
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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 11 2017 :  1:27:05 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
I just changed my diet from terrible(way too much food and unhealthy ingriedients) to a much lighter and more holistic fare. Also, after reading Yogani's lesson on fasting, I have decided to attempt a spiritual fast every Saturday where all I consume is pure water with added salts and dissolved minerals.

I've only just begun but I've enjoyed some pretty amazing spiritual strides since starting this change in diet. For instance, it was on the day of my spiritual fast that I experienced a state of apsolute stillness during my second daily meditation. Afterwards I had a profound feeling of calmness and peace. Also my prayers that day were far more real and emotional than they have been for a long time. And one more thing: that fast seemed to have awakened my taste buds, as I have really enjoyed the much blander and more natural diet. Previously, I dispised bland food and preferred sweets with lots of refined sugar. Now I've sworn off sweets as I'm very close to being a diebetic.

Any suggestions or encouragement is always appreciated.


Edited by - Herb on Jan 11 2017 1:55:03 PM


267 Posts

Posted - Jan 12 2017 :  12:25:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Herb,

That's a wonderful step to take and a very effective one indeed!

I had similar experiences in the past when making substantial changes in my diet and doing short fasts, along with the AYP practices.

If one advice, I would say make the first meal after a fast also a part of the fasting intention. I mean by that to eat slowly and very light (fruits are ideal) on the first meal after the fast.

I say this because it could be that you will feel more hungry after fasting (not necessarily, but it is possible). If this is the case and we eat faster or heavier at once, some of the benefits of the fast could be diminished.

You could also look at it this way. When coming out of bed in the morning we move somewhat slower and more gently than after we're fully well awake. After a fast also, the digestive system has been at rest and it's helpful to let it wake up gently with a light meal.

Good luck with the healthy eating habits and weekly fasts!


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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 12 2017 :  4:46:02 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I really like your suggestion Omsat. Thank you!

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2001 Posts

Posted - Jan 12 2017 :  10:16:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I've only fasted for colonoscopies, and was pleasantly surprised a 24 hour fast isn't that onerous for me. I should test myself with occasional fasts. You being a borderline diabetic is a great reason to eliminate as much sugar as possible! Use lots of herbs Herb and good luck, keep reporting in!
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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 13 2017 :  02:20:38 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you Dogboy. I was a dog man in my previous life. So far my light, holistic diet is going well. My appetite has increased so much that I no longer need to heat my lunch at work. I park my work truck beside a 7-11 to have lunch and could easily heat it in their microwave, but there is no need. I slipped only a bit with a small bit of coffee this morning with cream and sugar. I had a large one, but threw it away after drinking a small bit. With my mentality a week a go I would have had two today.

I will report again after this coming Saterday fast. This one will be a better test for me as I was last Saterday which helped. I've lost 8 pounds since starting this program of diet and fasting. I have about 25 pounds of body fat still so loosing weight is a good thing.

Edited by - Herb on Jan 13 2017 04:46:54 AM
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1458 Posts

Posted - Jan 13 2017 :  05:39:32 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Herb - You have inspired me to try a Saturday fast as well.
Omsat - I will add that little piece of wisdom

Thank you

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267 Posts

Posted - Jan 13 2017 :  07:35:21 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 13 2017 :  1:21:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Good news Sey. I will be with you in spirit.

Edited by - Herb on Jan 13 2017 4:24:16 PM
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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 13 2017 :  6:02:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Here are some words of wisdom on this subject from my favorite Karma Yogi, Mahatma Gandhi:

"A man who chooses the path of freedom from restraint, i.e. self-indulgence, will be a bond slave of passions, whilst a man who binds himself to rules and restraints releases himself. All things in the universe, including the sun and the moon and the stars, obey certain laws. Without the restraining influence of these laws, the world would not go on for a single moment. It is discipline and restraint that separates us from the brute. If we would be men walking with our heads erect and not on all fours, let us understand and put ourselves under voluntary discipline and restraint.

True happiness is impossible without true health and true health is impossible without a rigid control of the palate. All the other senses will automatically come under our control when the palate has been brought under control. And he who has conquered his senses has really conquered the whole world.

One should eat not in order to please the palate but just to keep the body going. When each organ of sense subserves the body and, through the body, the soul, its specific relish disappears, and then alone does it begin to function in the way nature intended it to do. Any number of experiments is too small and no sacrifice too great for attaining this symphony with nature."
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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 15 2017 :  10:57:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
My first full week of healthy eating and doing weekly one day spiritual fasts is now over and I just finished my second fast. The most callenging part of the fast was going grocery shopping at Costco with my wife. What was especially different about that was being disgusted by the idea of eating sweets(they offer lots of free food samples), but highly attracted to the healthy samples. When I watched my wife chow down two servings of ripe persimmons, I think I may have actually been drooling haha. I have just exposed the idea that "going to sleep hungry is difficult", as a myth! I do not fall asleep easily and I had no problem going to sleep last night even though I was VERY hungry

I have tried fasting several times since going into a spiritual dark night of the soul back in the fall of 2014, but since begining to study the Hindu science of Yoga, I am finding renewed drive. Keep in mind that the focus of this change in diet is for my "spiritual" development and I am trying to unattach myself from the physical benefits.

I have been practicing Bhakti Yoga and I know that this has been where my added drive to make this transition is comming from. I have suffered from sugar addiction all my life. I may even have been born with it as my mother may have indulged heavily in sugar through the pregnancy.

Yogani's constant talk of cleansing throughout the lessons has hightened my desire to cleanse my body to aid the Yoga I am learning. And his lesson on fasting rekindled all my previous knowledge of the great aid that fasting does for one's spirituality. I look at it this way: if selfish self-indulgence in harmful food is a sin that hinders my ability to commune with God, then my new diet is an opportunity to show God that I love Him more than the harmful food that brings me pleasure. Sometimes, when I'm tempted to indulge in harmful food, I simply turn that situation into an opportunity to pray earnestly to God and prove that I love Him more than food.

I'm aware that all you who do not struggle with food addiction and are athiests or agnostics will think me nuts, but people have used fasting for thousands of years to aid their quest to find God for real. There is a clear connection between diet and spirituality. And I'm so happy that Yogani is teaching us about how meditation cleanses our nervous system. I must confess that I was ignorant of that fact before coming here. I wonder if anyone can comment on how or if nutritional and phycological/nerveous system cleansing might be related, and if so, how this cleansing might aid all Yoga practitioners in the ultimate goal of Yoga: to unite us with God/Universal Consciousness?

Edited by - Herb on Jan 15 2017 7:34:41 PM
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1458 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2017 :  02:51:09 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Dear Herb - I wish I could report that I managed to fast for the day - but no. As soon as my brain heard the word "fast", it started screaming for food.
I should have sneaked up on it - don't say anything just don't eat.

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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2017 :  09:32:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Sey I hear you. I used to fast and detoxify regularly when I was young, but since becoming spiritual in my fifties I have struggled with fasting. Funny thing is, spiritual fasting is only something I can do when my faith in the existence of God is high. When I first realized God back in April of 2012 I was stuggling with food addiction and weighed well over 200 pounds. With the help of my new found faith my food addiction problem was over and I took control of my diet. That and with spiritual fasting my body fat plummeted and my fitness increased until I was a lean mean 160 pounds in record time.

Then in the fall of 2014 my faith hit the wall and my weight has been climbing back up. However, since practicing Bhakti Yoga I have again found the drive and needed resolve to do spiritual fasting. However, between the fall of 2014 and just recently, I have attempted many fasts and failed every time. So I empathize with you.

I reccomend you practice Bhakti Yoga intensly for a few weeks and try again. Also I reccomend you study Yogani's lesson on fasting and the above quote by M. Gandhi between now and your next attempt at fasting over and over.

Good luck
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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 19 2017 :  10:06:08 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I would like to introduce to you something I learned from my Ishta, the great Karma Yogi M. Gandhi, "Renunciation for the sake of Service." To illustrate this concept I will give you an example of it's application to fasting. Since becoming spiritual I have developed a great desire to help the poor. My dear wife does not believe in charity so giving of my time and resouces to help the poor has been a challenge. However, while my faith in the exsistence of God is high I have done the following many times and the impact on my spiritual life as a result has been nothing short of amazing:

My wife is dedicated to me in many ways and an amazing cook. My work mates have always commented that I have the best lunches. So, with my desire to help the poor in heart, one night it struck me: I eat all I want before I go to work each day and have all I want to eat, again, as soon as I come home. Why not fast all day at work, heat up the large beautifully prepared meal that I have in the microwave at work before leaving, and go find some poor hungry homeless dude and ask him if he wants to sit in my car and have a nice warm meal! And I did that over and over. Then, so as not to offend my dear wife who doesn't believe in charity, I take my hunger firmly in hand when I get home, and eat like I'm not famished.

I must say that it's an amazing experience to go out hungry with the smell of a warm tasty meal in the car, drive around till you find someone hungry, and then pour love and compassion on him/her as they hungrily eat. While they eat my love and compassion always disolves my hunger. It's an amazing experience. And very spiritually rewarding!

Warning: inviting homeless people into your car will put you at risk! I am a normal sized man with a background in all forms of martial arts and have great confidence in my ability to defend myself. Do not attempt to do this alone. A less extreme way of applying the pricipal of renunciation for the sake of service to fasting would be to fast while you are serving food to your family or friends which is actually quite common. Or, if you don't have much opportunity to do that, try volunteering at a homless shelter and fasting while you serve them food.

Edited by - Herb on Jan 19 2017 1:20:20 PM
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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 23 2017 :  01:36:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Everything's going well. Just finished my third fast yesterday. Also my daily diet has been rock solid, all I eat is light natural food, no refined sugar or anything overly processed, and of course lots of fruit and veggies. It's amazing how, once you start making healthier food choices and giving your digestive system a rest every once and a while, how each success builds on the ones before it and it just gets easier and easier.

I looked like I was about half way through a pregnancy(I'm a man) before I changed my diet, but I've already lost 15 pounds. I'm just waiting now until I reach my healthiest weight to buy new clothes. And the self-restaint I am gaining through the control of diet is transferable! I now have far more self-control with all other things. And I have been a self indulgent person all my non spiritual life so don't think that I'm doing something that you don't have the will power to do. My will power has been built up systematically and scientifically through Yoga. I've been applying all that will power to my Yoga program and it's increadable how all eight limbs of it work together so beautifully.

The best part of this is the effect on my spiritual life. As Yogani says, "A preoccupation with diet is not an aid to meditation." but through also doing all of the other eight limbs of Yoga including lots of Bhakti, even my dreams now are prayer. And if my posts inspire even one person to seek self-realization a little harder, then these posts were worth it. A richer spiritual life is what I've been seeking for years before coming back to Yoga, and I'm truly realizing that. Nothing in life is more rewarding or so fully satisfying.

Edited by - Herb on Feb 03 2017 5:42:41 PM
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1458 Posts

Posted - Jan 23 2017 :  02:04:51 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Dear Herb,
Your enthusiasm is certainly inspiring. I'm afraid I live under different circumstances than you, living on an island the size of Montreal.
I have not yet found my niche with respect to selfless service than involves a physical contribution. I am certainly kind to all around me. I smile. I hug.
As for dieting I will give it another go soon.

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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 23 2017 :  07:27:22 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Originally posted by Herb

I wonder if anyone can comment on how or if nutritional and phycological/nerveous system cleansing might be related, and if so, how this cleansing might aid all Yoga practitioners in the ultimate goal of Yoga: to unite us with God/Universal Consciousness?

I found the answer to this question in Yogani's lesson on fasting:

"When the body is given an opportunity to take a break from processing food, it will purify itself. Its energy resources are naturally redirected from digestion and assimilation, and are fully devoted to conducting an inner cleanup. In this mode, the body is much better able to overcome disease and obstructions in the organs, tissues and nervous system, including the subtle neurobiological blockages within us that are the primary inhibitors of our spiritual unfoldment. So, prudent fasting is both an effective health therapy and an important spiritual practice, all rolled into one...In other words, the health and spiritual benefits of eating a light and nutritious diet are due in large part to the fasting effect, which is a condition of inner functioning that provides the natural processes of the body a greater opportunity to engage in cleansing, purification and opening."

Anyone considering fasting should carefully read the AYP lesson on it before starting:

We are all so fortunate to have such a wise teacher!

Sey, check your email

Edited by - Herb on Jan 23 2017 08:30:05 AM
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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2017 :  8:13:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I just made a spiritual breakthrough today. I ate too much last week so began my Saturday fast early by skipping supper on Friday. But by Saterday evening I was beginning to feel very uncomfortable. I have lost about 20 of the 35 pounds of (total) body fat I have since making this diet transition and it felt like every one of my fat cells was crying out "feed me!" Finally I ate some fruit. That was Saterday evening at about 8PM. But, since I hadn't eaten since about noon on Friday, I had still completed my one day fast.

I have been working on a Yoga devotional article that I read on my iPhone several times a day to build faith in God(Bhakti). This morning I woke up early and started reading my devotional before doing my Yoga. But by the time I finished my devotional I was on spiritual fire. So, instead of starting my regular Yoga routine, I decided to visit a local Meditation group(I skipped breakfast and brought no food with me). After joining them for their wonderful service, complete with about 4 chances to meditate together, singing, chanting, doing an awesome affirmation and listening to an inspirational talk, they had fellowship where I talked in depth with a very nice, highly intelligent man who had been meditating for about 25 years or so. And all we talked about was God and the spiritual benifits of meditation. Now my spiritual fire was blazing!

On Sunday's I join my 92 year old father for his non denominational Church service at 1PM so I went strait to that from the Meditation group. I got there a bit late, but that was a good thing because I find the first 15 minutes of my Dad's service to be boring. After 15 minutes the Pastor asks members to read Bible verses then we sing a few spirited songs and then he gives a great Sermon. I was chosen to read a bible verse the moment I sat down. I'm a Christian, so, for me, the Bible is living Word of God.

After the service we had fellowship and, first the Pastor, then his wife, shared some amazing personal testimonies with me and I with them(at least mine were amazing to me, especially when they originally happened). And, by the time it was over and I was in my car heading home, I felt as if my soul, my Atman, was fully satisfied or satiated. If any of you have ever experienced Devine Revelation, or, I'm quite sure, Self-Realization, you know the feeling I'm talking about. After that kind of event, or a day like I just described; even after a full 15-20 minutes of Samadhi, there is a feeling of inner satisfaction that is beyond any other kind of worldly satisfaction, be it sexual, a hearty meal, or recieving material satisfaction like a new job, a raise or an expensive gift.

I'm writing this just before my evening meditation so I hope it is like a cherry on the top of my spiritual pudding. But only Brahman is in control of that. And the way I just bragged about my day, I don't think I deserve a great meditation session. If that be God's will, I hope He decides to give you a truly great meditation session for reading and putting up with my brag.

Edited by - Herb on Jan 29 2017 8:22:20 PM
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821 Posts

Posted - Jan 29 2017 :  11:22:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Good for you, Herb

I fasted on the last 4 days of 2016 and had a profound heart opening. I think I read that Neem Karoli Baba suggested that his devotees fast for 3 days each month. I'm going to make it a monthly thing, but I'm too sick right now to do it.

There's this liquid called magnesium citrate that you can buy for less than $1 at any pharmacy that cleans the gut out pretty well. Salt water is probably just as effective, but it's pretty convenient.

Peace and good luck

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111 Posts

Posted - Jan 30 2017 :  3:32:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply

I don't know about you but, for me, appitite is the chief culprit. When I suppress that, it makes overcoming lust, desire for non essential material possessions and the desire to be shown love and respect from abusive loved ones not only possible, but fairly easy. When ever I am tempted by one of those, the first thing I do is stop eating. What is even better is to begin fasting well before going to battle against those spirituality killers. When I'm in a strong state of self denial it's like spiritual armour

Edited by - Herb on Jan 30 2017 6:40:40 PM
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111 Posts

Posted - Feb 15 2017 :  4:16:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
After a month of fasting on Saterdays my spiritual life seems to have been positively influenced by all the fasting and praying(I wasn't praying at all before I started, but now I am, especially while hungry). Health wise I feel way better on a natural diet, but would still like to loose more weight. However, my weight is not budging from about 177 pounds. The problem is that I don't get home from work till after 6pm, and by the time I finish Yoga, I'm eating too much, too late.

So to rectify the problem and put all the self discipline with diet to better use, I've decided to start skipping supper each day and, if I can avoid snacking and continue to loose weight, I intend to stop my Saturday fasts at this point. So I'm changing from one all day fast, once a week, to a daily partial fast.

I look at what I'm doing as nothing compared to the strict regiment of vegetarians, vegans and, especially, Cristi's amazing spiritual quest to live on light

Edited by - Herb on Feb 15 2017 4:22:52 PM
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2001 Posts

Posted - Feb 15 2017 :  10:18:03 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
It sounds safe enough. Godspeed!
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2 Posts

Posted - Jan 27 2021 :  03:43:56 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I also tried fasting a few months ago. It does me a lot of good! Keep it up! I am now trying to implement a "Taoist" diet with very little meat and having a yin-yang balance in the food that also helps a lot on the spiritual side ;.

Edited by - Lao on Feb 03 2021 05:34:43 AM
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Gustavo Woltmann

22 Posts

Posted - Mar 31 2021 :  08:14:10 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I am against starving yourself and rigorous fasting. We should eat healthy and eat small portions often. I rarely eat meat and it is almost always fish. Religion is important but it should not cost you your health. (my opinion)
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United Kingdom
4154 Posts

Posted - Mar 31 2021 :  09:13:42 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Gustavo,

Fasting in moderation, is actually quite healthy for your body. This partly has to do with the way that insulin works in the body. During short periods of fasting, the body actually goes into a self-cleaning mode, clearing out dead cells and converting excess fat into energy.

Short periods of fasting could be for as little as 12-hours. This is called 12-12 intermittent fasting, for example where someone would only eat between 8 in the morning and 8 in the evening. If people only eat say between 10 in the morning and 6 in the evening, this is 16-8 intermittent fasting (16 hours of fasting with an 8-hour eating window). A slightly longer fast with only water could be done for 24 hours, or for several days at a time. This can also be done drinking juices, or eating soup. It will still have a beneficial effect on the body if done with juices or soup.

There are spiritual benefits to fasting as well, because when we eat less food, prana rises in the body to provide energy and this prana has an energising and purifying effect on the subtle neurobiology. Even short periods of fasting will have some spiritual effect.

Personally, I would not recommend fasting to someone who is not naturally drawn to it. But what I find is that as people progress on the spiritual path, there is usually a time when they are drawn to fasting. That is the right time to take it up, if you do.

You may find these lessons useful:

Lesson 310 - Fasting - A Powerful Spiritual Practice

Lesson 167 - Living on Air and Sunlight Alone?


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