Ask the Yogi: Fasting and Exercise

Ask The Yogi

Fasting and Exercise

Q.  My husband and I are going to do the Stanley Burroughs Master Cleanse.  We started once last year but only made it through 2 days.  Tried to do it while camping …  bad idea  :o}
I am wondering if you have known of anyone else who has done this?  I understand from the book that due to the minerals of the syrup and the amino acid of the lemons that the body can absolutely continue exercising.  This is a huge issue for me.  

A: I have been on this fast for 3-5 days and have known people who have been on it longer.  Like many fasts there seems to be a 2-3 day window at the start where the body begins to shrug off a lot of accumulated toxins.  Some body types are more suited to fasting then others, and it is important t know yourself and to check in regularly with your inner guidance on whether or not the fast should continue and as to your intention for this fast.  If your intention is mostly to achieve physical results, you will most likely do this but at a certain cost to your energy levels or even your health.  Is this (or any fast) possible?  Definitely.  Is it adviseable?  That is really up to you and or a health care advisor.  If you don’t know for sure, be monitored reularly by a holistically oriented healthcare professional while you are fasting.

You can probably do a variation of your exercise but it may be wise to really go by feel… Yoga would be fine because it encourages you to be aware, but you may find yourself wanting to avoid power or ashtanga.  A fast is a time to be a little quieter with the body, to listen, go inward and really cleanse on a vibrational level as well.  It is also an opportunity to really feel with the body instead of the mind.  In this way you work with the rising and falling cycles during the fast w/o having a preset idea or schedule.  For example, instead of an “I’m going to exercise in 5 hours” mentality, see how you truly feel in 5 hours instead.

Perhaps more important here to most people is the possibility of attaching ourselves to the desired outcome of an exercise program and becoming obsessed with a result or idealized goal… The highest vibrational goal is known by heart and soul and not by the mind alone.  Ideal health really starts with balance as it is meant to be an assistance on the spiritual path to have a healthy organism free of toxins mentally and physically.  So the answer may be different at different times for different situations.  When to exercise, especially when you are on a fast, can be measured against the yardstick of spiritual evolution and balance, realizing that too much attachment (raga) or too much aversion (dvesha) will create an imbalance that can only become manifest in the physical form no matter what we do.

A fanatic is one who loses sight of the goal and doubles the effort, resulting in a journey that can take you far astray from your original intention.  So all exercise programs for the one who is aware must include a form of meditation, self-study and holistic cleansing that does not fall into fanaticism.

Jeff Martens is a teacher, writer and co-owner of Inner Vision Yoga.  All suggestions are voluntary.  Consult a qualified teacher or your physician before you embark on any practice in which you are unfamiliar.

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