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meditation and fasting benefits

annelies espeel

A little blog on meditation and fasting as means of maintaining healthy lifestyle.

For many of my patients I recommend BREATHING-meditation such as Vipassana, cardiac coherence, mindfulness … as part of their treatment. The reason why is very simple: you always have your breath with you. It might sound easy and logic to breathe since our body does this autonomously. We don’t think about it.

BUT actively focussing on our breath helps us to observe our body and empty our mind and be less frustrated about our bodily symptoms.

I do Vipassana and even after a few retreats and an active focus on breath, I constantly find my mind wander after a few moments of focus. The moment you realise it, however, the only thing you need to do is to focus again on your breath. A wandering mind is a trick of your brain to not want to deal with yourself. Once you understand this, it is much easier to nog get frustrated with yourself and continue to breathe and observe the sensations on your body: cold, warm, pain, tingling, pleasant, unpleasant, heavy, light…

Fasting is another way to heal your body. Our digestive system needs to rest for 12h minimum in order to digest everything completely. That is why intermittent fasting is a popular way of getting rid of body toxins and heavy weekend dinners or family food meetings and on the long run also migraines, allergies, skin problems, digestive issues ... The idea is to have at least 12hours between your last meal and your first the next day. Usually you’ll find it easier to do this in the evening, since you sleep throughout most of your fasting. But some fast from evening to lunch. You are allowed to drink water, coffee or tea since it holds no calories. Soon you’ll find more energy, less bloating, a clear mind etc.

The main clue is to not eat too much sugar (including alcohol) and to eat enough food when you are allowed to eat. Drink plenty of water throughout your fast. Do not starve yourself, fasting is for your health, it’s not torture.

There are many different ways to fast: intermittent fasting, 24h fasting, 3day fasting, religiously inspired fasts etc. Many people do fasting before going into surgery or chemotherapy so they have less side effects after and recover faster.

Caution: when you are pregnant, diabetic, have hypoglycaemia or a low blood pressure fasting needs to be carefully followed up with a doctor or nurse trained in this matter.