I just floated home after Ximena Gutierrez’s Jivamukti class at Past Tense Studio (one of the places where I teach yoga). Today’s theme was “This Too Shall Pass” – a phrase with which I am very familiar from a variety of spiritual paths and programs. The premise is to remain detached from and have faith through all experiences – positive/negative, good/bad, easy/difficult. Because eventually, all will change.
Over and over and over.
Complementing the normally uplifting effect of Ximena’s classes (and today’s perfectly crisp and sunny weather), I am feeling quite light-spirited from fasting. I have not had a “solid” meal since Wednesday evening. For this liquid fast, throughout yesterday I drank: many glasses of water with fresh organic lemon, cayenne and honey; one cup of fresh-made carrot/celery juice; two cups of Yogi Detox tea; and two bowls of miso soup with lemon juice and seaweed flecks to balance my blood sugar with proteins and aminos.
As you know from last night’s post, I attended a Kirtan yesterday. Combined with my daily Sadhana, the fast removed many physical distractions and heightened my focus on the task at hand – chanting my devotion to a Higher Power. Again citing Native American ritual, I remember that many people fasted for 24 hours prior to our sweat lodges, to intensify their presence within the ceremony. Last night, I definitely felt more connected and aware during the event.
I have tried fasting a number of times throughout my decades of exploring spiritual paths and natural health. Being prone to hypoglycemia, straight water fasts and the legendary “Master Cleanse” (water, lemon, cayenne, honey) do not work well for me. At Yoga Teacher Training, we were invited to fast every Thursday with the cleanse formula – and for one day at a time, I did fine. Overall, longer fasts that combine cleansing and nutritious liquids, juices and broths leave me the most energized and strong.
For example: in class this morning, lifting myself into wheel was like flying into the sky heart-first, with limbs dangling lightly below.
For me, fasting is easier if I remember that “This Too Shall Pass.” The first day can be very challenging. Every smell or reminder of food brings a hunger pang. But I simply remind myself, “That food will be there when I finish my fast. No need to dwell on it now.” (Just like all those times I thought that depression or bliss would last forever – “Balance will return when this condition dissolves. Be present with the emotion for these moments.”)
Today, after morning Sadhana and this journal entry, I will break my fast with a simple bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, cinnamon and fresh organic ginger. I’ll ease back to a clean diet throughout the day, probably munching on dried goji berries and perhaps a bowl of miso with collards and onion. All good tonic foods.
For dinner tonight, I’ve been invited for salmon at my friends’ house (yes, I eat fish – maybe I’ll journal about my choice to eat fish sometime) and am to bring a chocolate dessert! Most likely, my fish portion will be small; and I might take a moment of conscientious indulgence for a small bite of dessert. But maybe not.
More will be revealed.
The point is that I am willing to grow along this path of yogic life. This fast did not take a bunch of planning. I decided on Wednesday evening to stop eating for a day, and was going to break the fast without going to yoga class this morning. But I went anyway, because I was feeling so great after last night’s Kirtan and yesterday’s liquid diet. And if I didn’t have dinner plans this evening, I might have kept going through this day and beyond. This clarity, lightness and serenity that comes from cleansing is a beautiful gift.
And of course, This Too Shall Pass. And that’s A-OK with me. OM Shanti.
“Be good, do good, feel good.” – Swami Satchidananda