Is There Any Benefit to Fasting?
Sadhguru explains the benefits of fasting.
Is There Any Benefit to Fasting?

Questioner: Is there any benefit to fasting?

Sadhguru: In yoga, the ideal break between one meal and the next meal is eight hours. You can manage these kinds of meals even when you are working outside. But a minimum of five hours is a must for everybody. This is because only when your stomach is empty, your excretory system functions properly.

See, you can do this as an experiment: let us say your measure that you are eating so many calories, or your one meal is this many grams. You make the same meal into two portions and eat it twice a day. If you make the same meal into ten portions and eat ten times a day, you will see when you eat ten times; you will put on more weight. This is simply because the excretory system is not efficient. A lot of garbage, which would have gone out of system, will not go out of the system because constantly the stomach is full. When there is food in the stomach, when the digestive process is happening, the excretory system does not function very efficiently. Only when the stomach is totally empty, the cleansing happens well.

Once in every 11 to 14 days, you may not feel like eating. On that day, you should not eat.

Have you observed… when you are very sick, very weak, and you get up from the bed, how you walk? Every step in full awareness, isn’t it? As you become less of a body, your awareness of other dimensions within yourself naturally becomes enhanced. When food is served before you, if you are too much of a body, if you are hungry you know, both your hands will go for it. When you are very hungry, all your body wants to do is eat. But now, you could take a moment, before you start eating, to silently express your gratitude to everything that has brought this food to you – the land, the farmer, the vendor, the person who cooked it, the one who served it, and to the food itself for offering its life for yours, before you start eating. A simple act like this loosens you from your body. It reminds you that you are not the body. When you are very hungry, you are the body. Just give it a little space and suddenly you are not that. Hunger is there, you are there, and it is okay. Misunderstanding this has led to simply torturous fasting.

It is important that you don’t fast forcefully. If you observe the natural cycle of the body, there is something called a mandala. The mandala means that every 40 to 48 days, the system goes through a certain cycle. In every cycle, there are three days when your body does not need food. If you are conscious of how your body functions, you will become aware that on these days, your body does not need food. And without effort, you can go without food on that day.

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Infographic - Ekadashi

Once in every 11 to 14 days, you may not feel like eating. On that day, you should not eat. You know, even dogs and cats have this awareness? Have you noticed that on particular days, they will not eat? They are aware of their system. On the day the system says “no food,” it is a cleaning-up day, they will not eat. Since you don’t have this awareness, they fixed Ekadashi. Ekadashi comes once in every 14 days in the lunar calendar. At least every 14 days, you could go without food. If you are unable to go without food, if your activity levels are such and you don’t have the necessary sadhana to support you, then you could go on a fruit diet. Just observe your own system, and you may notice that on certain days, you do not really need to eat. Forcing food on those days is not a good thing to do.

Suppose one wants to fast for a certain period, it must always be supported with the right kind of spiritual practices or sadhana. If you forcefully fast without preparing your body and mind sufficiently, you will only cause damage to your health. But if your body is properly prepared, if you are mentally also in a certain state, if you are prepared energy-wise, then fasting can be of much benefit to you.

If you are constantly drinking coffee or tea, then, if you fast, it will become torture for you; fasting will be very difficult. So if you want to fast, first of all prepare the body by eating the right kind of foods. If it is a great torture when you hold back your urge to eat, you will only cause damage to the system. Maybe you are thinking of performing some kind of a feat “I did not eat for three days,” and you want to go and tell that to the whole world. Please don’t do such things. It is of no benefit to you. You will just make yourself weak, that is all. Just understanding the body and coming to a deeper understanding of how the system functions and what is the best thing to do, is more important than doing something like this.

It may not be a good thing for everybody to fast, but it has many benefits if it is done with proper understanding. So finding the right situation for the system and taking off food at that time will be a good thing to do.

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Food Body

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3 years ago

Namaskaram Sadhguru thinking of sabudana kichidi

6 years 8 months ago

Thanks Sadhguru for explaining the significance of fasting on one's spiritual and physical well being...

9 months 3 weeks ago

Effectivelу, what doeѕ God like?? Leеe addeɗ.
?Ι imply, we like cookies and cartoons and toʏs,
but whɑt sort of issues are еnjoyablе for Gߋd??
It was a ԛuery tht for a minute Mommy and Daddy needed to assume about.

6 years 10 months ago

superb as always! I had just started fast on Ekadashis and had begun to realize that some days I dont feel like having food at all for long periods. This comes at the right time.

6 years 8 months ago

He challenges (almost)  everything and this time eating habits by some discipline or schedule.

My close friend says his dog doesn't indulge in 'any' food item every 'ekadasi' day so does his Mom consciously for over a decade - I could never explain this to myself and was amazed at this creation; now I could put some logical explanation to this. 

I believe, humans has the gift of effective communication ability between them which makes them learn things from other experience easily - parents teach their kids what to have when and we grow with that discipline by taking things for granted but this element of  ' listen to your body (baadi as Guruji spells :))' while/for eating has never sunk in.

My friends from North India eat only chappathis but avoid rice when they are feeling unwell wherein South Indians (including me) would avoid chappathis but eat rice/idlis or the kinds.  This comes by the discipline your body adopts based on your and your parents' experiences by the place they belong and climatic conditions may be.  Key here which I felt missing was with that past experience - continue to listen to your body needs as it keeps changing with generations, age, climate, etc.

Every time I listen to any of Sadguru's speech/articles I appreciate (creation of) my body more than before.

Thanks for sharing.

6 years 10 months ago

This is absolutely insane.  I am being drawn to Sadhguru like a magnet.  Someone, hold me up...............

5 years 8 months ago

Dear all,

This information about the spiritual dimension of fasting is very insightful to me.
I wondered that, for the daily course of life, one can drink juice or eat fruit in the '5-hours-gap (or 8-hours gap)' between two meals. Does anyone know more about this?



6 years 10 months ago

Really true.....if You practice it amazing results will come out from Sadhguru told...make atleast five hours gap for a little food, You will feel that hunger in each and every molecule within YOU.

5 years 7 months ago

if you are in yoga,you discover with practice,the right time ,right quantity,right quality,of food to be taken at the right time,giving you the joy and the right amount of energy.To such a person fasting is a meaningless practice and in a subtle way violence to your own body,which depends on you to look after its needs.

6 years 10 months ago

dynamic,practical and applied philosophy

5 years 7 months ago

Dear self,
Go by your own bodies basic instincts such as thirst and listen to your body

6 years 10 months ago

Fantastic explanation on the need for fast and how to regulate it...Simply superb Double like...

5 years 6 months ago

It is said that eating once in a day is yogi, twice-bhogi, thrice-rogi. Hence food requirement fills only 10% of energy, rest 20% through breathing, 70% through spiritual practices-Sadhguru may enlighten us please.

6 years 10 months ago

Simply superb with an insight in blending both scientifically and need for doing it... Sadhguru as always

4 years 5 months ago

i push u... go on..

6 years 10 months ago

That's the style of Sadguru. He supports us with the reason where no one can reject.That is his power. This has came in a right time to me. I am planning to start skipping the wednesday dinner as directed by sadguru.

4 years 2 months ago

Exactly....that has been my situation too! In fact I used the same adjective for him during a sathsang - he is a magnet!

6 years 9 months ago

I scape wednesday dinner, friday dinner and at evening dinner too! I feel very joyful......... conten, happy and being in heaven............ Thank you Sadhguru............

3 years 5 months ago

should fasting be done whole day(24 hrs) without any kind of liquid or solid intake.
And can we take water during fasting?

6 years 9 months ago

it is good listening to sadhguru and being with him

3 years ago

I personally don't think there's anything new about this concept as i quite well know that Food take easily about 8hours to travel from the point of Input to the point of Output after Total Digestion,without any loss of Nutrients or after Eliminating all the Excesses/Impurities because of which it is strongly advised since Time immemorial that one should consume Food Thrice-a-Day, of course all that was at a Time when People were Working/Slogging on a Day to Day basis, but not now When People have developed a Lifestyle Disorder mainly Obesity, People are advised to Divide their Thrice-a-Day Food into mainly many Smaller Portions(retaining the Calorific Value as Same)but Boosting the Metabolic Rate, so that one can Shed those Extra

6 years 8 months ago

It might be difficult for some of us who are on medication.