Fasting Guidelines

An excerpt from Dr. Cousens’ book Spiritual Nutrition

When to and When Not to Fast

Intentional fasting for short periods of time such as seven to ten days is considered completely safe by many fasting experts. In some Swedish hospital experiments with fasting, patients fasted up to fifty-five days without any difficulty. Paavo Airola states that water fasting up to forty days and juice fasting up to 100 days is generally considered safe by fasting medical experts in Europe. Therapeutic fasts from fourteen to twenty-one days are considered common in European fasting clinics.

If one has any sort of serious illness or acute or chronic disease, it is highly recommended to do any fasting in conjunction with a health practitioner who is well versed in the science of fasting. Those who have a strong vata dosha constitution (see Chapter 24), who are very sensitive to life changes, who lose weight easily and cannot regain it easily, with degenerative diseases from which they are suffering malnutrition or extreme emaciation, or those with wasting diseases should probably not fast. If people insist on fasting with these conditions, it should be done under the supervision of an experienced health practitioner. In general, pregnant and lactating women, people who have not reached full physical maturity, and those who are ten pounds or more underweight should not fast. We should also not fast if we are operating heavy machinery, performing dangerous mechanical tasks, or even have to do much driving. During a fast, our minds and bodies usually become more calm and slower than such tasks normally require for safety.
It is best not to stop a fast in the middle of a detoxification crisis, but gently work our way through it by aiding all the eliminative systems with techniques such as enemas, skin brushing, and foot massage to stimulate organs to eliminate. It is important to stop a fast if an extreme nervous or mental condition manifests or a person begins to enter a cycle of high fevers. These are unusual occurrences.

General Fasting Guidelines

One of the most important aspects of fasting is to enhance all the eliminative channels for the toxins leaving the system. The following guidelines are suggested:

  • Take an enema at least once per day. Some clinics recommend as many as three separate enemas per day. Colonics during the fast are excellent as well.
  • Brush the skin for 3–5 minutes once or twice daily and follow this with a bath and skin scrub to remove the excess dead cells and draw more toxins out of the system.
  • Get plenty of sunshine and do deep breathing exercises to help detoxify the skin and lungs.
  • Get moderate exercise during the fast to help activate the system to eliminate toxins. This may include a 30–60-minute walk, swimming, and sacred dance, and 16 minutes per day on a rebounder.
  • Practice daily Yoga for moving the lymphatics, as well as general exercise.
  • Take short saunas to enhance perspiration, which helps the detoxification process.
  • Abstain from sexual activity to conserve energies for healing and regenerating.
  • Use flower essences and gem elixirs during the fast to help balance and align the subtle bodies and chakras and to awaken the chakras. These can enhance the harmony of the body-mind-spirit complex during the fast. Self-heal, silver sword, papaya, lotus, star sapphire, and quartz seem to be the best preparations. Self-heal aids in the natural process of the absorption of prana during fasting. Silver sword aligns all subtle bodies and balances the heart chakra. Papaya is excellent for emotional and sexual balance and allows us to enter the spiritual realms more easily. Lotus stimulates the alignment and balance on all levels of our Being, and is outstanding for fasting and meditation. Star sapphire activates all chakras, especially the crown, and specifically stimulates spiritual opening while fasting. Quartz removes negative thoughts and creates emotional calm. The gem elixirs and flower essences from Pegasus Products are excellent.
  • Drink Tachyon elixir each day to support liver and kidney avenues of elimination.
  • Scrape the tongue each day to remove toxins on the tongue.

It is very important to break the fast carefully and consciously. During the fast, the digestive system has shut down and must be carefully restarted. At the end of the fast, the body absorbs everything much more easily, so what we put back into our bodies should be what we really want to rebuild our bodies with. The end of a fast is a very good opportunity to reorganize ourselves around a new quality of diet. A ratio of one day of breaking the fast for each three days of fasting is a broad guideline, though everyone’s body is different and this needs to be individualized. One should take a minimum of three days to come off a seven- to twenty-one-day fast. The author recommends breaking a fast in the morning with citrus juice to stimulate the flow of gastric juices and using certain herbs such as ginger and anise to speed up the process of eliminating toxic gas from the system and activate the pybric valve at the bottom of the stomach. Acidophilus is useful for replenishing the bowel flora that is depleted secondarily to the enemas. Trifala is useful for restoring bowel peristalsis.

Spiritual Fasting – the Elixir of Spiritual Nutrition

Spiritual Fasting is another powerful force in Spiritual Nutrition. Fasting for at least seven days on green juices, as we do in our Spiritual Fasting Retreats at the Tree of Life, is the most powerful dietary way of becoming a superconductor for the Divine. Done in a full-spiritual context, it calms the vrittis of the mind, purifies the koshas, clears the nadis, and sets the pre-conditions for the awakening of Kundalini. In our Spiritual Fasts there is an intense experience of the Six Foundations and all the cleansing of the koshas is accelerated. As a result of this, about 90 percent of the people who immerse themselves in the high-prana elixir of Spiritual Fasting at the Tree of Life experience a Kundalini/Shekhinah awakening. Kundalini/Shekhinah requires pranic energy high enough for the Grace of Shaktipat/Smicha l’shefa/Haniha to awaken it. These Spiritual Fasts are the quintessence of what Spiritual Nutrition can be. This is why the Tree of Life Center US has become what many people consider the leading Spiritual Fasting center in the world.