For those who practice Ramadan and yoga simultaneously, there may be some questions that will arise. To do it successfully, planning ahead is definitely a must!
I, myself, practice yoga while fasting during the Ramadan season. Of course this entails some preparation and adjustments to successfully practice both at the same time. Let me share with you tips that might help in your own flow.
Fasting offers a lot of health benefits such as weight management, blood sugar regulation, immune system boost, and cardiovascular health. Fasting goes way back and is practiced by different cultures and religions. In fact, even the yogic culture encourages this too and is known to encourage overall renewal. Veering away from food or drink consumption is known to clarify and purify both the mind and body which overall helps promote purity (sattva) and decrease passion and confusion (rajas) and darkness and chaos (tamas).
Yogic fastings can vary from juice fasts to more difficult types of fasting. The duration may also vary from hours to as much as days. As long as you’re in a good health state, supervision is not needed for up to 3-5 days of juice or water fasts. Anything longer and more intense will most likely need supervision.
- Autolysis: this is the body’s way of eliminating harmful and dead cells and it usually jumpstarts 24 to 48 hours after the onset of fasting.
- Toxin elimination
- Freeing up the energy that goes into digestion to redirect it to other functions
- Provides more energy
- Increases awareness to improve focus and meditation
- Develops willpower
- Helps release bodily urges
- Helps gain sensitivity and intuition
All of the benefits yoga offers create an environment for a more enhanced practice with more energy to give into the flow. Additionally, it can give you an improved concentration and breath awareness.
Yoga while fasting tips
Watch what you eat and drink
As a rule of thumb, you might want to break your fast slowly but surely. In other words, do not devour a full meal right after fasting. A glass of water and some light healthy snacks are recommended. Once the divine time for your full meal comes, stick to healthier options and avoid food packed with refined sugar. Most importantly, stay hydrated all throughout!
Yoga doesn’t always mean asanas
Asanas are the physical postures but these are not all there is when it comes to yoga. You can definitely have a great flow without the usual asanas. While fasting, make sure to listen to your body. If it’s not feeling it, respect it. Other options to practice on days you do not feel like adding some asanas to your flow are pranayama, meditation, or seva (selfless service).
Find the perfect time for you
If you need your asana, try to figure out what time of the day works best for you. Energy levels vary all throughout the day, especially when you’re fasting. It is of common sense to do your practice when your energy level is at peak. Some people, on the other hand, prefer saving their energy in the morning to get into a more intense flow later in the day.
Modify your practice
If you’re used to practicing intense yoga flows on your typical days, you might want to consider modifying it when done during fasting. Sticking to the basic sequences may be a good idea considering you do not have all the calories and energy you usually have.
Pranayamas (breathing exercises) are great to incorporate during fasting. Diaphragmatic breathing (Yogic breathing) induces overall calmness and Bhramari Pranayama (Bee breath) helps with concentration to prepare you for diving into your meditation.
If you’re not feeling like doing your typical asana flow, you may want to do some of these poses:
- Sun salutation
- Setu Bandhasana (Bridge pose)
- Paschimottanasana (Seated forward fold)
- Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
- Balasana (Child’s pose)
- Ardha Matsyendrasana (Seated spinal twist)
- Shavasana (Corpse pose)
Now, you are equipped with some knowledge, I hope that your yoga while fasting will be smoother and better. Namaste!