Navratri 2023: Fasting lies at the core of all the festivities of Navratri. This ancient practice is a representation of all the cultural and spiritual values that are deeply rooted in Hinduism. Commonly the devotees refrain from having certain food items (ensuing Satvik diet) and precisely follow specific rituals.
Moreover, numerous studies have shown that fasting not only nurtures your spirit but energizes the body and mind. It can even help you lose weight safely while making your brain work better. Fasting is not only preached to show devotion but also have numerous health benefits:
- Psychological Cleansing- often fasting is correlated with the purification of one’s soul. Similarly, fasting in Navratri is a way to seek the blessings of Maa Durga and an escape from the fleeting pleasures of this world, for the greater good.
- Health benefits- Fasting when done right can bring along a fair share of satisfactory health gain. Scientifically, it helps in detoxifying the body, nourishing the digestive system, and strengthening the insides of your body in general.
Additional health benefits include:
- Lowers risk factors for heart related diseases; such as high/low blood pressure, cholesterol levels, strokes and heart failure.
- Stimulates the brain cells and eliminates the odds of embodying any neurological Disease.
- Amplifies hormonal regulation by promoting the release of growth hormones in the body naturally.
- Gives you a refreshing digestive rest by promoting gut health.
- Instilling discipline- Fasting is beyond just not eating. It’s not unknown to anyone that any kind of meditation, including fasting, requires self-control, willpower and composure, all of which can be achieved through mental strength.
- Longevity- fasting acts as a shield in your quest for a longer and pleasant life. Some researchers also suggest that intermittent fasting promotes longevity and increases the average lifespan of a person.
Navratri fasting ritual: course of action.
1. Saatvik Diet: During Navratri, devotes follow a peculiar/special plant-based diet, which includes fruits, vegetables, dairy, and nuts. Edibles like onions, garlic, and non-vegetarian food are strictly prohibited.
2. Meal Frequency: while many opt for seasonal fasting, some people observe a complete fast, consuming only water (or milk) during the nine days. Still there are others who go for partial fasting, where they eat one meal a day.
3. Prayers and peace offering: Devotees engage in daily prayers (of fixed intervals), visit temples, and participate in aarti or other holy gatherings to seek the blessings of the Goddess.
4. Cultural Celebrations: besides fasting, Navratri is also famous for its cultural festivities like Garba and Dandiya dance, which are a form of traditional folk dance of India.
5. friendly donations: Some kind souls choose to serve the underprivilege by giving to charity or performing acts of kindness during this period.
A friendly reminder that there are no set norms, and these procedures and traditions may vary among regions and communities. Hence, it’s always advised to consult with a priest or someone knowledgeable in the matter to observe them correctly and respectfully.