[Upa= near, vasa= to stay, to sit]
To remain close to the aim is called upavasa. Fasting is synonymous term. Fasting is followed during upavasa. Fasting is to remain without taking food materials, or to use foods or food material under the observation of an expert, say naturopathy doctor. In another word the rational use of healthy food can also be called as fasting or upavasa. Fasting can be followed in health and disease. The producer is different for different situation depending on- the physical and mental condition of the person, seasonal variation, purpose of fasting etc. Doctors, while advising the patient, restrict some food items and advocate another items. This is also a sort of upavasa.
Upavasa is a preventive as well as curative method. Anyone apparently healthy can follow upavasa/fasting once or twice a month or bimonthly. During the period of upavasa one is not allowed to work difficult tasks, better one has to remain in rest for that period. Upavasa is also good method to live healthy naturally.
This is a langhana (avoiding) therapy. And naturally this lowers the level of nutrition particles in the body and at the same time it decreases the toxins in the body.
Mentality and Food during Upavasa or Fasting:
Anyone who fears of hunger will have problem practicing fasting. In the beginning days one may get excessive hunger. Mentally weak person may get more hunger. One, who can try for controlling the mind in proper manner, can practice fasting or upavasa. Naturally one’s physiology causes hunger on habituated time. So to deal with it, the amount of food or diet is lowered gradually. And at the ending of the upavasa or fasting, food is gradually increased.
So generally fasting without having anything is avoided. According to the need and capacity one is advised (allowed) to eat light foods, fruits, juices (of fruits or vegetables) and so on, in a controlled manner.
What to do in Leisure?
The rest of the time is spent doing peaceful and pleasing works of interest that does not harm anyone. Activities that give less (or no) tension to body and mind are recommended, for example- light singing, reading, playing, meditating…etc. For such therapeutic purpose the place can be better if it is secluded, and natural.
How upavasa /fasting works?
Due to fasting or upavasa major digestive and metabolic organs get rest and rejuvenated. All glands get rest. All healthy can do this while people with health problem can do this with the help of naturopathy doctor.
Fasting or upavasa is useful for the management of following problems:
3. Impaired eating habit
Types of Fasting or Upavasa:
On the basis of Time period:
Fasting or upavasa can be short time practice or a long time practice. One can do according to the capacity or the need. It can be of a day fasting, or a two days practice, or one week, or two week.
On the basis of purpose:
Upavasa can be therapeutic, or spiritual, or ritual, or something else. Even other types if done in proper way provide therapeutic benefits.
Other things During Upavasa / Fasting:
1. Enema of warm water can be given to those who have constipation on the first days of fasting or upavasa. In a weekly upavasa / fasting, emema can be given 3 to 4 times. It helps to cleanse the body thoroughly.
2. Light massage can be given to the whole body during upavasa or fasting. This increases the free blood flow to all parts of body.
3. Fever and thirst can occur. So lemon and water is advised to take in plenty.
4. If one feels weakness s\he is advised to take coconut pieces, cashew nut, milk, fruits in limited amount.