How to fast during Navratri

Fasting during Navratri is an ideal way to detox the body, enhance digestion and increase positivity.

While the benefits of fasting during Navratri are plenty, many of us fast incorrectly which further disturbs the balance in our body.

Here is a complete guide on how to fast during Navratri in a way that is conducive to your body and mind:

How you can plan your fast for the nine days of Navratri?

Day 1 to 3

Follow a fruit diet. You can eat sweet fruits like apple, banana, sapodilla, papaya, watermelon, and grapes. And you can also have Indian gooseberry (amla) juice, bottle gourd (lauki) juice and tender coconut water.

Day 4 to 6

On the next three days, you can have a one-time meal of the traditional Navratri diet (given below) along with fruit juices, buttermilk, and milk for the rest of the day.

Day 7 to 9

During the last three days, you can follow a traditional Navratri diet.

In case you have a health condition, it would be best to consult a doctor before fasting and remember to do only as much as you are comfortable with.

A traditional Navratri Fasting diet

A conventional Navratri fasting diet is one that pacifies our digestive fire. It can be any combination of the following ingredients:

  • Buckwheat (kuttu) roti, fasting rice (shamak rice), dosa from fasting rice, dishes made from sago (sabudana), water chestnut (singhara) flour, rajgira, yam (suran), colocasia (arbi), boiled sweet potatoes (shakarkand), etc.
  • Clarified butter (ghee), milk and buttermilk. All these have a cooling effect on the body
  • Yogurt combined with bottle gourd (lauki) and pumpkin (kaddu)
  • Lots of fluids – tender coconut water, juices, vegetable soups, etc. Besides providing energy, they prevent dehydration and flush out the toxins released during fasting
  • Fruit salad made with papaya, pear, and apple

When following a traditional Navratri diet, it is also recommended to:

  • Use rock salt instead of common salt for cooking
  • Use healthy cooking methods like roasting, boiling, steaming and grilling
  • Be strictly vegetarian
  • Avoid grains for the first few days
  • Avoid any fried and heavy food
  • Avoid onion and garlic
  • Avoid overeating

Those who cannot fast should abstain from non-vegetarian food, alcohol, onion, garlic and use rock salt instead of common salt for cooking.

Breaking your fast

When you break your fast in the evening or at night, have a light meal. Avoid heavy meals as that not only makes it difficult for the system to digest but also undo the cleansing process and positive effects of fasting. Eat small quantities of easily digestible food.

Observe fast with yoga and meditation

Gentle yoga poses, stretches, twists and bends complement the fasting process. It speeds up the detoxification process, and you will feel uplifted and energized.

The benefits of fasting during Navratri

Why should you fast during Navratri?

Rich in colors, tradition, songs, and dance, Navratri is also a time for us to relax, turn inwards and recharge ourselves with new energy. Fasting during Navratri makes that inner journey towards bliss and joy easier to make. It reduces the restlessness of the mind and brings forth awareness and joy.

The dynamics of fasting

“We fast not to please the Divine, but to cleanse our body.” – Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

According to Ayurveda, fasting rekindles the digestive fire. An increase in the digestive fire burns the toxins in the body. When the toxins are flushed out of the body, it loses dullness and lethargy. All the cells of the body are rejuvenated. Fasting, therefore, is an effective therapy to cleanse our body. When the body is cleansed, the mind becomes calmer and more peaceful because of the deep connection between the body and mind.

As fasting rekindles the digestive fire, it helps in de-stressing and building immunity.

Usually, most of us don’t wait to feel hungry. Hunger is the way our body indicates that it is prepared to digest food. Eating even before feeling hungry weakens the digestive system, which in turn leads to stress and poor immunity. As fasting rekindles the digestive fire, it helps in de-stressing and building up immunity.

Plunge into deeper meditations with Navratri fasts

Navratri is the time to spend time with yourself, meditate, and connect with the source of existence.. When fasting decreases the restlessness of the mind, it becomes easier for it to turn inwards and meditate. However, make sure that you eat sufficient amounts of fresh fruits and other sattvic food to keep yourself energized..

Reap the benefits of a sattva bloom

Fasting coupled with meditation increases sattva –  the quality of tranquility and positivity within us. An increase in sattva makes our mind more peaceful and alert. As a result, our intentions and prayers become more powerful. A sattva bloom also makes the body lighter and energetic. We become more efficient. As a result, our desires manifest and our tasks get accomplished easily.

“Why fasting is combined with prayer all over the world and in all religions, is because when you are fasting, you are detoxified, and your prayer becomes authentic and deep.”
– Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Note: Fasting is not recommended for certain body constitutions and health conditions. Therefore, it is advisable to consult an Ayurvedic doctor before you fast. Also, keep in mind that you must fast only as much as you are comfortable.

This Navratri 2024, come and join live Navratri celebrations.