Combining Yoga and fasting is not a new idea; in fact it has been done for thousands of years! Real yogis just ate to live, (and did not live to eat)
Yoga and fasting actually go very much arm-in-arm. Many people are also known to combine yoga and fasting, to maximize the effect of the act on their health
Lucky for us Muslims we have this whole blessed month dedicated to fasting. Why not maximize the benefit spiritually and physically by using both these healing and strengthening practices together?
Fasting at it's heart, physically, is 'detoxing' and cleansing the body, and detoxing involves more than refraining from food (or certain types of foods). When we fast we centralize our energy, because instead of the body’s energy focusing on digestion, and working hard to cleanse its self of toxins and pollutants (that we put in it), it can focus on its primary function.
You may be surprised to know how little food you actually require to have energy and that practicing asana during fasting is not as hard as you may think and is very much intended as a vehicle for purification and removing blockages. The key in fasting yoga is using the breath to expand energy (prana) in the body to make up for what we are not getting from food.
Fasting and Yoga really do complement each other perfectly. Some of the best yoga practices in your life can happen while being completely empty.
The combination of gentle moving, stretching and twisting along with deep breathing exercises, speeds up the detox process. You may be able to actually feel your internal organs, twist deeper and get into the meditative quality of the practice while on a fast. The more you detox, the clearer you make the energy channels and the greater the effects of the Yoga practice on your system. This is highly beneficial both in the short term and long term. Besides it also makes the detox process easier and much more fun. (we all know those last couple of hours before breakfast are killer!)
You needn’t feel like you don’t have enough energy for the practice; it’s nice to do something gentle but if the body is used to yoga, it feels good to move into spaces you don’t normally move into, especially in twists.
When you get rid of these old toxins from your body, you will also be releasing negative emotions. Hatha Yoga, Pranayama, Kriyas and Meditation further abet this process. They are powerful tools that help bring the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual bodies into a harmonious balance on all levels.
Meditation can also go deeper while fasting. It is interesting to feel one’s mind settle more quickly when going in, like a switch turning on. It can take at least thirty minutes or an hour long silent meditation at times to get into the flow when one is more connected to the grounding experiences when taking food. When the body is empty, experiencing the higher chakras in meditative states is easy, and bringing about the sense of “no mind” that meditators and yogis are able to achieve with as much practice and stillness is also possible.