Guidelines for fasting on Shivaratri

Guidelines for fasting on Shivaratri

Guidelines for fasting on Shivaratri. On the occasion of Maha Shivaratri, many devotees fast and abstain from food the whole day.

On the occasion of Maha Shivaratri, many devotees fast and abstain from food the whole day. This form of denial of physical needs of the body for the sake of spiritual gains is perceived to be imperative for the well-being of the human body. In fact, many believe that through fasting, our digestive tract gets detoxified. Our body is efficient in storing food and handling situations when there is no intake of food. During the period of fasting, a lot of physiological changes occur in the body.

During fasting, the body lives on the reserve. Blood levels of glucose, amino acids and triglycerides will fall. There will also be a fall in the insulin levels. But our fat storage is sufficient enough to meet the energy demands.
On the first day of fasting, the body uses the reserved glycogen as the source of energy. This process takes place in liver. So a healthy liver is necessary. A healthy body is the need for healthy mind. Fasting is not appropriate for everyone and in certain cases can be harmful. So following are the do’s and don’ts during the Shivaratri to ensure better health.
l Those with health conditions and on medications should seek medical support and advice for fasting.
l Plenty of water in pure form or juices should be taken by people on fast to avoid dehydration.
l Intake of plenty of fruits is advisable.
l Prior to going on a fast, people should slowdown their hectic lifestyle. Taking time off work or at least reducing the workload is suggested.
l People on fast should take adequate rest and be light on exercises.
l Those with health conditions should abstain from fast.
l Outside food and liquids, particularly juices, should be avoided.
l Fasting has also many side-effects of malaise, weakness, lethargy, aches and pains. So go for fasting cautiously. After all, in alternative medicines and ayurveda, fasting is widely accepted for treatment of many ailments. So fasting can be adapted keeping adequate caution in mind.
(Inputs from Dr Pradeep Panigrahi, senior consultant, minimal access and GI surgery, Aware Global Hospitals)
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