UPAVAASA – LANGHANAM (FASTING)
27 Aug 2020 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
UPAVAASA – LANGHANAM (FASTING)
Panchamahabhoota( Five Elements ) – Aakasha, Vaayu, Agni, Jala and Prithivi build the human body. Ether element is the first element appeared in this universe which is the most effective, pervasive and universal. It is formless, invisible and subtle element. Ether element has a vital role in all aspect of health and disease management. Upavasa (Fasting) is one of the means applied in ether element.
Laṅghanam (लङ्घनम्) or, Laṅghana (लङ्घन) or, Upavāsa (उपवास) refers to “fasting practice & therapy”, and is dealt with in the 17th-century Vaidyavallabha (chapter 1) written by Hastiruci.
Fasting in Sanskrit is called Upavāsa = upa means “near” + vāsa means “to stay”. Upavaasa therefore means staying near (the Lord/ Nature), meaning the attainment of close mental proximity with the Nature.
‘Fasting is the willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or intake of excess things or all, for a period. “लंघनं परम् औषधं” “Langhanam param aushadham” ancient sanskrit saying that means “fasting is the supreme medicine”.
According to Sanatan philosophy, food means satisfaction of the sense organs, and to starve the senses means to elevate them to contemplation. Fasting in Sanatan, is a method to attain control over one’s desires and senses for the sake of spiritual gain. Doing it for a cause has always strengthened people’s minds to attain their goals.
Fasting in Eastern Philosophy indicates the denial of the physical needs of the body for the sake of spiritual gains. According to the scriptures, fasting helps create an attunement with the Absolute by establishing a harmonious relationship between the body and the soul. This is thought to be imperative for the well being of a human being as it nourishes both his/her physical and spiritual demands.
Merits of Langhanam (Fasting):
- Modifies the function of cells genes, hormones and immunity power rapidly increases.
- Mental acuity: Research and empirical evidence has shown that being in a fasted state can improve cognitive function. The digestive system gets complete rest.
- Build and maintain a healthy gut: Removing food for a period of time gives the gut a break from digesting and assimilating nutrients and can benefit the micro biome.
- Beneficial for brain and the mental power is enhanced.
- Lower stress load and inflammation: Fasting has been shown to lower inflammation by reducing oxidative stress and has also been demonstrated to lower insulin resistance.
- Extend lifespan, help live longer.
- Helps to lose weight, belly fat, fat begins to take place and fat is completely used up.
- Lower the risk for Diabetes by enhancing catabolism of blood sugar.
If we want our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health, we should practice 5 Langhanams (Upavaasa) which are for spiritual power exploration. Our ancients used one very simple principle is called langhanam “paramaushadam-supreme Medicine” Upavaasa (Fasting) is the ultimate medicines.
First langhanam/ Upavaasa:
The first upavaasa (Langhanam) is Anna Upavaasa (Fasting food) – our ancients didn’t use the human body as a eating machine, funnily so many people lonely are engaging in nonstop eating. The kind of eating will only make you sicker and is going to make you more prone to infections. We should eat when we are hungry and only when our digestive fire actually burns and asks for it, but not when our tongue asks. That will also give some break to whoever is cooking at home. We start eating only when your breath is flowing strongly through our right nostril that makes the food digest what we are eating most effectively. When the breath is flowing through our right nostril breath of the solar energy flow, then we can practice any kind of fasting
We can practice intermittent fast, water or soup or Juice or fruit fasting. Remember even animals fast when they are sick or want to heal ourselves. They always try tolive with nature. Langhanam can also be eating right way in right time. All immunoglobulin which are antibodies to fight diseases are all proteins and cellular atmosphere. Eating right will mean taking the right amount of protein into our diet to enhance immunity in the body.
The second Upavaasa (langhanam) is Svasa Upavaasa (fasting breath). Breath is the indicator of quality of life, lifespan, and also nature of consciousness. Just as the more heat an engine produces, the faster it burns out. Every cell is like an engine that is being powered by the intake of breath. The ancient yogis practiced fasting of breath, they deliberately did slow inhalations and extremely long exhalation with breath pauses. When we practice breath fasting, we will actually age slowly our thoughts begin to become more positive. You can more easily break away from negative thinking, release the tension, unnecessary pressure, and release over fatigue and suffer.
The third Upavaasa (langhanam) is Vachan (Speech) fasting which is hurtful and pessimistic speech very few people have Vaak Shakti or the power of speech to manifest their goals. The more consciously we speakwords that are true and cause joy to others in a very pleasing tone our vaak shakti grows. Mauna (Speechless) and true speech are the calming process of mind and reducing the firing in mind. It helps to regenerate the energy, and to rejuvenate the body and mind.
The fourth Upavaasa (langhanam) is stillness / Asana fasting movements. It is not about living down on our cushion eating popcorn and watching T.V. fasting movement means sitting still, making more steady, either observing our breath, listening to the sound of nature, hearing your entire sounds or with the name of our divine being chanted inwardly. Still even if we can sit still even for a minute at a time. It will bring down the restlessness in our body and mind. It qualifies us good concentration in the mind and more stilling into meditation. Asana is the first eligibility for Dhyana ( Meditation).
The fifth Upavaasa (langhanam) is thoughts fasting. Every second we have 24 to 40 thoughts firing in our mind. Much more thoughts can tense our brain and generates the tension and intense in stress more and more.
What is thought?
Thought can refer to the ideas or arrangements of ideas that result from either intrinsic (arising from within) or extrinsic (arising from the environment) reactions. A thought may be an idea, an image, a sound or even an emotional feeling that arises from the brain. Thought covert symbolic responses to stimuli that is considered to mediate between inner activity and external stimuli. “Yogashchittavrittinirodhah”P.Y.D 1.2 that means the cessation of modified thoughts in chitta is yoga. Thought fast reduces the number of thoughts and stilling and calming the mind that creates the state of devoid is known as meditation. As the fasting, we should be in a present moment, not with past and not by future
Langhanam or fasting is a super power. We try these 5 langhanams / Upavaasa practice and we will get and feel great power in our body in our mind and consciousness. This upavasa practice and therapy is as old as human race itself which was mentioned in Vedas, Bible and Kuran.