Preparation for a water fast includes:
Meditation allows each person to get in touch with their inner journey. When you are fasting the mind is quiet and there is a sense of calm. Messages are easier to download and interpret which means lots of journalling happens also.
Nature is the source of all things. It is where we come from and what we are made of. Spending time in nature is essential during a water fast. We spent time at the ocean, park and garden, appreciating the endless beauty of the island and tranquility around us.
Skin Brushing is a post I have written about before here. It is the act of physically brushing your lymph fluid from the extremities towards the heart for eventual elimination by the gut. The lymph system is the body's sewer. All the by products of cellular metabolism and toxins get pushed out into the lymph. Because there is no pump for lymph fluid, like there is for blood, it relies on muscle contraction to move. Often times it sits and accumulates in distal tissues like hands and feet.
Infrared Saunas promote detoxification. Infrared is a light wavelength that we interpret as heat. It penetrates 6 cm into the body to force toxins out. Infrared saunas can help with heavy metal detox, tissue and injury repair and mental relaxation. Its an excellent space to meditate, especially if you add some crystals! Essential oils can be diffused in a small dish of water to enhance detox. Make sure to skin brush just before. My favourite essential oils for detox are: Fir balsam, lemon, eucalyptus and lavender.
Morning enemas are a water, non-retention enema. They are used to continue to move waste out of the colon for comfort and to reduce the symptoms of detox. Enemas help with nausea by reducing the amount of bile that builds up in the digestive tract. Enemas can help with brain fog and headaches. As a morning ritual it is done until the water flows out clear. We buy our enema kits here.
Lavender on Mayne Island, BC
Mind, Body, Spirit
Water fasting is also a time of deep transformation. Ideas about yourself and old stories are especially susceptible for release. This water fast we did a gentle release of that which no longer serves us. The ceremony went like this:
Japanese Garden, Mayne Island
- Walk the path of the Japanese Garden
- Think about something you no longer want to carry forward into your new life
- Pick up a piece of nature that represents this idea, image or story
- Together we each said what we were willing to be free from and created an affirmation. The gathered item was discarded into the pond, or gently placed as a symbol of leaving it behind. We each chose: A rock, a leaf, pieces of old bark.
What we all ended up leaving behind were old ideas of ourselves that were no longer in purpose. The shared affirmation:
I AM WORTHY!
Breaking the Fast
"(5 Element Soup) was created by Dr. Tateishi Kazu who based the soup on the principles of the five elements theory in Chinese medicine. The harmonizing balance of the forces of yin and yang, acid and alkaline, that generates health; in contrast to the imbalance, which leads to disease."
"He researched, studied and tested over 1,500 types of herbs and plants to come up with the unique healing vegetable soup. Each essence possesses its own color: green, red, yellow, white and black. These relate to the corresponding internal organs: heart, liver, spleen, lung and kidneys. Dr. Kazu used the concept of the five different colors as matched to specific vegetables:
- Daikon Radish Leaves (Green element)
- Daikon Radish (White element)
- Carrots (Red color element)
- Burdock Root (Yellow element)
- Shittake Mushroom (Black element)
Water fasts can be broken with other foods such as fresh & juicy in-season fruits, steamed soft vegetables like zucchini or carrots and other broths, like Hippocrates Soup.
After The Water Fast
Small portions are very important to not overwhelm a digestive system just beginning to secrete acids and enzymes.
It is necessary to avoid meat, oils and fatty food for a few days after a short fast, and much longer if the fast is over a week.
Garlic, onion and spices are too corrosive for the gut and should be added in gradually.
Salt becomes less necessary after a fast as the taste sensation is heightened.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you feel tired during a water fast?
The heavy detoxification of a water fast can feel uncomfortable involving nausea or vomiting for some people. This doesn't last long and wellness returns. Everyone's experience is different depending on their medical history.
How long do you have to fast for?
Most medical water fasts should be at least 7 days and probably more like 10-14. This length is where deep healing happens from: osteoarthritis, fibroids, autoimmune disease, chronic pain, migraines and more.
How often should somebody fast?
Week long fasts or more shouldn't happen more than 1x per year. The body needs time to recover and the season for water fasting is important too. Spring or summer is the best time to water fast because it is the time of renewal and rebirth. It is also warm enough in most regions to fast at this time. During a water fast, your body temperature drops making even warm climates like Hawaii feel chilly!
Can I fast at home by myself?
Medical supervision is necessary for anyone on prescription medication, fasts longer than a week, history of chemotherapy or other toxic drugs and serious medical conditions.
Will I be able to work while I am fasting or look after my kids?
Experienced fasters can sometimes maintain a job while fasting.
Taking care of your family may be hard in the first few days of a water fast but will become much easier as the days go on.
Its my recommendation to take time off during a water fast. There are many more benefits to a water fast, than just relieving the body of food, which come from solitude and stillness, time with nature and relaxation.
Will you be holding another fast?
Opening as every moment is the practice of true bliss
This is a question posed by U.S. researcher and PhD. Brené Brown. In her work, she interviews thousands of people to find out the important answers for how to have the most meaningful and fulfilling life we possible can. Her research has led her to some answers which are both fascinating and inspiring.
Sustained Kindness and Generosity Come From Setting Good Boundaries
Setting boundaries has a vacuous meaning. It is one thing to declare and another to implement. What is interesting about boundaries is that their need seems to appear out of nowhere, like a mirage. They arise as a function of situations we are in and how it is rebounding off our ideas, feelings and personal traumas. When a personal line is crossed we can feel it: discomfort, anger, sadness, aggitation and rebuttal. When a boundary is crossed we are triggered. While triggered we are in a state of reaction, and mostly likely an ego-storm. Regardless of exactly what happens after a boundary is crossed, we are definitely no longer able to give love or act kindly.
"Boundaries are not separation or division, they are respect "Here is what is good for me, and here is what isn't".
Brown's research shows that good boundaries enable us to provide sustained loving kindness and generosity, by staying within our comfort zone.
But what about personal growth?
Personal growth is a time when we leave our comfort zone and embark on learning new things about ourselves. It is a time to fall deeper in love with who we are. The reason it is uncomfrtable is because we live with 1) ideas about who we are 2) ideas about who we should be 3) programmed afinities or aversions to certain traits, in us and others. These human characteristics prevent us from accepting and loving ourselves fully in moments when we are perceiving ourselves to be incongruent with the aforementioned ideas and pre-programming.
Growth happens in the space between the boundaries. These spaces undefined areas (situations) where we haven't yet seen a need for a boundary. And luckily for us, those situations are always arising. We couldn't possibly set up enough boundaries to never be triggered because triggers are a function of new experiences. And new experiences are happening all the time. So growth is guaranteed.
The Benefits of Boundaries: Sustainable Generosity
Empathy is not feeling for someone, it is feeling with them. With proper boundaries it can be sustaining. - Brené Brown, PhD
Dr. Brown describes compassion as " a deeply held believe that we are inextricably bound together. and empathy as "the skill set to bring compassion alive. It is how we communicate the deep love we have for people so they know that they are not alone".
Setting boundaries is integral to being able to offer compassion and kindness to those around us in a consistent manner. Perhaps the most beautiful part of this practice is that since we are all "inextricably bound together", we are, in turn, offering that empathy to ourselves.
My Wish For All Of US This New Year
To explode into compassion with empathy for ourselves and those around us. Explore the concept of boundaries and let this video be an inspiration or stepping stone to something bigger. Lets start 2017 off "B.I.G" having boundries with integrity for sustainable generosity!
Thank you to Dr. Brené Brown for her ongoing researach.
Dr. Ariel Jones, ND
Dr. Ariel Jones ND