The Spiritual Benefits of Juice Fasting

A few months ago my wife and I watched an inspiring documentary called “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead” which prompted us to take on the challenge of an extended juice fast. I had no idea what to expect, except from what I had experienced doing Yogananda’s Nine Day Cleanse (also highly recommended!) many years ago. We opened our new juicer on Christmas, tried it out that evening, and on Dec 26th, began our journey.

In the past 11 days, we have juiced pounds and pounds of fresh vegetables and fruits, including chard, kale, spinach, beets and beet greens, cabbage, carrots, fennel, apples, pears, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, celery, parsley, cilantro, lemons, oranges, cranberries, ginger, and grapefruit, in many different and delicious combinations.

The first few days were of course the most difficult, as all of my energy was being directed towards healing and cleansing. Already, however, I felt a deep sense of calmness descending upon me. In my meditations, I found my breath becoming naturally slower, due to the slower metabolism during the fast. My digestive system, usually running on high demand, was getting a very well deserved break.

I’ll admit that there were times where I felt a little spacey and had a hard time trying to remember what day it was. I was having a hard time staying warm, and the thoughts of eating were sometimes quite strong. However, my restless mental habits were beginning to slow as well, with very positive benefits. My habits of worry and anxiety slowed to a stop, and I was able to go very deep into the stillness of meditation. I was quite astonished to see how little negativity clung to my thought patterns, and began to feel the barriers between myself and the world of nature beginning to dissolve.

After 11 days, I’m returning slowly to the world of eating, and truly hoping to incorporate this ancient practice of fasting more routinely into my life. I’ve lost a few pounds (other people have lost more), but my consciousness needs all the help I can get, so I’m going to try to keep as clear as possible in what I eat in this next year without becoming too over-zealous.

Here is a quote from Yogananda that came at just the right time for me:

Make new determinations as to what you are going to do and what you are going to be in this next year. Set a program for yourself; carry it through, and you will find how much happier you will be. Failure to keep to your schedule of improvement means you have paralyzed your will. You have no greater friend and no greater enemy than yourself. If you befriend yourself, you will find accomplishment. There is no law of God preventing you from being what you want to be and accomplishing what you want to accomplish. Nothing detrimental that happens can affect you unless you sanction it.

May God bless you all in this new year!

A Place Called Ananda

A blog by disciples of Paramhansa Yogananda