I am continually amazed at the comprehensiveness of Paramhansa Yogananda’s teachings for the balanced development of body, mind and spirit. There is almost no aspect of our lives to which Yogananda hasn’t applied the ancient science of yoga, and given us a practical, straight-forward regime to follow—getting along with your employer, developing personality, finding the correct spouse, destroying bad habits, making friends, overcoming nervousness—to mention only a few.

The list of subjects to which Yogananda applied his cosmic vision is seemingly endless, and all this was in addition to his real mission—to bring us practical and proven techniques for soul liberation. No wonder he said, “If you do one-hundredth of what I’ve given you, it is sufficient.”

One of Yogananda‘s practical regimes for personal improvement that I’ve taken to heart is his “Nine-Day Cleansing and Vitalizing Diet.” Since the first time I tried it many years ago, I’ve experienced remarkable results, and have tried to do it with groups, a few others, or alone each year.

What is the Nine-Day Cleansing Diet? The brief description that follows provides all the information needed for you to successfully complete the diet.

The food allowed each day for the nine days is:

1 ½ grapefruits
1 ½ lemons
5 oranges
1 cooked vegetable with juice (quantity optional)
1 raw vegetable salad
1 glass orange juice*
3 cups of Vitality Beverage (one cup at each meal)

*to be taken every night before going to bed with ½ tsp. of senna leaves or Swiss Kriss, and later increase to 1 tsp.

Vitality Beverage:

2 stalks chopped celery
5 carrots (chopped) including part of stem
1 bunch chopped parsley
½ qt. chopped dandelion, or turnip greens, or spinach
1 qt. water
No salt or spices

The vitality beverage may be prepared in two ways, the first being preferable:

1. After putting celery and carrots through food processor, or chopping them finely, lightly boil them in the water for ten minutes. Then add selected greens and parsley and boil ten minutes more. Strain by squeezing through a cheesecloth.

2.  Use the same ingredients, but do not cook them. After putting them through a vegetable juicer, strain as above.

Drink one cup of the beverage, prepared by either method, at each of the three meals. That’s it—nothing more, nothing less.

The vitality beverage is essential to the cleansing action of the diet. I’ve tried both of the above two ways of preparing it and prefer the first, which involves boiling the chopped vegetables.

The raw vegetable method produces a juice similar to fresh carrot juice. The cooked method produces a bland-tasting broth similar, for those of you familiar with it, to Beiler’s “Potassium Broth” or Paavo Aerola’s broth, both of which are recommended for cleansing purposes. Try both the boiled and raw vegetable methods and decide for yourself.

What results have I experienced?

  • Vitalization and healing of the body.
  • Freedom from psychological dependency on food.
  • Breaking of bad eating habits.
  • Five to ten pound weight loss.
  • Cleansing of skin, eyes, lungs and intestines.
  • Improved health for a period of months.
  • Increase energy level and need for less sleep.
  • Rejuvenation of body and mind.
  • Increased clarity of mind.
  • Greater awareness of subtle flow of life force.
  • Deepening sense of joy.
  • Deeper, more inspired meditations.

Sound too good to be true? There are, let me assure you, challenges. It takes a strong will and self-discipline to finish the full nine days.

You may experience irritability in the first few days. Whether this reaction is caused by the release of toxins, I don’t know, but it’s wise to give someone on the diet a wide berth during the first few days. My husband, Jyotish, and I have an agreement that anything said during the beginning of the diet cannot be held against us. This plan has worked well, and we’ve stayed together through many successful attempts at the cleansing diet.

Sometimes people have headaches during the first few days, especially those addicted to coffee or black tea. The headaches seem to be caused by caffeine withdrawal.

You may also find a psychological change in your attitude towards food. Although you are actually eating large quantities of food, because the food is without salt, oil, or seasonings of any kind, it doesn’t provide the sensory satisfaction that we usually get from food. You may find yourself not interested in food at all.

Interested in trying the diet?

Here are a few tips I’ve discovered:

1. Practice Yogananda’s Energization Exercises at least once a day during the diet. Your awareness of subtle life energy is greatly increased at this time, and you can feel more sensitively the flow of prana through the medulla to the body parts.

2. Take regular sunbaths exposing as much of the body as possible to direct sunlight. Yogananda said you can receive up to ten times the benefit from solar energy if you consciously draw it into your body cells.

3. I find the Nine-Day Diet easiest to complete during the spring or summer months, which seems to be a natural cleansing time for the body. Also, because of the decreased caloric intake, the body tends to feel cold during the diet, which is less of a problem in the warm weather. In the spring and summer, there is also a greater variety of vegetables available for steaming.

4. Yogananda also recommends taking nightly warm baths with Epsom salts or some other good bath salt. The cleansing and rejuvenation of the skin produced by the diet are remarkable, and these warm salt baths aid in this process.

5. The regime of food consumption that works best for me is: Breakfast—grapefruits and vitality beverage; lunch—salad and vitality beverage; and dinner—steamed vegetables, lemons and vitality beverage, with oranges eaten through the day. Experiment and find what works best for you.

6. When coming off the diet, eat lightly and simply for the first few days. Someone once said, “Any fool can fast, but it takes a wise man to end his fast well.”

Yogananda called this Nine-Day Cleansing Diet “a method for rejuvenating the body cells and awakening the latent powers of the mind and the inner forces of the soul.” I heartily encourage you to launch into this spiritual adventure and challenge, and enjoy for yourself its remarkable benefits.


  1. Hi NS Devi, I am inspired by the regimen and this is the first time I’ve seen it in it’s entirety. Thank you so much for giving such a thoughtful preface and end notes in order to make the experience that much better.
    Love, Rick

  2. This sounds like a wonderful cleansing diet. I wonder if my being diabetic would hamper attempts to try this. I am an insulin dependent diabetic. Does anyone have any knowledge about this?
    Love and blessings,
    Nancy Cralle

    1. Oh yes, unfortunately it’s not recommended for diabetics. In the book “How to Achieve Glowing Health and Vitality” By Yogananda explains more on health etc. I recommed reading the book :)

      1. seems like someone already replied to this question! so it can be done :) sorry about it

    2. Though diabetics respond well to vitamin C supplementation’s ( oranges and lemons ) as they are an electron donor, there wouldn’t be enough in this diet to balance your insulin levels.

  3. Dear Devi,
    Thank you for the inspiring article. I am on day 3 of the diet. For the cooked vegetable tonight I had cooked beets. They tasted so good it feels like I’m cheating. I did not eat as many as I thought I might (because they are so filling. What you do you think. Would you suggest sticking to leafy vegetables?


    1. Dear Amara,

      Devi says that any vegetables are fine. Master doesn’t specify.

      Joy to you,
      Nayaswami Nakin

  4. I want to do this. I too am insulin dependent Type II diabetic. Is it safe?

    1. Dear Tonya,

      Dr. Peter Van Houten, MD, suggests that before attempting Yogananda’s Nine Cleansing Day Diet that you speak first with your physician and take into account the status of your medications. According to Dr. Van Houten, many diabetics can do this cleansing diet safely.

      Joy to you,
      Nayaswami Nakin

  5. January 1, 2011. I’m on my 8th day now of Yogananda’s Nine-Day Cleansing Diet. This diet is a treasure! Opinion: The more you use starchy vegetables (corn, peas, squash, potatoes, etc.), the less will be the effect on yeast, parasites, and worms. Stick to the nine days rather than feeling 5 days is good enough! When I did a 10 day cleansing with a Hawaiian kahuna who examined our stools (together in front of everyone) daily, we didn’t see oily stuff come out until the 7th day. This was thought to mean the liver and gall bladder were finally cleansing. I expect that Yogananda said nine days for a reason. These may be some of them.

    1. Please specify any vegetable that you can cook besides guard. Broccoli n beet root. Also salad beyond lettuce n carry n cucumber. It s my third day. Want to try different vegetable. Thanks n Joy !!

  6. I stumbled upon your site today but was impressed with your suggestions. I especially vibrated with item No. 2 – to bath oneself in Sunlight and draw in the energy! We are all light-bodies and as such, there is no substitute for Raw – Pure – Sunlight!

  7. I am doing the cleanse right now, on day four. It is wonderful and Iprefer the raw juice method for the beverage. I had the headaches for a few days, the first being the worst, with flu-like symptoms. I am much clearer, lighter and feel good, today. My meditations have been nice. I think by tomorrow it will be great! Yesterday’s meditation, I was a bit groggy.

    I wonder how often one should do this or can do this, per year? I used to do cleanses every change of the season. I wonder if that is too much. I read that people like to do it when it is warm and only do it once a year. Which is why I waited until we had some nice weather. I might try it again in the summer, when others do it. We’ll see!

    Thanks for posting this.

    1. Dear D’arcy,

      There are no hard and fast rules about Paramhansa Yogananda’s Nine-Day Cleasing and Revitalizing Diet: how often it should be done etc. Much of it depends upon one’s constitution, time available, etc. Devi says that once a year is more than adequate to get the full benefit. I hope this is helpful.

  8. I want to try this cleansing diet but I have two questions for anyone who like to answer:
    1. Can you use any kind of dressing on the raw salad? If not, any suggestions on what to do to make it easier to eat?
    2. Can you make all the vitality drink in one batch and consume it with the 3 meals, or should it be made fresh each time?

    Thank you and blessings, John

    1. Dear John,
      In answer to your question:
      1) No dressing on the salad, because the diet is without oil. You can use
      lemon juice.
      2)You can make enough for 3 meals. It usually doesn’t keep well for more
      than one day. I hope this is helpful.

      Joy to you,
      Nayaswami Nakin

  9. Dear Devi,
    I just finished a cleansing diet when I came across this article, love to do this, its like pressing the reset button – bodily and mentally whats out of balance is brought back to wehere it shcould be again.

    The next time I want to do Yoganandas cleansing diet, sounds also more simple than what I have been doing, but I have a question:

    How do you use the senna leaves? I am used to make a tea of them when I use them, but here it sounds as you would just mix them powdered but raw into the orange juice.
    Could you please clarify this.


    1. Dear Angela

      I talked to Devi about the use of senna leaves. She said what Master recommends in the 9 Day diet is a product called Swiss Kriss, which contains senna leaves. His directions are to take a tablespoon of Swiss Kriss and mix with water or orange juice. I hope this is helpful.

      Joy to you,
      Nayaswami Nakin

  10. I’m on day 2 of the diet. And I must say this is hard. I’ve had bad headaches and I’ve been really grumpy (lack of food does that to me). I really hope it get’s better, I want to make it to the 9th day. I do have a question. Paramhansa Yogananda mentions one vegetable salad and one cooked vegetable: Do we make the salad as big as we want? (To be more filled) And one vegetable, what does it mean by that? Last night I had broccoli, I just cooked one head and ate that. Is that enough or am I able to eat more? As you can see I’m having trouble with this diet, lol. I believe the point of this diet is to eat less and cleanse the system. And I just seem to crave more food. I need to be strong!

    1. Dear Chris,

      You can eat as much salad and steamed veggies as you want. Also you could try the epsom salt baths. They help with cleansing and getting rid of headaches.


  11. Hi! My husband and I are going to begin this cleanse on SUnday (tomorrow). I have looked around to find something to support my yoga lifestyle, and his as a runner, and I feel like this is a good cleanse for us both. I am curious about drinking green teas or Smoothe Move/ Get Regular tea in addition to the ‘prescribed’ list of food/drink. Could you help me?
    Also, is there any further information/ support about this cleanse? Should we be using any supplements or drinking lemon water with maple syrup/cayenne pepper?

    There is so much information out there about other cleanses, but very little about this one. I want to be sure we do it right, and that we get maximum results.


    1. Dear Barbara,
      In response to your questions:
      1) Master says no caffeine, so green tea is out.
      2) Any natural laxative is okay.
      3) Lots of water throughout the cleanse is good, and you can add the lemons to the water.
      4) No maple syrup-cayenne mix, so basically just what is on the list of accepted foods.
      5) Master does say you can add ground almonds to orange juice if you feel like your energy lags.


  12. Hello,

    I’ve started fasting by today, took time to gather food items from market so finally taken my first meal of orange and vitality beverage by 2:00 PM. I didn’t get parsley/grapefruits, looking for from past 2 days.

    1) Can i still fasting in absence of grapefruits/vitality beverage made without parsley? I’m looking for it and will try to include them in day 2 fast.
    2) i’m working and my timings do start by 12:00 PM in the mid day, so all my 3 meals are usually pushed late instead of starting with normal morning. Is it k, means if i take first meal by 10-11 AM, second by 2-3 PM, and third by 9-10 PM or 12-1 AM?
    3) I’ve made vitality beverage from nearly 500 gms spinach+2 stalks celery (without leafs only stem)+5 carrots, and processed in mixer juicer (except parsley since i didn’t find it). Is this the right way of doing it?
    4) Swiss Kriss/Sena Leaves is another item that i’m not been able to find here. Is there any other alternative?
    5) Are we only limited to 1 type of raw vegetable salad (no fruit) and only 1 type of cooked vegetable? Can there be multiple vegetables in raw salad/cooked one?
    6) “1 cooked vegetable with juice (quantity optional)” – what do we mean by juice here? Is it liquid cooked meal or any sort of juice to be taken with cooked vegetable like orange juice etc.?

    Please provide more details as requested, i’m very much excited and thankful with what i’ve read here and doing it.

    Thanks for all the hard work/time put towards well being for the human lives.

    Thank You,

    1. Dear Anuj,

      Here are the answers to your questions as suggested by the author, Nayaswami Devi.

      1.) In the absence of grapefruit you can continue the fast with oranges and lemons.

      2). This is fine.

      3). Yes, this is OK

      4). Can you find psyllium husks?

      5). Yes

      6). No, it is the juice of the cooked vegetables.

      I hope this is helpful.

      Joy to you,
      Nayaswami Nakin

  13. First I just want to say thank you for this wonderful cleansing diet plan insight.

    I am, however, starting this cleanse in the winter where fresh dandelion and senna are not available to me. I’ve substituted 1/2qt. fresh dandelion for 6 tablespoons dried leaf and 6 tablespoons dried root. I must say, the concoction tastes terrible! I’ve also been experiencing some nausea and headaches after stomaching it. Am I using too much?

    I also must use dried senna, so I assume 1/4 teaspoon would be equivalent to 1/2 teaspoon fresh. I am aware of the very negative repercussions of too much senna!

    Thank you again for this. I know my healing path will lead me to a blissful life.

    Bless you,


    1. Dear Zakk,
      Thanks for your response. You can Swiss Kriss or any other herbal laxative blend. Many are available now. It sounds like your body isn’t tolerating the concoction that you made. Probably better not to use it. Headache is often a result of the cleansing, but I’ve never known anyone to have nausea. I hope this is helpful.

      Joy to you,
      Nayaswami Devi

  14. I want to to thank you for this fantastic read! I definitely loved every bit of it. I have you bookmarked to look at new stuff you

  15. I am currently a student at ananda India and have just received my discipleship on masters birthday.

    Thanks for the post! I am planning to start the 9 day cleansing and revitalization diet from tomorrow.

    Have two questions

    1)Unfortunately I couldn’t find senna leaves or Kriss Swiss laxative tablets in Gurgaon, India. Are there alternatives? Would any other herbal laxatives be used too?

    2) For the lunch, it has been suggested to take raw salad. Is it recommended to take mixed bowl of salad or just one vegetable in salad?

    Thanks and hope to hear soon.

    1. In India Trifala can be substituted for senna, and the salad can be mixed veggies.

  16. Tried it once for 9 days in February, and it was the best diet/ cleansing I ever did. ( and I did a lot!) Because of the citrus fruits I had no trouble with the intestines. I could not eat so many citrus! I did not have the senna of the Swiss stuff. I just used some herbal laxative tea in the evening. That was enough. In the salad I used half an avocado and tomatoes etc and I worked during the cleansing, no trouble at all. All the benefits that are mentioned here are true. Unbelievable! In a few weeks I will do a seclusion in my home and will do the cleansing again.
    I wonder how it will be a second time. Thank you for sharing!

  17. Cleansing is such a great way to clear the body, mind, and emotions making it easier to dive more deeply and calmly into meditation.

    If you are interested in learning more about Yogananda’s marvelous Nine-Day Cleansing and Vitalizing Diet, you can join the online course How to Achieve Glowing Health and Vitality: http://www.onlinewithananda.org/mod/page/view.php?id=4391

    The course includes written explanations, instructional videos, an online forum, and affirmations for the cleanse plus lots of other tips on how to live a healthy and happy lifestyle.

    If you want group support while participating in the cleanse, I will be guiding the first three days of the cleanse April 10-13, 2015. Many people continue on for the full nine days and can support each other through the online forum.

    1. Dear Indy,

      Thank you for your email. I response to your question, Paramhansa Yogananda says:

      “Following the nine-day diet, one should be especially careful in the selection and quantity of one’s food intake the first day and resume a normal diet gradually.
      If one is not successful in ridding the body of all poisons during the initial attempt, the cleansing diet may be repeated after an interval of two or three weeks.”

      I hope this is helpful.

      Joy to you,
      Nayaswami Nakin

  18. What does qt. exactly mean?Can’t figure that out.

    1. blank

      Dear Lazar,

      qt. is an abbreviation for the U.S. measurement of one quart. I hope this is helpful.

      Joy to you,
      Nayaswami Nakin

  19. Thank you for your post with all your helpful suggestions. This is a great time of year to embark upon this cleanse.

    I might add that regarding the caffeine withdrawal, I have had success avoiding headaches by slowly discontinuing caffeine starting one week before beginning any fast or cleanse.

    Best Regards

  20. Hello everyone

    I am really excited to do this cleanse for the first time. I just wanted to check if avocado and tomato are okay as part of the lunch time salad as they are technically classed as fruits?

    Thank you, Danica

  21. Im have a problem of acidity so oranges and lemon generates more acidity problems..so what should i do???.i want to follow this diet but already having a problem of acidity …wat to do??suggest me

    1. Hi Garima,

      It depends on what you mean by “problem of acidity”, but maybe you should decrease the amount of citrus fruit you are eating and increase the size of the salad or you could try eating another type of fruit that is less acidic, like apples or bananas.

  22. Hi everyone
    I am on day 4 of the diet and I have a sore/swollen digestive system and am constipated. I have always had very regular bowl movements. Should I stop or continue?

    1. Hi Kim,

      I would recommend stopping for now. I’m not a doctor, but in Ayurveda constipation can be a sign of too much vata, especially if you are naturally thin. This diet is very vata increasing, so it might just not be the right cleanse for you. If it’s still happening you might want to talk to a doctor.


  23. I am concerned of the lack or little plant protein that this diet has. Normally, I get my protein from legumes and whole grains such as brown rice or quinoa. Is this purposely done to give the liver less work to detox its existing waiste? What about muscle strength with the lack of protein.

  24. I successfully completed the cleanse 2 weeks back. It was a good experience. I stopped intake of Tea and Coffee 3 days before beginning the cleanse.

    I faced difficulty in procuring grapefruit in Mumbai. It is not the season for the fruit thus was mostly unavailable and i did not have it for 3 days during the cleanse.

    My wife wants to do the cleanse too. Considering the difficulty in procuring Grapefruit in Mumbai, would you be able to suggest an alternative, if available?

    Warm Regards,

  25. great article and a good diet is really required to e in good shape and away from diseases, people don’t follow a proper diet plan and end up I getting fat. They must follow a good and proper diet plan

  26. Dear Mme,
    Any restriction on how much water we drink during the 9 day diet?
    I have acidity problem and citrus diet increases the acidity. Planning to work around by drinking lots of water.

  27. Greetings,

    I will be doing this next month when the weather starts to become warmer. I would classify myself as a Powerlifter as well as being a regular practitioner of Ananda Yoga and Meditation. Over the nine days of this fast I could align it with my cardio spurt and avoid lifting if necessary. Do you have any suggestions on workout/activity regimen with this 9 day fast? Would I be able to perform any activity above walking? Could I make any adjustments, like increasing amounts, so I would still be able to be moderately active?

  28. Jai Guru,

    I’m a devotee and a Kriyaban. My wife and I are on day three of Masters diet and I must admit, I am really struggling with it. I just do not know whether I’ll be able to complete the 9 days or not, even reaching 5 days is going to be difficult. I have a headache and have not even meditated today.
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Hello!
      Hopefully, you found benefit from the diet even if you felt that you needed to end it early. Yoganandaji also instructed to regularly take 1-3 days of fasting or partial fasting for one’s health. Headaches can be caused by stopping caffeine use suddenly. Sharon shared above that she prevented headaches by gradually reducing her caffeine intake over the week prior to the diet. Nakin wrote that taking Epsom Salts baths and drinking plenty of water can be helpful. Using a laxative may help, too, since without eating as much as usual, the intestines don’t get the message to evacuate and constipation creates other health problems. Another, recent article on this topic may help motivate you to try again when you feel ready. https://anandaindia.org/blog/a-test-of-titiksha-yoganandas-nine-day-diet/
      Jai Guru!

  29. Hello ! By master’s grace I have completed one day . The only question on my mind . . Does stopping salt intake altogether causes any imbalance in sodium potassium or blood pressure? Just a normal question . Want to know because master must be knowing the logic behind it that’s why suggested .

    1. Hi,
      I am not strictly sure about this, but I think the salt intake is made up by the intake of green vegetables through the vegetables in the Vitality beverage and the vegetables that you cook; spinach, celery, tomatoes, beets, artichoke etc. have good amounts of sodium apart from being rich in other minerals/elements like Potassium, Phosphorous etc. thus the body will not have any kind of the mineral/salt imbalance.
      This is my understanding. Hope this is helpful to all.

  30. Hi, I am on day 3 of my 9 day cleanse and I have been experiencing loose motions since 2 days.Is that normal? I have been eating 5 oranges, 1 grapefruit, cooked vegetables, radish/cucumber as raw vegetables, vitality beverage 3 times and orange juice with Senna leaf powder at night. I plan to complete whole 9 day routine. What adjustments should I make to the routine to stop loose motions.

    1. Hello, Priyanka. So sorry you’re struggling with this. I’m not a nurse or doctor though will make a few suggestions from experience. Another resource to check is Dr. Chawla’s recent article about the diet. https://anandaindia.org/blog/a-test-of-titiksha-yoganandas-nine-day-diet/ You might withhold the Senna until it’s needed, as its use is intended to move the bowels. The greens that make up much of the beverage also tend to move the bowels. Dr. Chawla explains how to prepare an alternative broth, straining chopped vegetables for the drink after cooking them, instead of juicing them. Celery, as one of the drink ingredients, adds sodium, which tends to help retain fluid, so it may be helpful if you can acquire it, even for adding to the salad. The option of adding ground nuts to an extra glass of orange juice would be a way of adding more binding to the nutrition. Keep from using greens as your meal of cooked vegetables, perhaps including potatoes, more binding than many other vegetables. Lemon juice is more astringent than the other fruits so it would be good to include. You’ll need to be cautious of losing too much fluid through the bowels, including drinking extra plain water to replace lost fluids and keep from dehydration. If you need to stop the cleanse before the nine days, do so by gradually adding other foods (rice can help loose bowels, for instance). When you prepare to make another try, work at a gradual transition to citrus fruits and emphasizing cooked and raw vegetables more than usual. Good wishes for good health!

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