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Health Benefits of Upvas (Fasting)?

Upvas literally means: Up means Sub (subordinate), dependent, and Vas means to live or reside. Thus, Upvas means being the subordinate or being the servent and living close to someone who is very important. Same as Sub-inspector gives duty under the main inspector.

In this Sanskrit terms, the body is a sub-inspector and the mind is the main inspector. So, Upvas is a technique of Ayurveda that is practiced for self-healing. By practicing the Upvas, you can easily understand that sub-inspector and inspector are performing together. Some other terms are used for Upvas are; fasting, fast, Vrat or Vrata, Upavas, Upwas etc. There are some differences between Vrat and Upvas but in this blog, we will learn about Upvas.

So Fasting or Upvas is skipping some meals or taking meals in a large time duration such as 14 hours. While practicing Upvas (fasting), according to science, our body and mind work more amazingly and they have good concord or functioning.

But Upvas is not just skipping the meal or not eating anything, it is more than that. In Geeta, it is mentioned that not only skipping food but distracting the mind from taste, sense, and food is real karma.

विषया विनिवर्तन्ते निराहारस्य देहिनः ।
रसवर्जं रसोऽप्यस्य परं दृष्टवा निवर्तते॥ Chapter 2, Verse 59

Vishaya vinivartante niraharasya dehinah,
Rasavarjan raso pyasya param drstva nivartate. (02.59)

Meaning: Aspirants may restrain the senses from their objects of enjoyment, but sense of taste for objects remains. However, even this taste ceases for those who realize the Supreme power.

If we go accordingly to Ayurveda, Upvas is mentioned as:
दोषः कदाचित कुप्यन्ति, जिता लंघन पच्नेया ।
जिता संशोधनहेतुर, न तेषां पुनरुद्भव ।। चरक संहिता (श्लोक संख्या १६.२०)

Doshah kadachit kupyanti jita langhana pachanaih,
Jitah samsodhanairye tu na tesham punarudbhavah. (Charaka Samhita, Sutrasthana 16:20)

Meaning: The meaning of these lines is that we can balance all our dosha (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha) by simply doing detoxification of our bodies. If the digestion is going good and we are taking Upvas from time to time, we will be always healthy.

  • Helps to be more mindful


    Mindful simply means being in the present moment. The human mind is always curious about new things and wants to explore always new patterns of life. When you do fasting and your stomach becomes empty, it is something new for the mind and the mind always observes the body, stomach, digestive organs, etc., and be in the present moment.

    Mindfulness is gained when the body is more healthier and the mind is doing something with the help of the body at the present. Without the help of the body, the mind cannot get a state of mindfulness.

  • Body and mind function well together


    It is a secret truth that the mind and body function together very well when the stomach is somehow empty. Also, there are some Sutras (theories) that mention: if your body will be calm, the mind will speak and if your mind will be calm, your soul will be speaking. When the soul speaks you know about right and wrong in life.

    Our energy is always busy in the digestion process which is managed by the subconscious mind but when we do Upvas, we allow some time for our energy to work according to the conscious mind and they function very well together.

  • Helps to reduce weight naturally


    In fasting, when you do not take any food for some hours, but still do daily karma such as going office or doing something at home, your digestion system starts burning the extra fat in your body and converting that part into energy. Burning calories from your body will reduce your weight and remove fat and this is so natural process.

    When you go to the Gym or do some hard exercise in your daily routine, you lose weight but if you skip those exercises you get the weight back to the previous. But in Upvas, even if you are not doing so much exercise, just only walking, you will get amazing results.

  • Helps to remove toxins and do natural detoxification


    In our body, when we take food, some toxins enter in blood and reach other parts of the body. Doing Upvas helps us in detoxification and removing bad toxins from our bodies. The toxins come out from stool, urine, sweat, breath and gases.

    Detoxification is a process that is only possible when you are not taking any bad food for some days and only taking good food such as fruits, dry fruits, protein, vitamins, etc., in Upvas, we not only skip meals but also take some super quality food.

  • Glows the skin and removes dead skin cells


    When we follow fasting, the oil and fat from the food stop going to the skin and only necessary vitamins and other minerals go and make our skin healthy and all the dead cells from the skin went through away by sweating.

  • Removes all blockages in the body


    We have some blockage in our body; in veins, in blood, in the intestine, in muscles, in bones, in interior organs, and almost everywhere. When we do Upvas, our body has samtap (good temperature) and samagni (good fire), Tap and Agni remove the blockage in our body.

  • Heals the body naturally


    Our inner energy is always busy in the process of digestion because we are always eating more than we need. If we do Upvas (Fasting), we allow 14 hours every day to our healing powers and it is 420 hours per month. In this way, our body will remove all toxins and heal all our body organs and we will be healthy.

  • Cures Chronic diseases


    Upvas can also help to reduce Chronic Diseases. When the body organs are affected by Chronic pain or other issues, they do not function well and we keep continue working with them without any repair and maintenance, Upvas is the rest time or repair-maintenance time for chronics issues.

  • Purifies the blood


    When the food digests, it is converted to rasa (one of the seven dhatus in Ayurveda) and the rasa travels into the blood and goes to all parts of the body. If that rasa is full of bad toxins such as carbon etc, the blood becomes impure and does not travel well. When we do Upvas and start healthy diets, we send healthy food crumbs and rasa to the whole body and our blood becomes very pure.

  • Encourages You To Do Good Deeds


    To walk in the direction of good deeds, to think well of everyone, to help others; all are the result of a positive attitude. When we are surrounded by positive energy, we can never be wrong. Holding a positive attitude is not easy in the present chaotic world. We barely found time for ourselves then how can we think of helping or doing well to others? But when you observe a fast or Upvas, your soul gets connected to the divine and powerful energy. You will be away from negativity and a rude attitude. The divinity will show you the way and the way shown by the divinity can never be wrong. The energy further encourages you to do good deeds and creates an spiritual atmosphere inside you.

Questions and Answers on Upvas

  • I have seen people do upvas for one month and more duration. What is the true strength that is being put to test to achieve this? Is it all mind or body or both? [asked by: Rishab Sanghvi]

    Answer: Upvas is simply the detoxification of our body. Suppose you are using a machine, for sure you have to give some rest to it for better performance as we are doing in our sleep. But if the machine runs from petrol and we sometimes are putting diesel into it, then we have to stop it for somedays and better not to put anything. Same in our body, we eat wrong food sometimes and when we do Upvas, we regular reduce bad toxins and regenerate good energy and restore our body as before. The ultimate goal of Upvas is the regeneration of cells, energy, immunity, blood and other important needs in the body. Apart from that, when the stomach is empty and some required acids are flowing in it, at the time, the body and mind perform at their best level because of good connection and concord.

  • What is the spiritual meaning of doing Upvas? [asked by: Giovanna Imprezzabile]

    Answer: Upvas is an Ayurveda Term that simply means skipping full-time meals for some days or months. It includes taking food only as Medicine. Vrat is something spiritual that is attached to any spiritual entity as a promised witness. Skipping meals for being healthy and to detoxify comes under Upvas. But if you had a Sankalpa (Promise) and skipped meals for the divine entity then it comes under Vrata.