Happy Wednesday Yogis! We are on the last day of this round of daily positive practices from the Niyamas, ending with Ishvara Pranidhana. Due to my nerdiness, I enjoy learning about all kinds of ancient and world holidays and traditions. So, I will be pulling interesting traditions from various holidays for inspiration for our Daily Yogi practices, especially when they line up. I am festive and open, but please remember if any practices I am suggesting do not resonate with you, select one of your choice and catch up with us tomorrow! I am getting a bit out there today and trying a pretty intense fast today in honor of the Rama Ekadashi holiday, since I have always wanted to try this and it lines up with today’s Ishvara Pranidhana practice. Feel free to join me if you’d like, but please note today’s Daily Yogi practice is focusing on our standard challenging practice of surrender. I am a first-time faster, so I will report back in the comments.
Today is Rama Ekadashi, one of the most important Ekadashis of the year. Ekadashi is a tradition in India, celebrated every 11th day of the Vedic Lunar Calendar. Ekadashi is a day to fast, cleanse, and rejuvenate. I have a very mixed past experience with fasting – I have old friends who include fasting as part of their religion/culture, and I have heard both praise and warnings for fasting from medical and health professionals. However, due to my past life as an accountant I get very excited about numbers and numerology, and today’s Super 11/11 Ekadashi seems like a good time for me to try! I am NOT making this a Daily Yogi required practice today… intermittent fasting is NOT for everyone, and I have the nagging warnings from health professionals in the back of my mind! There are Health Benefits to Intermittent Fasting, but you should check with your physician before trying intermittent fasting or any drastic diet change. Traditional Ekaadashi fasting practices vary from simply avoiding rice and grains, to consuming only fruits and vegetables, to full fasting throughout the holiday. Traditionally The Bhagavad Gita is also read on Rama Ekadashi.
I was surprised after doing a bit of research how many proverbs relate to fasting!
He who eats until he is sick must fast until he is well. English Proverb
Fasting today makes the food good tomorrow. German Proverb
Abstinence and fasting cure many a complaint. Danish Proverb
A fast is better than a bad meal. Irish Proverb
The best of all medicines are rest and fasting. Benjamin Franklin
I fast for greater physical and mental efficiency. Plato
Today’s Daily Yogi Practice is to practice acceptance when something bad or less-than-positive happens today for Ishvara Pranidhana Day. I will be certainly using this for my Ekadashi fasting today! Try a deep breathing exercise when you encounter a problem. If you lose your temper, perhaps try to step outside yourself and see yourself reacting to a difficulty, and ask yourself if your reaction was productive. If it is possible, try seeing the silver lining for potential for growth in a bad situation. If you are practiced in religious faith, perhaps try praying for your own peace, calm, and understanding instead of a solution to a problem you are facing. Again, this is a journey and this particular practice today is one of the most difficult, so be gentle with yourself. If at first you do not succeed, evaluate what your reaction contributed, and try again next time. Treat this as an experiment, and see how you feel later after trying different approaches to problems that arise.
Advanced Yogis who incorporate Ishvara Pranidhana into their lives may begin seeing difficulties as challenges to overcome, and opportunities to practice managing our responses. This is one of the keys of long-lasting happiness, since getting upset often does nothing to help a bad situation and only makes things more difficult for ourselves. Instead, try to stay calm, and do not allow a negative encounter to draw you into negativity. Of course, this is easier said than done! Remember, it is a journey.
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Please comment to share how this exercise impacted you. Have you ever tried fasting? Feel free to share your successes or your struggles with either of today’s challenging practices. Always remember, be kind!