The most auspicious & awaited festival of sharad Navratri is here & so the preparations to seek the blessing of goddess shakti are in full spirit.
Navratri means the “Nine spiritual nights dedicated to the nav swaroop of goddess” is celebrated five times a year namely- Vasant, Ashadha, Sharad, Paush & Magha Navratri, out of which vasant Navratri & Sharad Navratri is the most significant one, rest according to traditional ideology are known as “Gupt Navratri”
NAVRATRI & AYURVEDA
According to hindu folklore, Sharad navratri is widely & culturally celebrated as Maha Navratri during the month of September & October. Since the Indian tradition follows the lunar calendar denoting that the moon is associated femine energy therefore every year sharad navratri commence on the pratipada or the first day of the lunar month of Ashwin.
Where as according to Ayurveda sharad means “Autumn” & with the Autumn Equinox, the change in season along with change in weather is observed. During which there is an external seasonal shift from uttarayan kala to dakshinayan kal along with internal doshic shift or imbalance in the body.
Hence a specific regime is mentioned in Ayurveda which needs to be followed during this “RITU SANDHI KAL” or transitional seasonal period in order to prepare the body for the commencement of upcoming seasonal variations.
Religious v/s scientific belief
The Religious festival is associated with the historical battle that took place between Maa Durga & demon Mahishasura & celebrated the victory of good over evil.
Where as Ayurveda denotes navratri as the nine day journey of vanishing the evil forces that lie within the body & leading to the final victory within ourselves.
Concept behind fasting & body detoxification
On religious ground, nine day long fasting is a way to get closer to the almighty. It is also conceptualized that fasting facilitates spiritual purification leading to strong will power.
On the other hand Ayurveda acknowledges this as a moment to balance sharirik doshas & celebrate the spirituality from within. As said during Sharad ritu sandhi kal the body is shifting from summer’s hot & high temperature (Aggravated Pitta dosha) & gradually falling into winter’s dry, windy & cold weather (Aggravating vata dosha) therefore with each passing day sharirik agni is tend to improve gradually from madhya (Moderate) to uttam (best) & this can only be achieved by opting correct ways to fasting or eating.
Right way to do fasting
Since festive feast is around the corner, Navratri fast is not the time to consume heavy, oily meals, potatoes, beverages & sweets. In fact it is the perfect time of the year to detox ourselves physically, emotionally & more important spiritually.
Also Scientifically it is stated that vasant (spring) & sharad (autumn) are the exact time of the year when our bodies tend to have low immunity & are vulnerable to disease. Hence, it is important to maintain a balanced light & healthy diet. And this is exactly where the Navratri fast comes into the picture.
General guidelines to be followed as per Ayurveda for a complete physical & spiritual detox.
- Consume more satvik aahar like milk, fruits, ghee (low amount) & dry fruits.
- Drink plenty of water, coconut water & stay hydrated
- Avoid tamsik aahar such as onion, garlic & alcohol etc as it tends to attract negative energies.
- Being low on calories intakes during these navratri improves digestive fire & build oja (Immunity).
- Purifies emotion through internal devotion