Ekadashi (Sanskrit: एकादशी, ekādaśī, "Eleven", “Eka” – one, “dashi” - ten), also spelled as Ekadasi, is the eleventh lunar day (Tithi) between the New Moon and Full Moon.
This is an important day in Hinduism and Vaishnavism tradition. The day of self purification, redemption and spiritual progress.
Ekadasi occurs twice in a Lunar month, in the bright fortnight and the dark fortnight. It is recommended to go strict fasting or even not to eat and drink at all because food is filled with our sins and bad karma. Therefore taking food we increase our bad fortune. Otherwise if we are fasting this day we “burn” bad karma and and increase a good fortune.
By fasting one gives chance to give rest to the digest system, instead of regular heavy meals three times a day more fruits & light food is consumed, by doing so person goes more for spiritual life, moreover have better control over body & mind, biggest gain is keeping healthy.
There is a necessity to give the physiological system some rest once a while. It may be overworked due to a little overeating or indiscrimination in diet. These irregularities get rectified in one day. Thus the observance of Ekadasi has many advantages — physical, astral, spiritual — and because this day has connection with the relation of the mind with its abode together with the moon, one feels helped in meditation and contemplation.
Hinduism believers suppose that spiritual ascesis during Ekadashi helps to “jump out” of life and death cycle. Ayurveda recommends fasting to improve one’s health. Follow your personal features: if you have “dosha kapha” – keep dry fasting, if you have “Vata” then drink lemon water, if you have “Pita” drink milk or juice (use 40% of milk and 60% of water, pour some sugar)
Depending on your state of health, work loads and other facts you can choose your personal diet taking into account the allowed food for that day.
How to observe Ekadashi
In the Ekadashi morning you should take a shower, calm down and clear your mind and body. It is important to understand that fasting is not just rejection of food or any other stuff. If you give vent to anger or moral deficiency – you are not actually keep a fast, you are just not eating. Avoid daytime sleep, oil massage and shaving.
If you are not fasting eat no more than one time per day after midday during Ekadashi.
If you occasionally missed the Ekadashi – you can proceed it the next day (Dvadashi) and stop fasting on the 3-d day (Triodashi). If the Ekadashi coinced with dashas (the 10th lunar days) there’s no need to fast, buf if it coinced the Dvadasha (12th Lunar day) it calls “pure Ekadashi” (Mahadvadashi) and it can be kept strictly.
Stop fasting the next morning after 2-3 hours after the sunrise. The first meal should consist of fresh fruits or juices. Be careful with your ration. Your stomach is not working during fasting so do not overload it with heavy food when finishing fasting.
It is recommended to prepare yourself for the first time fasting during the Ekadashi. Calm you mind and body. Do not overeat the day before fasting, do not take animal food. Vegetables, fruits, porridge are advisable. You can perform cleaning procedures (clyster, etc.). When stop fasting drink juices, eat vegetables, fruits, cereals, etc. but not too much.