Ekadashi Fasting

Ekadashi, meaning ‘the eleventh day’ in Sanskrit, falls on the 11th day of the lunar calendar. It occurs twice a month during the bright and dark fortnights. It involves a fast to cleanse the body and the mind. The Ekadashi day is believed to be significant to Lord Vishnu and the followers of the Lord observe a full fasting on this day. The fasting on this day is called Ekadashi Vrat.

Fasting includes abstaining from grains, meat, shaving, and nail-cutting. Lord Krishna claims fasting on Ekadashi burns away sins and serves as a remedy for the suffering of the material body and mind. Consuming grains on Ekadashi is believed to attract sins, as sin personified resides in grains on this day. Such grains become toxic in the body, leading to various diseases. Fasting on Ekadashi helps distribute energy evenly, promoting a buoyant feeling without fatigue. Due to illness, individuals who cannot observe a total fast can consume milk, fruits, water, fruit juices, and vegetables.

Heavy foods significantly divert blood circulation towards the digestive organs, causing decreased blood flow to the head and inducing sleepiness. Ekadashi is not only a physical fast but also has deeper aspects involving the movement of planets, particularly the Moon, which influences the mind through Chakras.

In both fortnights of Ekadashi, the mind becomes concentrated and collected, making it a suitable time for devotional service to God. The day offers physiological rest, correcting irregularities caused by overeating or diet indiscretions in the preceding fourteen days. The observance of Ekadashi yields physical, astral, and spiritual benefits, aiding meditation and contemplation.

Those who are dry fasting should break their fast with hot milk and water, expelling toxins within half an hour. Those unable to dry fast can consume fruits, fruit juices, water, milk, and certain vegetables on Ekadashi. Ekadashi is a holistic practice with various advantages for the body, mind, and spirit.

Health Benefits of Ekadashi Fasting

Ekadashi occurs on the eleventh day of the lunar cycle when the Moon and Sun are at certain angles (120-132° or 300-312°, depending on whether the Moon‘s size is increasing or decreasing). Vedic astronomy tells us that this position of the Moon can affect our minds. Ekadashi is believed to be a good day for our minds to be clear and wise. So, fasting on Ekadashi might help our minds work better.

Ekadashi fasting is thought to be beneficial because the atmospheric pressure is lower on those days, which could help balance the body and mind. Research suggests that extreme tidal days might trigger manic depression symptoms more often. Fasting on Ekadashi helps balance hormones and bodily secretions, and it’s a good time to cleanse the bowel system. If there would be no food and water in the stomach on these days, the so-called linear attraction is unlikely to affect the gut, kidney and the liver. However, fasting might not be suitable for everyone, especially for those who are malnourished, pregnant, or children.

The practice of intermittent fasting, observed by Hindus on Ekadashi day every fifteen days, offers numerous health benefits such as antioxidant, antidiabetic, and anti-obesity effects. This fast is traditionally broken with a mixture of amla-raita and agathi leaf intake, providing antiulcer, anti-bloating, and gut-friendly effects. Amla, with its low-calorie content, digestive benefits, and probiotic qualities of curd, makes for an ideal combination (1).

This fasting cycle aligns with the fortnightly occurrence of Dwadashi, combining religious tradition with scientific evidence to promote better health, illustrating the concept of “spiritual nutrients.”

Ekadashi Vrat Dates in 2024 

Ekadashi NameDayBS Calendar 
Saphala EkadashiJanuary 7, 2024, SundayPausha Krishna Paksha Ekadashi 
Pausha Putrada EkadashiJanuary 21, 2024, SundayPausha Shukla Paksha Ekadashi
Shattila EkadashiFebruary 6, 2024, TuesdayMagha Krishna Paksha Ekadashi
Jaya EkadashiFebruary 20, 2024, TuesdayMagha Shukla Paksha Ekadashi
Vijaya EkadashiMarch 6, 2024, Wednesday Phalgun Krishna Paksha Ekadashi
Amalaki EkadashiMarch 20, 2024, WednesdayPhalguna Shukla Paksha Ekadashi
Paapmochani EkadashiApril 5, 2024, FridayChaitra Krishna Paksha Ekadashi
Kamada EkadashiApril 19, 2024, FridayChaitra Shukla Paksha Ekadashi
Varutini EkadashiMay 4, 2024, Saturday
Vaisakha Krishna Paksha Ekadashi
Mohini EkadashiMay 19, 2024, SundayVaisakha Shukla Paksha Ekadashi
Apara EkadashiJune 2, 2024, SundayJestha Krishna Paksha Ekadashi
Nirjala EkadashiJune 18, 2024, TuesdayJestha Shukla Paksha Ekadashi
Yogini Ekadashi
July 2, 2024, Tuesday
Ashadha Krishna Paksha Ekadashi
Sayana / Padma EkadashiDevshayani EkadashiJuly 17, 2024, WednesdayAshadha Shukla Paksha Ekadashi
Kamika EkadashiJuly 31, 2024, WednesdayShravan Krishna Paksha Ekadashi
Pavitropana EkadashiShravana Putrada EkadashiAugust 16, 2024, Friday
Shravan Shukla Paksha Ekadashi
Aja / Annada EkadashiAugust 29, 2024, ThursdayBhadrapada Krishna Paksha Ekadashi
Parvartini / Parsva EkadashiSeptember 14, 2024, SaturdayBhadrapada Shukla Paksha Ekadashi
Indira EkadashiSeptember 28, 2024, Saturday
Ashvin or AshwinKrishna Paksha Ekadashi
December 26, 2024, Thursday
Papankusha Ekadashi
October 13, 2024, Sunday
Ashvin or Ashwin Shukla Paksha Ekadashi
Rama Ekadashi
October 28, 2024, Monday
Kartika Krishna Paksha Ekadashi
Haribhodini / Dev Utthana EkadashiNovember 12, 2024, TuesdayKartika Shukla Paksha Ekadashi
Utpanna Ekadashi
November 26, 2024, Tuesday
Margashirsha Krishna Paksha Ekadashi 
Mokshada EkadashiDecember 11, 2024, WednesdayMargashirsha Shukla Paksha Ekadashi 
Saphala EkadashiDecember 26, 2024, ThursdayPausha Krishna Paksha Ekadashi 
Adik maas – Padmini Ekadashi
Parama Ekadashi

Reference and further readings

  1. Suchitra, M.R., and Parthasarathy, S. “Intermittent Fasting on the Ekadashi Day and the Role of Spiritual Nutrition.” Current Research in Nutrition and Food Science.

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