Celebrated in honor of Goddess Durga, Navratri or Shardiya Navratri falls during the Hindu month of Ashvin and this year the festival will be celebrated from September 21 to 29. It is one of the most popular festivals of India and is celebrated in many parts of the country. Navratri means nine nights and each night is dedicated to different forms of goddess Durga. The festivities end on the tenth day with Vijay Dashmi or Dussehra. Navatri celebration in Gujarat and Maharashtra are famous as women observe fast during the day, wear a different color on each day of the festival and perform garba. During the nine-day long fast people eat only fruits or foods made of amaranth flour (rajgira ka atta) , water chestnut flour (singhare ka atta) or tapioca pearls (sabudana). People fast to purify their body and mind. Here are some tips to prepare your body for the nine-day long fast of Navratri.

1. Consult your doctor

Before you make up your mind to fast during the auspicious Navratri festival, ask your doctor if it is safe for you and whether it will affect your overall health. It is especially important to consult your doctor if you have some health condition or are under some medication. It is also not advisable to fast if you are pregnant.

2. Change your diet 2 weeks before the fasting period

Altering your diet will help your body to better acclimatize to the fasting. Start by removing sugar from your diet. Then slowly reduce the intake of baked goods and foods that are high in fat. You must also reduce addictive substances like alcohol and cigarettes. Eat smaller portions so that your body starts functioning on less energy. Also, increase the intake of fresh fruits and drink lots of water.

3. Include lots of liquid in your diet

Navratri food
Navratri food

Apart from water, drink fruit juices and herbal tea (both without sugar). It is best to make juice using fresh fruits as the store-bought packaged juices are high in sugar and preservatives. You need to drink water to keep your body hydrated.

4. Limit your diet to fresh fruits and vegetables around two days prior to the fasting

To prepare for the fasting, you must limit your diet. Eat only fresh fruits and vegetable one or two days before the start of the fasting period. This will help your body for the fasting period when you will be eating mostly fruits.

5. Do not forget to exercise

You may be low on energy but that doesn’t mean you can skip exercising. Keep your workout routine moderate and make sure you are well hydrated. You can also opt for walking or do yoga instead of doing your usual routine.

Another important thing to remember is to get enough rest and sleep. Follow these steps to prepare yourself for nine days of fasting and dancing during Navratri.