Before, picture taken on February 3, 2011 After, picture taken on June 2, 2011
Q: When and where were you born?
A: I was born in the winter of 1968 in the City of Moscow, Russia, in what would be considered an upper-middle class family. My birth was followed by severe health complications and doctors advised my mother to not apply for a birth certificate, because according to them my chances to survive were next to none. Within 18 days after my birth I suffered from double pneumonia and, subsequently, clinical death. It is through my mother’s vigilance and tireless efforts of one particular pediatrician I am here today.
Q: Who were your parents?
A: My parents were of the same age. My father was an ethnic Jew and my mother is Russian.
My father held a position in the All-Union Council of Tourism and Excursions under the Council of the Unions, a second most powerful organization after Communist Party at the time. He graduated from the Institute of Physical Culture in Moscow and through his college years and his work had a large social network which included nationally recognized athletes and scientists, as well as famous personalities from the art world. Because of my father’s connections I grew up with broad exposure to theatre, ballet, opera and art exhibits.
My mother was an electrical engineer who, prior to my birth, spent several years working for Ministry of Defense. It was there she got her first exposure to the science of parapsychology with particular emphasis on telepathy and out-of-body experiments. At that time both were researched for the use in the military operations and espionage.
Later, when I was about 11-years old, my mother met a woman, who was involved in a network of people with developed extra sensory perception (ESP) abilities. Some of them were employed by the government. My mother and this woman became close friends. Soon copies of classified materials on ESP research and particularly channeling began to appear in my household. My mother felt that I was mature enough to comprehend this information. Reading it gave me some understanding of human potentials beyond what meets the eye.
Q: What is your education and what do you do now?
A: I graduated from high school in Moscow in 1986. Three years later my family immigrated to the United States. We landed in Sacramento CA.
At the time my family included my mother, my father, my one year old son and myself. None of us spoke much of English but we were blessed with several volunteers from the Jewish Federation of Sacramento who made this transition smoother for us. Within a year, after gathering enough English to navigate my way towards college degree, I began my formal education that spanned a full decade.
Upon completion of my Bachelor of Arts degree with double major in Photography and Film Studies, we moved to Los Angeles, so I could attend UCLA Graduate Film School, Independent Producers Program. I completed the course of studies, but walked away without my Masters degree in hope of making it in Hollywood and then coming back for my thesis.
However, my observations of the entertainment industry with its highs and lows lead me to a change of heart and, five years later, I decided to change my professional direction by enrolling in Masters of Science in Public Administration program at Cal State University, Los Angeles.
I attended this program on and off for five years, finding myself increasingly disinterested and ultimately dropping out four classes short from completion. I am a firm believer in having passion in what you do or study. Without it, these processes can become unbearable and make your life feel meaningless.
Nevertheless, two good things came out of this experience. While studying, I successfully passed a civil service exam for the City of Los Angeles. I was hired in December of 2005 and currently work as a Management Analyst II for the Los Angeles Police Department. I also got involved with local politics. In 2007 I was appointed by the Major of Pasadena to serve on the Human Relations Commission. I have been a commissioner ever since.
Q: Do you have your own family?
A: I have been married for 11 years and have four children, three boys and a girl. My oldest son is 23, followed by two boys 10 and 8, and a 6-year girl.
Q: Do you practice any spiritual practices, belong to any church, religion?
A: Yes and No. Growing up in Soviet Russia, religion was not part of my upbringing. However, since my mother as a child had a near death and out of body experiences, she had her own idea of spirituality. To this day she believes that Higher Power exists within us and around us, not in the church. Still, while raising me, she would embrace every opportunity to expose me to various spiritual traditions, concepts, ideas and philosophies.
When I had my first son, Soviet Union was on a verge of collapsing and Russian Orthodox Church began to regain its former presence. Knowing that we were about to immigrate to America I decided to baptize him in accordance with his heritage. Since Russian Orthodox church required that a child’s mother had to be baptized for the child to be baptized, both of us went through the baptism on the same day.
In my young adult years, I’ve ventured through Eastern Orthodoxy, Hinduism, Vedanta, Tibetan Buddhism, and various forms of Paganism, including Heathenism. In December of 2007 I found a Great Goddess Circle to bring together those who revere the Sacred Feminine. A year later I was ordained as a priestess of Isis at the Temple of Isis in Gayserville, CA.
My husband is from the Georgian Republic and, although he is somewhere between atheism and agnosticisms, all the women in his family are very religious. To honor them we decided to baptize our three children. To this day I occasionally visit Eastern Orthodox Church even though I disagree with some of its doctrinal positions.
At this point in time I feel that I’ve reached a certain level of wisdom and maturity, particularly after my fasting experience, and I am much more inclusive of all forms of spiritualities. I no longer form any opinions which of the religions or philosophies are the short cut to the Truth. Ultimately, it all depends on the human being and whether she/he lives in accordance with the Universal Laws. The rest just helps to put those laws in perspective according to individual’s ability to comprehend them.
Q: When and how did you learn about the fasting?
A: My first introduction to fasting coincided with my introduction to yoga as a way of life. I was 9-years old, vacationing with my family in Ukrain. It is so happened that our neighbor was a man who has been committed to practice of yoga for many years. In fact he even spent several months in jail for being vegan. Yes, some readers might find it absurd; however, Soviet Penal Code had an article stating that” self-inflicted detriment” was punishable by law.
This man poured his experience and knowledge of yoga and Eastern Mysticism into my inquisitive mind. He told me stories of men able to pass through solid walls, walk on hot coals, and control their heart beats and body temperature. He taught me the art of pranayama breathing. During one of our conversations he showed some amazing moves he was able to perform with his abdominal muscles. It was this man who introduced me to fasting as a way towards spiritual evolution.
Q: Why did this topic catch your attention?
A: Since I was very little, I had a peculiar notion that we humans are weak because of the limitations of our bodies. In fact a mere image of naked human body would repulse me. I found humans to be physically powerless against forces of nature comparing to other species. Nevertheless, I always felt great admiration towards human mind and spirit. For that reason, anything that would push the limitations of the body and increase capacity of the mind and strength of the spirit would spike my interest.
Q: Is this your first time fasting or you’ve fasted before?
A: Yes, I have fasted before.
Q: If not first time, how many times did you fast before, for how many days, how often?
A: During my high school years I’ve experimented with various forms of fasting, such as fasting for 18 hours out of 24, but that was mainly for weight loss. My first real experience with fast took place in January of 1993 when I was visiting my aunt in Moscow. Within a couple of weeks upon my arrival I found myself totally abandoned, as my friends would not return my calls and no one was inviting me anywhere. I have learned from a very young age that when something like this happens it means that it’s time to turn your focus inward.
My aunt was really into water fasting at that time and suggested that I try that. I did two days and did not like it. So, I decided to test myself further by fasting for two days without water. Back then dry fasting as a method was not widely known and I was not familiar with it at all.
The first 24 hours went great. I went to bed that night ready for my second day, only to wake up on my 36th hour in panic. My whole body was in flames. I tried to get up, but felt so weak that I could not gather enough strength to rise. I literally crawled on my four to the kitchen to get some water. As I was drinking I felt how the stream was burning its way through my throat down to my stomach. This experience was so frightening that I completely erased it from my memory until I introduced myself to the concept of dry fasting in February of 2011.
Throughout the years I did complete various length water fasts, but never consistent and never longer than three or four days. To be honest I was never a big water drinker or any liquid drinker for that matter. I am always naturally well hydrated, I hardly sweat and even during the hot summer I do not consume a lot of liquids. So for me to be exclusively on water for any significant length of time never qualified as a pleasant experience.
Q: How did your family react to your fasting?
A: My husband did not have any real reaction. After eleven years of marriage he just accepts that I do thing other people might find odd. The only thing he was not happy about this time is my dry fasting period, since I would not shower of wash my hair for 9 days.
My oldest son was very supportive and concerned at the same time. He would check in with me on a daily basis to make sure that I was feeling well. He did see me a couple of times while I was fasting and noticing positive changes in me made him a believer in the power of fast.
At first my young kids would try to tempt me with food, then they lost interest, and finally they would check in with me once in a while to see when my fast was going to be over. My second son, Serafim, expressed some interest to fast in the future.
Ultimately, I had so much more energy than before the fast and I was doing so much more for my family that everyone was benefiting from it.
Q: How many days did you fast this time?
A: I’ve fasted for a total of 40 days.
Q: How did you come up with the idea to fast for as long as you did?
A: It happened quite naturally. I have read about 40-day fasts performed by saints, yogis and such prophets as Moses and Jesus. I have to admit the idea was very appealing, but considering my distaste for water I really did not see myself being able to accomplish such a deed.
The beginning of 2011 found me at a very low point in my life. Many dramatic things happened in the previous year including 11 months of suffering from panic disorder and the loss of my beloved father. I truly felt I needed to do something very drastic to bring changes.
I kept searching and came across dry fasting. Since there was very little information about it in English, I went to google.ru (the Russian google search engine) and that’s where I discovered www.filonov.net [in Russian], Dr. Filonov’s website devoted to dry fasting as well as other websites and forums. Something told me that I found my solution.
Within a few weeks after I discovered dry fasting, I completed three short fasts, going from 36 hours to 5 days, to prepare myself for 11 days healing fast. My plan was to dry fast for 11 to 12 days and then go through the refeed process. Unfortunately or fortunately, my body tricked me into drinking in the middle of the night after 9.5 days and I ended up transitioning to water.
Still I did not plan on going for 40-days, but every day I was feeling better and better, stronger and stronger. So I said to myself why not, if the saints could do it, so can I. In my mind the difference between me and the saints, yogis and prophets was that I still had all my secular responsibilities, which included a full-time job and my family to contend with. But then, maybe that’s how this experience was meant to be for me.
Q: What type of fasting did you use (full, dry, etc)?
A: The first 9.5 days I was on a strict dry fast. My only contact with water was when I was washing my hands. If I had to clean dishes or anything else, I would wear rubber gloves. The remaining of the fast was water fast except for the 38th day when I could not stand water anymore and had to go dry for 24 hours.
Q: Please tell us about your experience you acquired during this fasting. How did you prepare for it?
A: As I stated earlier, I conducted three dry fasts 36 hours, 72 hours, and 5 days to prepare for the long dry fast, which commenced about two weeks after I finished my 5-day fast. I also went on almost vegetarian diet in between my fasts. In addition, in order to remove some of the toxins from my body and ease my detoxification process I had one session of colon hydrotherapy done just before I started.
Q: What about your daily regimen?
A: My daily regimen during the fast was pretty consistent. I’d get up between 5:30 and 6:00 am take my vitals. Then I would spend some time journaling and blogging before getting ready for work. Blogging was a great way to keep myself motivated and stay on track.
I work nine hours per day. Often times it requires a lot of talking on the phone which proved to be difficult during the dry fast, since speaking promotes dehydration. Fortunately, I am blessed with great colleagues, who would jump in and help me with this task, particularly in the second part of my dry fast when my mouth started to get dry and, as a result, my ability to speak clearly was greatly diminished. I spent my lunch time ether going for a walk, taking a nap or just sitting outside if the weather was nice. After work my time would be occupied with household chores, dinner, kids’ homework, and quality time with my husband.
Early in the fast I learned the importance of rest. If I felt tired after work, upon arrival home I would take a nap before tending to my household. I always tried to get at least seven hours of sleep.
Another important part of my daily regimen during the water portion of my combined fast was daily enema. I would like to clarify that by enema I do not mean those large 1 – 2 liter bottles people use to clean their colon. I used disposable Fleet brand enemas, filled with 4.5 oz of saline solution. Their purpose is to stimulate bowel movement and they can be purchased at most drug stores or pharmacies.
And last but not least, I would get bi-weekly massages on a regular basis. Besides being great aid in stress relief, massage is extremely helpful in the detoxification and healing process. One particular episode comes to mind when on the 29th day I had a severe migraine. Since I could not take any medication for it and being at work could not lie down, I had to look for an alternative. I remembered that Shiatsu massage is used to help with pain. My office is conveniently located near Little Tokyo, a Japanese town in Los Angeles. Immediately I found a Shiatsu therapist and went to see him. About 45 minutes after the session my migraine was gone.
While most of the fast was amazing, the final week did prove to be challenging. I still felt spiritually strong, but the persistent horrible taste in my mouth, along with nausea and my increasing distaste for water, were making my final fasting days a pure torture. I had to keep reminding myself that saints and others who have fasted for 40 days documented that the last week was the worst and the most difficult to overcome. Praying constantly for strength, I was counting hours to the end, but I would not give into my body’s weakness.
Q: What was your experience like with exiting the fast?
A: I exited my fast according to a system developed by Professor Nikolaev for a long term water fast. The first six days I followed his regimen pretty closely only eating what I was supposed to. Then on the seventh day the Christian world celebrated Easter and I decided to partake in the festivities. We had a Georgian Easter feast at home and I eat a little bit of everything. There were no signs indicating that my body reacted negatively. In fact I had several natural bowel movements per day and felt wonderful. So I continued eating regular food and five days later found myself in the urgent care with pretty severe edema. Fortunately it was nothing serious, but it taught me a lesson of patience with myself.
Q: Can you please share with us the final results of your fast, including physical health, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits?
A: Apart from depression and panic disorder, developed a year ago, I had no other serious health issues or concerns. My December 2010 blood test results were great, except for my LDL cholesterol which was borderline normal.
On the first day of my fast I went to see my physician. She confirmed that there were no areas of concern in terms of my health and I could safely proceed with fasting. Since I could not take any medication while fasting I stopped taking my anti panic and anti depression medication as soon as I began preparation for my long fast.
While fasting every day would deliver more clarity and understanding of myself and changes to my inner being. With every pound of weight coming off me I felt as if I were peeling off the layers of my old skin and more of my spirit was being revealed daily. Towards the end I could truly state that my spirit was in the driver’s sit of my life.
As we fast, we are forced to live in the present in order to not lose touch with our body and its experience. The result is an amazing sense of self awareness and our environment. I have noticed that my perception and levels of tolerance were changing as well. For instance I could no longer tolerate excessive violence in the media.
It became a lot easier for me to be blunt and state things as they are instead of pretending that everything was fine. While feeling happy for the most part, I also wanted to extend this sense of happiness to others by providing service to them. My life force was restored and my energy was shooting through the roof.
The end result was a younger, stronger and more confident me. My skin improved. My hair was no longer dull. Friends and acquaintances had to take a second look when they saw me. My father-in-law, who was not aware of my fasting and did not see me for the whole duration of the fast, did not recognize me at first. Later he told me that I have become a completely different woman.
My post-fast blood test results revealed that my LDL cholesterol dropped by 30 points (from 127 to 97). I have been free of psychotropic medications for over three months now and haven’t had any panic or depressive episodes. My ability to focus has been completely restored. I no longer have any problems with my memory and concentration.
Now that it’s been a month since I broke my fast I can also state that the difference between fasting self vs food consuming self in terms of spiritual sensibilities and sensitivity to the world as a whole is easily detectable. For instance, I check with myself daily and if I feel that I am getting detached from my spirit, I fast.
To learn more about my fasting experience you can visit my blog.
Q: What are your future plans regarding fasting?
A: Currently I am in the process of experiencing another system of dry fasting. I just finished a 7 day dry fast and will be taking 7 days off, then fast again for another 7 days, and so on. The purpose of this fasting system is a permanent weight loss. Once I reach my weight target I plan to transition to intermittent 36-hour dry fasts twice a week and make them part of my life.
While fasting, I spent countless hours researching everything pertaining to body, mind and spirit in connection with fasting. Now I am continuing learning about fasting while actively sharing my knowledge through my blogs and forum posts on www.fastingconnection.com. In addition I am in the process of co-writing a book on dry fasting with Dr. Filonov, a renown Russian physician and an author who has been practicing and treating patients with dry fasts for over 20 years. For more information on Dr. Filonov please go to www.filonov.net [in Russian].
Sources: http://golodanie-da.ru/, Fasting Center International
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