Stay in Balance During Travel
Getting ready to go on a vacation or traveling for work can be exciting and at the same time depleting. It’s a common occurrence to feel like a day of travel to your destination takes so much physical and mental energy that you might need a day or so to recover.
Here are some tips for before, during, and after travel to help you feel like you can stay in balance throughout which can leave you more time to enjoy your vacation instead of recovering from travel.
Through the lens of Ayurveda travel is Vata aggravating. Vata is the principle of movement and change and associated with the qualities of dry, light, and rough. Some of the signs of Vata aggravation from travel are gas, constipation, dryness, difficulty sleeping, and exhaustion in body and mind. There are some simple changes to routine that can help keep Vata more in balance during travel.
Minimize caffeine, alcohol, and carbonation as they are dehydrating and Vata aggravating.
Use a checklist – Vata imbalance can affect concentration and attention to detail.
Pack as lightly as possible – simplify so you don’t feel so burdened during travel.
Take a scarf with lavender oil (or your favorite scent) – having a calming scent can be helpful if you find yourself experiencing a moment of stress. Use the scent as a reminder to take a slow, deep, and calming breath.
Rest but resist the urge to nap. Go outside for a bit at your destination to help your internal clock reset to local time.
After travel try a diet of simple, warm, cooked foods for the first couple of days.
Book end travel days with slow days.
Lastly, one of the most effective Ayurvedic practices to incorporate into your travel routine to keep Vata in balance is Abhyanga (self-massage). This practice is essential to soothing the nervous system and can also help move stagnant lymphatic fluid. If you have ever experienced some swelling in your feet or legs after a long day of travel that is a collection lymphatic fluid (fluid that bathes the tissues of the body). We want to keep that fluid moving so it can be refreshed and cleansed by the body to keep the tissues nourished and healthy.
The word for oil in the language of Ayurveda is Sneha which also means love. By applying oil, you are taking time to show yourself some love and compassion. Some great choices for oil are cold pressed organic sesame oil or coconut oil.
Start at your feet and work your way up your body, circular motion over joints and long upward strokes on long bones of the body. When you get to your abdomen start by moving up the right side of your abdomen go across the top and down the left. This follows the path of digestion and can help you avoid travel constipation with gentle movement. When you have finished your massage no need to hurry and wash the oil off. Give it some time to soak in as you wrap up in a cozy towel and enjoy some quiet time. Then rinse in a warm shower, don’t scrub the oil off, let it nourish your skin.
If a full body massage is not possible another great option is to apply oil to the soles of your feet, a dab in your nostrils, and a few drops on the crown of your head before bed.
Incorporating some of these simple changes into your travel routine can help you feel more balanced and at ease throughout your trip.
~Tonia Mayerle, Ayurveda Health Counselor