According to Ayurveda, traveling is most disruptive to Vata dosha. Therefore, we must make the appropriate lifestyle choices to pacify the Vata in order to create some balance during this time of chaos. A few simple changes can make quite a big difference in your traveling experience! Here are some Ayurvedic recommendations to keep in mind the next time you travel:
- Keep to a normal sleep cycle, set to the current time zone. Although this may be difficult with all the restlessness that traveling brings, it is very important for keeping balance during travel. If you are changing time zones this further increases the difficulty of finding an appropriate sleep cycle. My personal recommendation would be to get in bed at a normal hour such as 10-11pm, whether sleepy or not. Bring a natural sleep aid such as Sleepy Tea or Sweet Dreams Tincture to take 30 minutes before bedtime. A warm bath or a book will help to quite the mind. Try to avoid late night stimulation such as excessive talking or being on the computer.
- Bring appropriate clothes for the current weather. This step means that you will have to find out the weather of your destination area and the weather throughout your time there. You may need snow gear, rain gear, a sun hat or sunscreen depending on your situation.
- Wear comfortable clothing during your trip, especially on the day of travel. This means to not only dress appropriate for the weather, but to also wear loose fitting, cozy clothing that do not constrict your abdominal organs or your circulation. The body becomes constricted enough due to the multiple stressors of travel.
- Don’t forget the oil! In Ayurveda, oil goes far beyond the kitchen. It is a key tool for inducing calmness and balance when used externally for self-massage (abhyanga). If you are not able to perform a full body self-massage, then here is a quick, simple and super effective regimen to utilize during travel. Using either Vata oil or sesame oil, take a quarter-size amount onto the hand and begin to massage it onto the soles of the feet before bed. Massage each foot for several minutes and then put on a sock to help it absorb (do not use nice socks!). If you do not mind oil on the hair, you can also massage the forehead, around the ears and the scalp before bed as well. Read more on the health benefits of oil massage here.
- Travel Yoga. Whatever you call it, stretching out during travel will make a huge difference, both physically and mentally. Just taking 10 minutes to do this upon arising and again before bed will greatly increase circulation, strengthen digestion, ease tension, reduce stress and awaken the mind. Some great poses for travel are gentle forward folds (standing and sitting), relined hero’s pose with pillows, simple spinal twists and legs up the wall. These can be done anywhere, even in a hotel room or while waiting for your plane.
Read on to learn more Ayurvedic traveling tips:
Checkout my Ayurvedic Traveler’s Kit for all the herbal remedies you will need to stay in balance during your next adventure.