I recently traveled to Melbourne and back in one day to attend an Ayurveda Conference. It was great and despite the super early start and long day I was refreshed for taking in the wonderful information at the conference and made it home without feeling too frazzled!
The wisdom of Ayurveda recognises that travel disturbs the Vata dosha, (the air element in our body). This is especially true for air travel and long distance travel whether in a plane, train or a car. The Vata energy in our body is disturbed by too much movement, dryness, coldness and erratic patterns of eating and sleeping.
Travel certainly provokes all of those qualities within us and can leave us feeling dried out and tired out, bloated and constipated, frazzled, or perhaps we arrive at our destination with a cold.
Here are some tried and tested Ayurvedic tips to help you arrive at your next destination feeling grounded, refreshed and ready for your time away!Oil your body –to counter the dryness that travel brings Ayurveda says to oil the skin before travelling. Simply rub oil all over your body, allow it to soak in for about 10 minutes, then shower without soaping the oil off. I also like to add a little oil to my ears and my nostrils to keep the nasal mucous membranes moist. We are more susceptible to Krimis, ancient Sankrit word for microscopic nasties like bacteria and virus’s, (yes they did know about them thousands of years ago!!) when our mucous membranes are dried out. On a long flight I also like to bring some oil to massage into my feet. I bring a pair of oldish socks that are ok to get oily. Which oil to use? Sesame oil is good especially if you are a person who feels the cold. If you are a hot bod then coconut oil is best.
Stay Hydrated – another way to help prevent dryness is to drink enough water. Warm water is best as it also combats the cold quality that can aggravate Vata. I like to take my favourite herbal teabags with me on a plane and ask the steward for hot water. Or you can take a thermos flask with you on any journey.
Take a spritzer or spray bottle of diluted Rosewater with you to spray the face and a little bottle of oil to keep up with oiling the skin on the face. We can’t necessarily oil all over whilst on a long flight (that would be awkward!), but a little refresh of the face can help to feel good.
Eat easy to digest foods – staring the day before you travel is is a good practice to eat food that is easy to digest such as soup or kitchadi (recipe here) that also has some good quality fats in it.
Stay regular – try to keep your eating times on schedule as much as possible. Let’s face it….airplane food is not great! Plan ahead. Take one meal with you in a container that you do not mind throwing away, (like a glass jar). This could hold some warmed kitchadi or porridge. Or some soaked nuts and a date for a snack.
Stay calm – travel can provoke anxiety in many people. I can never sleep well before catching a plane even though I know I won’t miss it! Do try to be rested before a flight. Once on the plane breathe deeply into your belly to stay more relaxed. Avoid talking too much as this also over stimulates the nervous system. Notice how you are feeling and take pause if you begin to feel frazzled. Close your eyes to rest them from the artificial lights or even better take an eye pad to create darkness. A few things to avoid are substances that are cold and drying. Here are a few to get you started – refrigerated drinks and carbonated drinks; coffee (I know it is hot but is really is not good for Vata as it seriously disturbs the nervous system and flying does that enough!); raw foods, unsoaked nuts are hard to digest; dried fruit. Try not to rush and not to worry as these mental habits will erode your energy.
With these easy tips form Ayurveda I know that you can enjoy your travel more and arrive ready to enjoy your time away!