Last week my partner and I travelled to Perth to see one of my all time favourite artists, Bjork at the Perth Festival. It was an amazing visual and musical performance! With simple Ayurvedic tips for travel, I was able to mitigate the effects of air travel and the time zone difference.
Ayurveda recognises that travel disturbs the Air element / Vata dosha. This is especially true for air travel and long distance travel whether in a plane, train or car.
The Vata energy in our body is disturbed by too much movement, dryness, coldness whether from food or aircons and erratic patterns of eating and sleeping.
Travel certainly provokes all of those qualities within us and can leave us feeling dry, worn out, bloated, often constipated and frazzled.
It’s also common, when finally arriving at our destination, to come down with a cold as our immune system also takes a hit.
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!
10 Ayurvedic Traevl Tips
- Eat easy to digest foods – Staring the day before you travel, or at least the morning it is a good practice to eat warm and cooked food that is easy to digest such as soup or kitchadi (grab my recipe here) that also has some good quality fats in it.
Avoid loading yourself up with meat, nuts and cheeses that are much heavier and harder to digest and may clog your channels.
Avoid in flight food if you can! I like to bring a thermos of soup for my lunch or dinner when travelling thus keeping it warm and easy to digest. Or pack your meal in a throw away container like a glass jar.
2. Say no to cold drinks or food – Ingesting anything cold will increase Vata and impair digestion; which are, again, two effects that travel is already creating. To counter these effects, say no to iced or cold drinks and food.
Also avoid coffee, I know it’s hot but it seriously disturbs the nervous system and flying does that enough!
3. Oil your body – to counter the dryness that travel creates, oil your 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 during travel to keep the nasal mucous membranes moist and protect them from the air conditioning inside the plane.
We are more susceptible to Krimis, ancient Sankrit word for microscopic nasties like bacteria and viruses, (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 body then almond or coconut oil is best. This time I carried Weleda Rose Oil for a beautifully scented experience!
4. Stay Hydrated – travel is dehydrating so it is important to stay hydrated to alleviate constipation and headaches.
Warm water is best as it also combats the cold energy that provokes 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.
Ginger and fennel tea is a good blend for travel.
5. Avoid inflight or airport alcohol. As tempting as it is to start your holiday with a celebratory bevvy, you’ll feel much better if you wait until the day after you have arrived at your destination. Alcohol is very dehydrating and can overheat your system if you are already a hot body type.
6. Take a spritzer – A spray bottle of diluted Rosewater for your face the face and a little bottle of oil to keep up with oiling the skin on the face and possible feet. 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.
7. Stay regular – Both with your eating times and your bowel movements! Your body is accustomed to a rhythm and does not appreciate movement outside of this. It takes a while to adjust.
Try to keep your eating times on ‘body time’ as much as possible. If you are away for a while, say more than a week, allow your body to slide into the new time phase gradually for sleeping and eating.
If you are only away for a few days, finding the middle ground between the new and “body time’ old rhythm is best. This way the change is not so much of a shock each way!
8. Keep bowel moving! – travel really disturbs digestion and elimination. Here are some tips to keep things form clogging up so you can enjoy your holiday more!
Eat stewed apples and prunes to help keep your bowels happy. Enjoy it either when landed or as an inflight snack.
Again… stay hydrated!
Try taking some triphala tablets with you. This formula is excellent for gently regulating elimination. Take 2-4 tablets with lunch and 4-6 before bed.
9. Stay calm – travel can be anxiety provoking. I often don’t sleep well before catching a plane even though I know I won’t miss it… probably!
Aim to be rested before your flight. Reduce rushing and overloading your body with carrying too much weight. Use the trolley supports as the airport.
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. Close your eyes to rest them from the artificial lights or even better take an eye pad to create darkness.
10. Connect with the Earth – Once you have arrived at your destination take some time to reconnect with the Earth. Walk barefoot on grass or sand. An ocean swim is great if possible. Sit or lie on the earth and breathe. Imagine you are putting roots down into the earth from your body.
With these Ayurvedic travel tips your travels will be more comfortable, and you’ll arrive ready to enjoy your time away!