Healthy Travel | The Ayurveda Way
Whether you’re off to a relaxing or adventurous vacation or attending a mandatory business meeting, traveling can cause stress to our body and mind. The vata dosha is responsible for the movement and coordination of our thoughts as well as our physical body and has the qualities of being light, dry, cold and spacious. Traveling increases these qualities as we move away from the earthly stability of our daily routines.
Have you ever noticed when you travel you get anxious, nervous, constipated, gassy, or bloated? Integrating Ayurvedic principals will prevent these vata-type symptoms from becoming aggravated.
BEFORE YOU HIT THE ROAD
- hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: travel increases dryness both internally and externally caused by excessive movement and pressurized cabin air. Drink as much (room temperature) water as you can leading up to your trip and practice abhyangha before you go.
- snacks: pack healthy snacks for both the front and back end of your trip – I like taking sunballs, stuffed dates, making my own trail mix and bringing fresh fruit for the departure flight.
- herbal support: packing a few herbal essentials from your pantry is a great way to stay balanced. Add a fresh piece of ginger to your water to aid in digestion and to prevent nausea. My #1 go to is fennel seeds! Dry roast a few tablespoons, place them in a small container and throw them in your carry-on. Lets face it, when we’re traveling, we tend to eat more – chewing a few fennel seeds before or after meals will prevent gas and bloating. For sleep support, mix 2 tsp of both nutmeg and cardamom powder together and place in a little bag (this is enough for four doses).
- essential oils: I never leave home without my essential oil travel blends. Here are my favorite blends from Young Living:
- lemon vitality to place in my water each morning to balance agni or to direct palm inhale to uplift my mood
- digize vitality diluted with a carrier oil such as almond oil to rub on your belly in case of the ‘icks’ or place one drop in 8oz of water.
- in a 5ml roller ball, place 2 drops of cardamom, 3 drops of fennel, and 1 drop of peppermint along with fractionated coconut oil. rub on belly for ease of digestion.
- lavender + frankincense: to calm emotions or help with a restful nights sleep simply direct palm inhale or in case of a skin irritant – dilute in your favorite carrier oil and gently massage onto skin.
- pack your neti pot + nasya oil: we are more prone to come into contact with pathogens and experience dryness, congestion and infections while traveling. Bring your neti pot to cleanse your nasal passages and your nasya oil to protect. you can find travel friendly neti pot options that are plastic, however, I just wrap my ceramic one in a few layers of clothes.
ON THE GO:
- maintain your morning rituals or dinacharya practices: travel can throw off your circadian rhythm, so keep as much of your morning and evening routines as possible to keep you grounded. Rise with or just before the sun, tongue scrape, oil pull, splash your face with cool water and take a morning pause to meditate or journal (I love to keep a travel journal and write about my journey each morning). Warm water with lemon (or lemon vitality essential oil) before you start the day will prevent sluggish digestion, common during travel and will keep your agni or digestive fire strong.
- move: exercise is important and can support healthy circulation and digestion. even just a few rounds of easy sun-salutations
can be simple and effective! Most hotels have a fitness center, step on the treadmill for a quick mile or two.
- drink tea instead of coffee: traveling disturbs sleep so do yourself a favor and avoid the caffeine. This will also prevent dry skin and inflammation.
- get to bed: avoid staying up late. rest is crucial for our immunity so if you want to avoid getting the travel bug, rest up and you won’t have to “catch up” when you return home. If you have difficulty sleeping, this is where you want to pull out your nutmeg/cardamom blend as mentioned above – place 1/2 tsp in a cup of warm water or milk and drink before bed.
- practice pranayama: travel can increase anxiety, cultivating simple awareness on your breath will help to ground your energetic body. I find a few rounds of nadi shodhana to be helpful, I always practice during flight.
- stay calm: one of my other in-flight favorites is iRest | yoga nidra. I plug in my ear buds and rest easy knowing that after a 20 minute session, I’ll feel as if I’ve just taken an 8 hour nap! Send me a message and I’ll email you a personalized iRest recording!
- mindful meals: keep your mealtimes consistent each day and don’t skip breakfast. Chew well, slowly and listen for when your body is full. Skip dessert! Instead, ask for warm water with lemon, chamomile or ginger tea. Your digestion will thank you and you’ll wake the next day feeling energized without the puffy travel face!
- down time: it’s simple – schedule your trip so that you have a day or two to settle back into a routine. during this time do some meal prep and planning.
- digestive reset: when I return from travel, I like to make a batch of yellow mung kitchadi – it makes about 4-6 servings and is the perfect digestive reset.
- herbal support: continue to support your mental and digestive health by taking your herbal and essential oil support as mentioned above.
- rejuvenate + nourish: schedule an in office shirodhara or bliss therapy to ground and stabilize your energy.
How do you stay balanced during travel? Leave us a comment!
happy + safe travels!