Ayurvedic Travel Tips
Travelling can be great fun, but it can also be a great strain on your body and mind. Rushing for flights, changing time zones, sitting for extended periods, poor food, and new environments disrupt our daily routines and rhythms. Also, being on the go we find ourselves choosing convenient fast food options and throwing our regular balanced diet out the window. Not only do these have an impact on health, but the effects of flying itself can cause great disturbance due to the cold and dry air, cabin pressure, lack of oxygen, jet-lag, germs, airplane food, etc.
Being on the move and out of our usual routine and environment, travelling naturally increases Vata, the Dosha with the qualities of being mobile, cold, dry, rough and instable. As these qualities are naturally increased in you mind and body, this can result in sleep disturbances such as insomnia, jet lag as well as constipation, dry skin, anxiety, bloating, gas, fear, worry, low moods and fatigue.
Here are 5 tips to keep your mind and body in balanced while on the go;
1. Practice Yoga Asanas Mid Flight
Keep the circulation pumping and prevent body aches and stiffness. Keep moving on the plane, get up and go for a walk every hour.
Some easy postures for flying are;
* Touch your toes then reach or the sky several times
* Hug your arms around yourself, trying to touch your shoulder blades with your fingertips. Once in that position, stretch your neck by pressing your ears to your shoulders and repeat.
* Grab the back of your chair and twist
* Hug your knees to your chest while sitting
2. Keep Hydrated
The oxygen used in the aircraft Cabin is extremely drying and dehydrating to the body as it sucks moisture from the skin. This can cause dry skin, fatigue, constipation and poor concentration. The dryness inside a plane matches that of a desert! So drink plenty of water a few days prior to flying and during the flight.
Avoid further dehydration by avoiding the complementary tea, coffee and alcohol, as these are diuretic in nature. Drink warm water or spiced tea such as Maharishi Vata tea. This helps to keep the fluid levels up but also keeps that Vata in check.
Apply oil, before, during and after travelling; Oil is the best way to calm Vata. Carry a little 100ml container of oil and mid-flight massage your face, ears, belly, arms and feet. Apply a little oil to your nostrils and ear canals to prevent drying and acts as a barrier for any bugs that may be floating in the air. Applying oil will also nourish the nervous system, settle the mind and promote sleepiness. Black sesame or Almond oil is best.
3. Never Eat Airplane Food
Airplane food (if you can even call it food) is devoid of vitality and nutrients. Combined with impaired digestive function due to the irregular nature and movement of travel, this makes it hard on the body to digest, assimilate and absorb the food, causing toxic build up (called Ama in Ayurvedic medicine).
Try to eat a main meal 1 – 2 hours before travelling and pack something light to eat on the flight such as sweet, juicy fruits. Fruits are ideal as they are high in fiber and water content.
4. Take Triphala
People often become constipated when travelling due to the increased Vata, impaired digestive function and disruption to routine. Taking 2 Triphala capsules at bedtime gently aids bowel movements and tones the colon. Triphala also contains Amalaki, a fruit that contains more vitamin C than citrus! This will help support the immune system to help fight off any bugs you may pick up on the flight.
5. Have a Regular Routine
The more you can keep a routine similar to yours at home, the easier the change will be on your body. When crossing time zones, set your watch to the destination time zone as soon as you get on the plane. Eat your meal when its 12-12.30pm destination time and start preparing for sleep around 10pm. This supports the circadian rhythm (body clock) and will alleviate the effects of jetlag.