Written By Tiffany Nicholson-Smith - March 08 2019
Today, we travel longer distances, more frequently and at higher speeds than ever before. Travel, especially flying, is extremely Vata-Imbalancing. This is why during and after a flight we often feel all the symptoms of increased Air + Ether in our system, including gas, bloating, constipation, dry skin, cognitive fog, spaciness, anxiety, insomnia and jet lag. And if you travel consistently, like I often do, this will not only lead to such temporary imbalances, but can eventually bring about a more serious onset of chronic conditions.
As I travel around the world I have come to realize that there are a few simple and effective Ayurvedic wisdom gems that we can easily implement, which will help mitigate the effects of travel, ensuring that your travels are filled with joy and presence.
Often before traveling we are caught up in the momentum of last minute tasks, finishing up work, packing, racing to organize our lives at home and generally doing everything but resting. We might tell ourselves that our trip or vacation will be one filled with rest, but this is so seldom true due to our excitement to experience a new place, maximize our work output or just generally ditch our usual schedule. Because of this, we can often feel tired and in need of rest during the first days of our travel and this tiredness can imbed, leading to fatigue both during and after traveling. Not fun.
So…Rest & Sleep! For every day of planned travel commit to deep rest and proper sleep for the same amount of days prior to heading off on your journey. For example, if you’re heading off to Costa Rica for a 7-day family vacation, ensure that the 7 days prior to travel are deeply restful.
2. PRE-TRAVEL DIET
Similar to our lack of care around rest, because of pre-travel rush, the few days prior to taking off can unfortunately be the days we often eat less nourishing or quick meals, skip meals or eat up our leftovers,trying to maximize all the things that need to be completed. This can already lead to turbulence in our tummies, which can be further exacerbated by the new foods and the irregular eating schedule we might have during our travels.
Be Nourished! Eat Vata-Pacifying meals at regular timings during the days leading up to your travel, including warm and soothing spices that will keep your Agni (digestive fire) balanced and ready for the journey. In fact, it can be a great idea to begin and end your travels with a Kitchari Cleanse and to take our Adapt To Life Potion daily.
Okay, this may seem redundant, because here at RASA we are always highlighting the importance of Dinacharya, but it’s because it’s so important and effective! If you don’t have a daily routine, start one now and make sure you implement one especially if you are an avid traveller. Dinacharya will make all the difference.
Traveling throws off our internal clock and our circadian rhythm, which can lead to a whole host of challenges. However, if we maintain a daily schedule and stay true to our daily rituals before and during travel, we will notice that we can maintain balance and continue to feel nourished, rested and aligned. Especially highlight nasya, karna purana and abhyanga in your daily rituals.
Drink! But not what you think…
Caffeine and Alcohol during our travels can exacerbate Vata-imbalance, although giving a temporary kick of pleasure, can leave us feeling even more tired and jet-lagged.
Instead, sip on herbal teas like Ginger Tea or our Vata Calming Tea, throughout your travels, especially when in flight. This will keep you hydrated, your digestion happy and balanced, as well as calm the system of stress and anxiety.
One of the easiest ways you can receive the power of plant medicine during travel is through essential oils. I often travel with our Rose Water (spritzing a bit on the face throughout travel), as well as our Lakshmi Sacred Essence which is Vata-Pacifying.
Some of the best essential oils to have with you are:
Peppermint - for digestion and to keep you awake when needed
Tea Tree - as an antiseptic for your hands, cuts, wounds, etc.
Lemon - for car sickness, nausea and to soothe an upset tummy
Frankincense - to boost immunity and relieve stress and anxiety
Vetiver - to aid with sleep
Bergamot - to soothe anxiety and relieve tension
Lavender - to calm, soothe and bring peace
Jatamamsi (Spikenard) - for clarity and peace of mind
Rose - to start and end the day with an alive heart
Eucalyptus - to ward off insects and to clear cold and cough
6. MEDITATION + YOGA
You know all that seeming waiting time that happens during journeys and commutes? It’s the perfect time to catch some Meditation + Yoga sadhana (practice). By maintaining or implementing a practice you will keep many of the bodily systems healthy and balanced, aiding your digestion, keeping the body relaxed and comfortable, settling the nervous system and keeping the mind calm.
There are prayer rooms in many airports and bus/train stations where you can take the opportunity to center and quiet yourself. Or, honestly, why can’t we meditate anytime we’re on the go - on a subway commute, while carpooling (as long as you’re not the driver!), on the plane? This not only helps to maximize your time and fit meditation in the spaces between, but it will inspire those around you as well and it might just lead to spontaneous collective meditations.
Maintaining some conscious practices during your travel makes all the difference and will leave you feeling centered and at peace.
7. TRAVEL DIET
Often during our travels everything shifts and changes, but our diet is usually the biggest place that is affected by change both because of what is available, but also because we treat ourselves. And because our diet is often shifting and oscillating during travel, we find the same irregularity starts to happen in our tummies and our minds!
To avoid this, you might choose to still maintain some regularity in your diet, to find healthful options and to highlight warm, grounding meals especially during travel, which will help to pacify Vata. I also suggest adding our Spice Mixes to your food or taking 1/2 tsp in warm water before meals to keep your digestion tick tock.
8. GROUNDING DAYS
After returning home from travel it is important to give some days to ground, arrive and to let the system assimilate back into life at home. If we hop directly back into work or full engagement we can risk over-exertion, depletion and longterm fatigue.
Instead, take at least a couple of days after long travel to rest and rejuvenate, to stay at home, be quiet, eat nourishing foods and relax.
During this time it is the perfect opportunity to do some restorative yoga which will regulate the nervous system, release any tension in the body and calm the mind…
Try to include the following:
Legs up the Wall
Child’s Pose with a bolster
After travel our digestion and eliminatory systems have taken a toll. Many individuals will suffer from constipation, diarrhea and digestive upset. Help get things back on track and remove any residual waste by taking Triphala, an amazing Ayurvedic formula that combines 3-fruits.
10. GET GOLDEN
To help with jet lag and to promote deep and peaceful sleeps, drink our Golden Milk before bed. In the days after travel I suggest also adding a tbsp of our Adapt to Life Potion or Ashwagandha to your Golden Milk to boost the immunity, increase your vitality, promote rest and sleep and bring you back to your optimal functioning.