Balanced travels with Ayurveda
I sometimes take as many as 6 flights and trains a week for work. I know, it’s not ideal for the environment, for my health, sanity, nor is it a sustainable way to live. Sometimes though, we do need to move our bodies. After all that’s what we humans do - we move things. A wise teacher once helped me shine some light on that, and upon reflection, I have to agree. We move things to build bigger things, to eat, to thrive, to give and receive, or we move us.
When we travel the Vata dosha, or the air element and subtle energies in us are affected. The qualities of Vata are then increased, and so our bodies become frail, dry, light and sometimes our mind get disoriented, scattered and distracted.
Both on the outside (our skin, nails and air get dry and frail) and on the inside (constipation, gassiness and internal dryness) is common. This does not only happen when we physically travel. When we have an overload of impressions, watch a flickering screen for hours at the time or talk excessively, Vata dosha is affected. Put in a simple way, modern life dries us out.
There is hope
When I got back from New York last November I pleasantly discovered I didn’t have Jetlag this time around. Lucky to have found ways to balance my body, I’m looking forward to sharing my tips with you! With simple measures, you can recover swiftly and imbalance won’t have time to creep in. This is how I do it:
I prepare food. Make sure you pack food for your trip, ideally a warm meal in a thermos. When we travel our digestion is compromised, so make it easy for your body. A kitchadi is a wonderful idea, find the recipe here. If you’re flying make sure you don’t make it too watery. I learned this painful lesson when I once had to throw away my food for this reason. Instead, make it thicker, keep it as warm as you can, and then add on hot water on the plane or from a coffee shop. “I have a special diet“ are the magic words used to charm the airport security to allow you bring your precious through. Another option is to make love loaf, recipe is to be found here. It stores well for long travels and help me ground.
If you are buying food, look for warm soups, stews, teas and grounding grains with spices added to them. I found miso at Heathrow airport when I got back from Hawaii and it was a life saver! Bring a thermos and fill it up with hot or warm water when you get a chance. Warm foods and drinks are easier to digest, so they will be lighter on your Agni (digestive fire) and help it stay strong.
Are you familliar with the Ayurvedic saying “Like attracts like, and the oppostie brings balance“? Prepare your body with the opposite of dry - practice abhyanga (self oil massage) and lubricate your body before the travel. This way your skin stays lubricated, protected and you are more likely to stay hydrated on the inside too. Bring a 100 ml jar of ghee and add some to your food to stay lubricated on the inside too.
Adjust to the time zone you’re traveling to the moment you board your first flight, train, buss or other mode of transport. Will you arrive in the evening? Don’t sleep on that flight! Will you arrive in the morning? Do your best to get as much sleep as you possibly can. This really is key.
Upon arrival make sure you have time to practice abhyanga again. Ideally the same day. This does not only have physical benefits, it’s also a great way to ground and reconnect with yourself in silence. Make space for it.
Stay awake. This might sound strange when you’re tired and used to take naps, but the sooner you get back into your rhythm, the better. Go to bed early, ideally before 10 pm instead of sleeping during the day, and enjoy a quiet morning alone if you end up waking up a bit too early.
Be gentle with yourself. Sometimes things don’t go our way and life doesn’t happen the way we planned. Let it go. Breathe. Smile at yourself and the part of you who wants to be in charge of everything.
If you want to learn how to practice abhyanga, send me a message here and I’ll get in touch with instructions. You can also book a free 15 min consultation below to learn more about how you can find tools to support your overall health.
I hope this is helpful to you! I would love to hear what you would like to read about in future blog posts. I have loads to share and will continue to share what has helped me, hopefully, you find tools and support though my experiences.