Ayurveda, the Science of Life, has much to offer in the way of cultivating balance both within and around us, day-to-day. And when we break the day-to-day mold and find ourselves exploring a new or different city — we may experience changes within our physiology as well.
Let’s start with the doshas. (Any of these sound like you?)
The Doshas in the Air or on the Road
Vata (governs movement): Due to Vata’s mobile quality, travel and excess movement tends to aggravate and cause imbalance. The imbalances for those who are Vata predominant can be feelings of anxiety, irregular digestion, constipation, and/or trouble sleeping.
Vata governs all movement, including the movement of the other doshas. So imbalance, may manifest in another dominant dosha as well..
Pitta (governs transformation): Road trips, vacations, and even work trips contain the element of surprise: a delayed flight, weather, or road work and detours, the unexpected can upset Pitta. Pitta-predominant people tend to thrive in structured environments, so out of balance they can become controlling, frustrated, irritable, and get stressed if things feel out of their control.
Kapha (governs structure): Ah Kapha, due to the qualities of stable, heavy, and dense, a Kapha-predominant person tends to be more of a homebody and avoid travel all together. However, new sights and experiences are especially good to shake things up for Kapha. Those stable qualities allow Kapha to avert most traveling imbalances. However, those late night heavy meals which are often eaten while traveling can trigger Kapha digestion to become slow and sluggish; and even cause congestion in the sinuses.
How do we cultivate balance while traveling? Try these Behavioral Rasayanas:
· Rest, rest and more rest. Before, during, and after travel.
· Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of warm drinks which support digestion and transformation, avoid ice cold drinks when possible.
· Dress comfortably, loose fitting cotton clothing allows your body to breath and release heat. Travel with a light scarf which can also be used to cover the eyes in reclined relaxation if needed.
· Minimize eating large late-night meals. Aim to eat the largest meal at noontime, when the digestive fire is strongest. Favor lighter, easy to digest dinners.
· Avoid eating heavy, sweet desserts during the Kapha time, 6 p.m.–10 p.m. Take your rich desserts with lunch!
· Hydrate the skin and calm the nervous system with Organic Sesame Oil Abhyanga, self-massage. Coconut Oil for Pitta — before, during, and especially after travel.
· If you experience allergies or often find that you are allergic to new environments, clear the nasal passages with a Neti Pot.
· Exercise: vacations encourage not only exploring new places, but new activities too. If you are stuck between flights, walk around the airport, instead sitting around. Wherever you are traveling, take a class at a local yoga studio, find a new hiking trail, or even spend the afternoon walking around shopping!
· Gentle yoga asanas balance the physiology and help maintain a healthy spine during the rigors of travel. Try modifying your favorite asanas for airplane chair yoga! Or stretch out your legs as you fill your car with gas on a long road trip.
· Practice meditation. If possible, maintain your mediation even while you travel. Riding as a passenger in an airplane or in a car are both great spots for meditation. You may find yourself in a familiar place, even though you are miles from home!
· Digest Tone Triphala Plus: If you tend toward occasional constipation when you travel, this is a great herbal product to try. Triphala is the every-night, overnight detox and digestion balancer, supporting assimilation of nutrients.
· Rose Water Spray: To soothe the skin, spritz Rose Water on the crown of the head, back of the neck, wrists, and bottom of the feet for instant environment change and relief from feeling over-heated.
· Worry Free Tablets: For those who tend to worry while traveling, this is a great product to use on the days before and during travel! Worry Free helps you cope with stressful situations without melting down.
· Worry Free Tea: My travel favorite! This fast-acting tea helps balance and calm your mind, emotions, brain and nerves. Travel with a travel mug and stock your bag with Worry Free teabags. Most airport coffeeshops or gas stations on the road have hot water, so you can brew up a cup of calm wherever you go.
· Organic Pitta Tea: A delicious combination of fragrant Rose Petals and refreshing spices, Organic Pitta Tea is the perfect answer when travel problems make you feel intense or frustrated. Take warm or cool.
· Kapha Tea: Great for soothing the stomach and sinuses after indulging in Kapha-rich treats and sweets.
· Ashwagandha: Supports resistance to stress, promotes stamina and energy, and promotes general well-being. One of my favorite herbal combinations is Ashwagandha + Worry Free :)
· Deep Rest: Support deep sleep for those who have difficulty staying asleep and wake up in the middle of the night.
· Stress Free Emotions: Do you get angry at situations out of your control while traveling? Stress Free Emotions supports natural resistance to emotional stress and fatigue.