Holiday Travel Advice from Maharishi AyurVeda
Holidays are a welcome break from the routine of work and daily responsibilities.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi often said that routines, though necessary to create order in life, tend to cramp our creativity. Our innate and infinite capacity for creativity becomes limited and narrowed by the normal routines of work and daily life. We have a deep instinctive longing to break the predictable and mind-narrowing activities we are often involved in, and the idea of travelling to a different place feeds into that instinct. After all, we have the saying that ‘travel broadens the mind’.
Yet there is another side of travelling – it can be exhausting and stressful.
By following a few simple Ayurvedic guidelines you can counterbalance the effects of air and road journeys, climate and time-zone changes and the resulting disruptions to your diet, sleep and daily routine.
WHAT IMBALANCES ARE CAUSED BY TRAVEL?
- When you sit in the same position for long periods, the normal elimination and detoxification process of the body is disturbed. Too much sitting, without breaks for stretches and walks, blocks Apana Vata, the downward flow of energy responsible for the elimination of waste and toxins.
- Travelling in fast-moving vehicles disturbs Vata Dosha in the brain and nervous system, which leads to mental and emotional imbalance.
- Although one of the major points of holidays is to get a break from your normal, irregular routines do tend to disturb Vata and thereby mental and emotional balance.
- Irregular meals and bedtimes disturb digestion, elimination and sleep, especially in those whose Vata is easily put out of balance.
PREPARING FOR YOUR JOURNEY
Vata Dosha governs the principle of movement.
When we experience a lot of movement, for instance when we go on a long journey, Vata gets disturbed. What will really help settle Vata is having a regular daily routine during the week immediately before setting off.
Other things that will help are:
- Allow plenty of time and plan your travel in advance so that nothing is rushed on the day you depart. Leaving things till the last minute is a Vata upsetting recipe.
- Make sure you are well-rested before the journey. For several nights before you set off, try getting to bed before 10 pm.
- Start the journey feeling relaxed. Rise early on the morning of the journey, have a warm oil massage, have a warm bath or shower, do some yoga asanas and practice meditation.
- Drink at least once mug of warm water first thing in the morning, and continue this practice throughout out your holiday.
- Eat lightly before you set off. Your digestive fire will naturally become weaker while travelling, so don’t over-burden your stomach.
- Taking some Maharishi Amrit Kalash Rasayana will support your vitality and natural immunity.
- When it comes to soaps and shampoos, pack the soothing Vata-balancing or cooling Pitta-balancing varieties.
DURING YOUR JOURNEY
The period of travel is often the most Vata-disturbing portion of any holiday and a time when judgement can sometimes become lost.
The temptation is often to go for sugary sweets and heavy foods to help settle down Vata Dosha. But such foods can also cause their own problems.
- Avoid cold, heavy foods and eat fresh fruit and other foods that are easy to digest.
- Sip hot water throughout the day.
- If it is practical, take a flask of Vata Tea, otherwise, take some Vata Tea bags with you and ask for hot water from the flight attendant or waiter.
- Avoid stimulants like tea or coffee, especially if the weather is hot.
- While on a plane or train journey, every 20 minutes take a walk, have a good stretch and practice deep breathing to get extra oxygen and prana into your system.
- If you are driving, stop every two hours and take a ten-minute walk.
- The recycled pressurised air inside a plane tends to dry your skin and create Vata imbalances. Splashing your face from time to time with water will help.
- Listening to Maharishi Gandharva Veda music will help you relax.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
- Don’t immediately dive into heavy foods upon arrival, as your digestive fire will still be going through adjustments. Eat light nourishing food for at least your first meal.
- Make sure you have a good rest after the journey.
- Travel tends to create a drying, Vata effect on your body. To replenish moisture levels, drink plenty of warm water through the day.
- Give yourself an oil massage the morning after arrival to enhance circulation and soothe your mind and emotions.
- Elimination is important at this point. Use the toilet regularly. To help balance your elimination, take Triphala with Rose every evening before bed.
- Don’t forget a sun hat if the weather is hot.
AT YOUR ACCOMMODATION
- Diffuse a few drops of soothing Vata Aroma Oil in your room.
- Play Maharishi Gandharva Veda music. To have the maximum settling effect these melodies should be appropriate for the time of day. The evening melodies (7 pm – 10 pm) and the morning melodies (7 am – 10 am) are very popular.
- Peace at Night Tea is excellent if you have trouble settling down to sleep.
- Don’t overdo the alcohol and avoid all fizzy drinks (which are usually full of fructose which will spike your blood sugar levels and is associated with many health problems).
- To help your digestion, take small portions and eat slowly.
- Eat plenty of sweet juicy fruits.
- Avoid too many salty foods as this can cause water retention and swollen ankles.
- Try to be regular with your meal times, and avoid dining when it gets dark – digestion slows as the sun goes down.
- If your digestion becomes out of balance, try Herbal Di-Gest. If you have acid-stomach, take Aci-Balance.
Early to bed and early to rise is a major health tip from Ayurveda and this maxim is true for getting the most enjoyment out of your holiday. Early nights give you better sleep and a fresh start to the day. They will also help your digestion, so you can better enjoy the next day’s meals.
ENJOY THE TRAVEL EXPERIENCE
Travel, whether it be for holidays or business, can be a pleasurable experience in itself. Seeing new places, meeting new people, tasting different cuisine and just having a break from your normal routine, are all part of this pleasure.
Just make sure you are relaxed and rested and this will enhance your flow of enjoyment.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this document is presented for the sole purpose of imparting education on Maharishi AyurVeda and neither the information nor the products are intended to diagnose, treat, mitigate, cure or prevent any disease. If you have a medical condition or are pregnant or lactating, please consult a health professional and it is recommended that you speak with your physician before making significant changes to your diet or routine.