Ayurvedic Tips for Holiday Travel
At last, we can go on proper holidays again – maybe even abroad!
The mere thought of holidays is a real psychological boost – even more so this year, after the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
Yet, remember those traffic jams, long delays, cancelled flights, unpredictable weather and being back in amongst crowds again. Holiday travelling can easily become miserable. Yet, getting away from it all, doing something new and having a real break from the routine and familiar is what makes a holiday so special.
What we need is the travel part of our vacation to be as stress-free as possible. Once you understand the imbalances travel creates, you can take steps to protect yourself and reduce travel stress.
What imbalances are caused by travel
Vata dosha controls all movements in our body from breath moving in and out of the lungs, to the circulation of blood, to nourishment finding its way into the cells. Yet, when we experience lots of movement, as in long car rides and plane journeys, Vata and other doshas can go out of balance.
When we travel long distances:
- Vata becomes over-stimulated, and this can lead to discomfort.
- Travelling in fast-moving vehicles and an unpredictable routine aggravates a sub-dosha of Vata called Prana Vata, which controls our mental and emotional balance.
- Continuous sitting disturbs Apana Vata, which controls the downward movements of elimination and purification. This can lead to irregular bowel movements.
- Pitta dosha controls heat and its sub-dosha, Pachaka Pitta, is responsible for digestion. Pachaka Pitta, and subsequently our digestion, can get disrupted by an irregular schedule of meals and sleep.
How to stay balanced
For at least a week before travelling:
Stick to a regular routine. This will keep Vata in balance before you begin your journey and help you cope with stress, time pressure, and unpredictability and many demands that travel brings. This means:
- Eating your meals at about the same times each day, with lunch being mid-day and supper about three hours before bed.
- Be in bed by 10 pm and get an adequate amount of sleep.
- Plan tasks in advance so you hurry around less.
Eat Vata and Pitta pacifying meals:
- An excellent lunchtime beverage is a sweet lassi.
- Avoid extremely sour foods such as pickles and vinegar and very spicy foods, such as hot chilli peppers.
- Eat plenty of sweet juicy fruits, warm milk blended with Organic Almond Energy Drink, light proteins such as mung dal and basmati rice.
- Click on the following links for specific dietary and lifestyle guidelines: Vata dosha and Pitta dosha.
Give yourself a daily oil massage for at least a week before your travels, using Vata Massage Oil.
Follow the massage with a hot shower or bath. Use soap only on the areas where you really need to and towel off excess oil from the rest of your body – this allows your skin to keep absorbing the oil for longer.
Oil massage helps boost circulation, enhances your mind/body connection, keeps the skin lubricated and tones the muscles. Sitting for hours in cramped places creates aches, pains and stiffness and this oiling regime will help minimise this. Also, you will find your resilience and energy levels become higher.
Bedtime scalp and head massage using Vata Massage Oil at least three times a week can also be very helpful:
- Gently warm a couple of teaspoons of the oil (those with longer hair may need more).
- The oil should be warm and not uncomfortably hot.
- Pour the oil on your palm and apply it evenly all over the scalp and the back of the neck, close to the hairline. Using your fingertips, gently massage the oil into the scalp, working the oil in for about 4-5 minutes.
- Ideally, the oil should be left on overnight (use a shower cap or towel to protect your bed linen). Then shampoo and rinse off the next morning.
- If leaving the oil on overnight is impractical, leave it on for 2-3 hours before shampooing and rinsing.
Boost your resilience:
Constipation is common when travelling. To ensure regular elimination, before your travels eat cooked prunes and figs at breakfast for a week or so.
The build-up of toxic matter (ama) from incomplete digestion is the underlying cause of most physical disorders and discomforts. So, make sure that digestive waste is regularly flushed from your system. Make sure you have a flask of hot water with you during the day and, if you experience occasional constipation, take Herbal Cleanse capsules.
Strong digestion is important for assimilating all the new sights, sounds and foods on your travels. Herbal Digest tablets help keep digestion at its best. If you tend to experience excess stomach acid, take Herbal Aci-Balance.
Drink Organic Vata Tea or Take it Easy (Peace of Mind) Tea. These herbal teas are specially formulated to pacify Vata-related imbalances. Avoid carbonated or ice-cold beverages, because they disrupt digestion. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.
Eat fresh fruit and light, easy-to-digest foods. These will help balance both Vata and Pitta. Avoid fast food or heavy, hard-to-digest foods.
If you tend to feel nausea while travelling, take some fresh ginger with you – chewing it really settles the stomach. You can also take a flask of ginger tea or Organic Vata Tea and sip it occasionally during the journey. Research has shown that ginger can help prevent motion sickness.
When you arrive back from your travels, drink lots of warm water throughout the day to replenish moisture levels and cleanse the channels of the body.
- Eat light, nourishing foods such as mung dal soup and quinoa for a few days to allow your digestion to adjust.
- Continue with Organic Vata Tea or Take it Easy (Peace of Mind) Tea – two or three cups a day.
- A daily massage will enhance circulation and re-establish calm in the mind and nervous system.
- And catch up on rest.