I love the inspiration & creativity that comes from travel. From 2006-2011 I travelled... a LOT... I was in Ayurveda school one weekend a month a few hours from our home, advanced Yoga Training had me on a flight to the east coast every other month, there was a stint of weekly travel to the BIG T (a state that shall remain otherwise unnamed) to study Vedic Astrology, a few family visits to the midwest and a few months in India. Well... suffice it to say, I needed some MAJOR travel hacks to prevent the normal issues of well... here's the list - constipation (or loose stools), insomnia, joint pain, anxiety, stress, low appetite, cravings, weight loss (or weight gain for some), diminished immune response, and so on that can accompany travel.
So here they are... my absolute MUST travel Tips based on Ayurvedic knowledge.
These tips are important whether you are on a boat, a car, or a plane... but they are MOST important for air travel, time change and for vata-type folks (those are the bony, skinny, crook'd teeth, dry skin, frizzy hair, highly sensitive types) who tend to be easily thrown off by change, especially travel.
Tip #1 - Hydrate, Oleate, Lubricate!
Air travel in particular is very cooling drying, and can cause bowel irregularity, skin issues, digestive disruption, and join pain. You need hydration and lubrication in both water and viscous forms. We think of the body as being over 70% "water"... but really, that liquidity in the body, isn't exactly water, and much of it is a more viscous or oily texture. In particular, your sensitive mucosa lining on the inside, and the 7 layers of skin on the inside need to be protected and lubricated with both water hydration and oil lubrication (called oleation in ayurveda). So I use the following hacks...
Tip #2 - Stay Regular (yes, I mean poop, but that's not all)
It's extremely important in general to keep with your regularly scheduled programming. This is true all the time, but especially true when you are traveling (though it can be very hard to do!). According to vedic knowledge, each time of day is ruled by specific subtle and sacred qualities, and the more you align with and "plug into" those subtle qualities, the healthier and more vibrant you will be! For example, when the sun is at it's zenith point in the sky (around noon), your internal sun (digestive fire) is also at it's zenith point. For this reason, Ayurveda recommends that, if possible, you eat your main meal of the day (with the heaviest protein, carbohydrate, and yes, even dessert) around noon, making lunch the biggest meal of the day. Although this may not be sustainable for your current life situation, it is an example to help you understand that the movement of the sun influences your internal state.
Based on the natural rhythms of your body and the sun, it's important to eat at regular times, sleep at night, and wake early (with the roosters even) ... so TRY to keep at least 3 things very regular when travel - maybe 1) one of your meal times, 2) your wake up time and 3) your daily herbal tea times. The more you regulate your outer activity, the more you regulate your internal activity, including your metabolism and your poops! Oh yes, and speaking of poop, the week prior to and during your travel, you can amp up your bowel regularity with a good dose of daily probiotics as well as some supportive herbs for digestion (like this one that will improve digestion and decrease gas and bloating) and bowel care (like this one, which is non-habit forming). If you find it difficult to sleep when traveling, it's important to start your bedtime routine a half hour before bed (and try to go to be by 10pm!)... you can turn off the tech, oil massage your feet, drink some chamomile or valerian or jatamamsi tea (here's a great one) and drift off.
Tip #3 - Get Fired Up & Nourished
Your agni (digestive fire and metabolic processes) can get really thrown out of whack when you travel. When this goes out the window, your immune response suffers, as does your sleep, bowel movements, skin and mental state. Keep your inner fire supported and your body nourished by eating warm, cooked, nourishing foods - especially the day before, the day of, and the day after travel... this means
Now... don't be neurotic... if you go to the gelato capitol of the world, you darn well will get some gelato (or even I will role my ayurvedic eyes)... just maybe get cinnamon flavor, or make sure to do some digestive balancing afterwords with some herbs or herbal teas. And if you go to the Caribbean you better eat some raw fruit!
Of course, you want to have FUN when you travel... and it may seem like it's the perfect time to throw your routines and healthy regimens out the window... but this is where the MORE you take care of yourself the more fun you'll be able to have! I mean, how fun is it to be constipated, catch a cold, and have insomnia?! Ultimately these kinds of simple routines of self-care FREE you... so your body and mind don't hold you back and you can truly have the experiences (outside, and inside) you want! Safe travels!
These are general recommendations, but nearly safe and effective for everyone. You can always get more personalized recommendations by learning about your individual constitution through study or a one-on-one consultation.
*Licorice should be avoided during pregnancy. Although some studies have shown it to be beneficial, the general recommendation is that licorice should be avoided by those with high blood pressure.
Yoga Therapist, Ayurvedic Practitioner & Mama - these articles are to support your yoga practice with knowledge and inspiration.