As someone who is frequently on the go, I have developed my top travel tips to maintain vitality on the road using the wisdom of Ayurveda. These simple yet life-saving practices help me stabilize the body during times of change—changing location, time zones, routines, and more.
From the perspective of Ayurveda, the energy of change is related to the dosha vata (connected to the air and ether/space elements). The qualities of vata are dry, light, cold, rough, and mobile. Focusing on balance through ritual and routine allows me to enjoy my travels.
Top 10 travel tips to enrich the traveling experience:
1. Give yourself time.
When booking a flight or trip allow extra time for travel issues, physical movement, and bathroom breaks. For layovers, keep a window of time open (one to one-and-a-half hours) to cushion those pesky delays that can produce anxiety and emotional upheaval.
Drink plenty before, during, and after a flight. Hydrate well when driving long distances. Pre-game hydration plus being aware of liquid intake during the first day of travel are crucial practices to keep the dry-mobile qualities of travel at bay.
Bring portable drinks in the car. (I love coconut water and turmeric drinks.) Dehydration can accelerate and exacerbate the vata dosha and can increase constipation. Sip warm water with lemon as often as possible, drink fresh veggie juices, and eat soup to restore water levels.
3. Balance your doshas.
The Ayurvedic herbal combination triphala is a mainstay that balances all of the doshas or energies of the body. If you know you are prone to travel-related constipation, add some psyllium seeds to your routine a couple days before you get on the road.
4. Use the bathroom when needed.
If you’re tempted to refrain from drinking to avoid pit stops, well, this isn’t helpful for maintaining balance. According to Ayurveda, don’t hold any outflowing “movement” … in.
5. Wear soft, comfortable, non-synthetic clothing.
This allows your skin to breathe and is easy to sit in for long periods of time. Vata likes to feel just right. When flying, pack your carry-on with comfortable goodies. Some of my favorites include: two to three ounces of sesame oil, lavender essential oil, a scarf, extra socks, a blanket-type wrap or soft coat to keep warm, eye shield or cover, and/or headphones.
6. Abstain on the plane.
Drinking alcohol when traveling can increase dehydration and further disturb the already erratic energy of the vata dosha. I know the free booze on some flights is tempting or you may want a drink to fall asleep, but it can wreak havoc on your system and can set off insomnia or 2am wake-ups.
7. Live in the zone.
Plan your life based on the time zone you are in rather than continually comparing the present moment from your time zone back home. Be in the HERE and NOW. (Whatever happens in this time zone stays in this time zone too!).
8. Settle in.
When you arrive to your destination, settle in, unpack, organize, and adjust to new surroundings. Connect with a short walk.
9. Practice pranayama.
Pranayama, or breathing practices (some of the classic practices include bhastrika, kapalabhati, or annulovilloma) in the morning or gentle or yin yoga before bed counterpose the sedentary sitting and nervous system stimulating nature of traveling.
10. Take a bath!
A relaxing hot epsom salt bath relieves muscular aches. Combine this with a bit of self-massage (abhyanga) with warm oils for a nourishing spa treatment on the go to promote a restful night and welcome the new time zone.
When you incorporate any of these simple travel tips on the go, they can set the tone for the entire trip so you enjoy ease in movement and be refreshed whether you are traveling for work, for fun, or both.
Helena Zera RN, E-RYT 500 is a nurse, Ayurvoga Consultant, and Polarity Therapist who teaches workshops in Embodying the Female Pelvis and trainings using her invention, the HastaPada strap.