Traveling Light: Ayurvedic wisdom for your holiday journey

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The holidays are here and for many of us that means some sort of journey is about to take place.

Traveling in general, is often a stressful experience.

Add a heaping dose of family, presents, home away prep and all the other people trying to get out of town and whoa…cue the anxiety.

The un-grounding, uprooting nature of a journey from one place to another, naturally vitiates (increases) the qualities of Vata Dosha (air). Excess Vata in the mind typically results in anxiety and frustration - in the body it manifests as dryness of the internal and external organs.

If you're constitution is dominantly Vata, it is especially important to take care of yourself before, during and after a trip. 

Whether driving or flying to your holiday destination, these Ayurveda travel tips are designed to help bring balance and ease to your mind + body, allowing you to travel lightly within your entire being on whatever journey you take.

Travel in balance!


|| Before you leave ||

Mind: PREPARE! There's nothing worse than rushing around with last-minute tasks before a trip. Avoid as much of this self-inflicted frenzy as possible.

Body: Oil up! 

  1. Massage organic sesame oil onto clean soles of your feet and scalp the night before travel. Cover head with a towel overnight.

  2. Self-Abhyanga: Massage warmed organic sesame oil over entire body and sit in warm bath for 20 minutes the night before travel and again once you arrive at your destination. 

3. Ginger is the magic herb for travel – “universal medicine” for digestion and reduces jet lag. Pick up some organic ginger tea to take with you and sip throughout the journey. Gin-gins {chewy ginger candies} are also great to have in case of upset stomach.

4. Bring a scarf. Stay warmer than you think necessary. 


|| During the Journey ||

First, off...slow down! Typically, traveling makes us move even faster than we usually do to catch flights, beat traffic, avoid lines, etc. However, this is a particularly important time to remember to slow down your internal pace.

Walk at a more leisurely pace, practice more patience when driving, and take the time to enjoy the journey! 

Mind: Mantra, mantra, mantra! If there's ever a time to start practicing some positive self talk, it's when you uproot from a place or situation in life. Creating a short, memorable script to use in times of stress is a powerful way to channel an anxious mind. 

Here is a mantra I like to use while traveling:

I am grounded and calm. I have everything I need, right here with me. I am safe, I am present, I am at ease. (Repeat internally continuously)

Body:

  • Prepare to eat lightly or even try fasting during your journey. 
  • Avoid dry, cold, crunchy snacks and meals. Choose warm, moist and grounding foods like soup with root vegetables, rice and veggies, or noodle soups.
  • Avoid over consumption of caffeine and sugar.
  •  If digestion is upset: Do not eat any raw food on the day of travel or at all during your trip            
  • Stay well hydrated; always have a bottle of room temperature water with lemon at hand. Sip hot ginger tea or hot water with lemon whenever possible.

 

Yoga | If your body is talking to you in the middle of the journey, it's time to give it a little attention. Try these easy yoga poses to relieve travel induced aches and pains.

<< Standing Pigeon Pose >>

 Find a chair or bench back and stand facing it. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh, and flex your right foot to activate your leg muscles and protect the knee. Sink your hips down into a squat, and extend your arms in front of you, holding on to the chair back for balance. Hold this hip-opening pose for five breaths before rising back up and repeating on the opposite leg.

<< Standing Forward Fold >>

 Stand with your feet hips width apart (2 fists distance). Soften your knees and let your upper body fold forward. Let your head and arms dangle towards the earth. Take 10 deep breaths and work to relax your body from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. Roll up slowly on an inhale and stand tall on the exhale, to avoid dizziness.


|| When you arrive ||

Nadi Shodhana | Alternate Nostril Breathing 

Nadi Shodhana | Alternate Nostril Breathing 

Mind: Nadi Shodhana, also known as alternate nostril breathing, is a yogic technique used to bring balance to the right and left-yin and yang-energies of our being. A great practice to do before your hit the hay at night. Simply sit or lie down somewhere comfortable. Take your right thumb and hold your right nostril closed. Inhale, through the left nostril. Release your thumb and close the left nostril with your pointer finger. Exhale, out the right side. Now, inhale right, exhale left. Repeat for 10 cycles of breath.

Leg up the wall

Body: A nourishing, grounding and calming pose, Viparita Karani, or legs up the wall pose, is a great way to end a long day of travel. Simply find a wall, scoot your hips to the baseboard and gently lift your legs up, creating an "L" shape with the floor. If you need extra support for your low back, place a sturdy pillow underneath your hips. Now, take a deep breath and relax. Surrender to the earth beneath you, feel your heartbeat easy in your chest, release the days events and smile. You made it!

Happy Holidays!