17 Tips For Balance During Summer Travel
Traveling and the 3 Doshas or Body Types – Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Typically when I travel, I notice that I start to feel a bit overwhelmed with my growing to do list. I love exploring new places, but dread getting ready as I become a crazed, stressed out version of myself. My Vata quickly gets out of whack, meaning I don’t sleep well and easily feel agitated. This effects my decision making abilities as well, and I end up packing too much, which I typically regret when I’m actually at my destination. Does this sound like you too? Well, you may be Vata in nature of have a Vata imbalance.
Now a Pitta person, on the other hand, compiles checklists months before their trip, complete with color-coded tabs and a detailed itinerary. Due to my du
al dosha nature of both Pitta and Vata, I can easily find myself here too, depending if the wind is blowing stronger (Vata nature) or the fire is burning brighter (Pitta nature). While Pitta is super organized, they tend to over organize and plan, which leaves little room for flexibility. In the best case scenario, a Pitta person will initially put those organizational skills to good use, but then “let go,” and leave room for spontaneous adventures as well.
I personally don’t have many Kapha tendencies within me as Kapha people tend to take it slow and easy, not stressing over the whole ordeal. They will slowly and methodically plan for a trip, possibly procrastinating, but once they get going, they will finish prepping. While kapha’s are typically home bodies and the least inclined to seek out travel, it can be the easiest on them, as they have a strong, earthy nature that don’t get scattered like Vata, or burned out like Pitta.
Regardless of your dosha, we can all benefit from the below travel tips. You can bet that I am following them right as I count down the days to my epic adventure in Iceland! My husband and I will be driving camper vans around the country with another couple to explore Iceland’s bountiful and rugged nature!
(Curious about your dosha? Click here for details on a personal consultation)
Before you leave:
- Eat foods prepared with plenty of ghee and/or sesame oil to combat dry plane air and travel.
- Start proactively taking additional immune support herbs a week prior, including Vitamin C, especially if you are traveling to a different climate.
On the Flight
- Drink warm water or ginger tea while in the air – You can also alternate between warm and room temperature water, being sure to drink about a cup of water for every hour in the air, as the plane air is super dehydrating. Avoid cold or bubbly drinks, alcohol and coffee (all dehydrating). Instead of coffee, drink ginger tea (bring the tea bags with you) to stay warm, grounded and healthy.
- Spritz your face with essential oil infused water. I like using a few drops of lavender in my spritzer. This will not only hydrate your skin, but help to keep you relaxed. Make sure that your spritzer is 2 ounces or under to comply with TSA regulations.
- Nasya Oil– Dryness is a common issue during travel. Lubricating the sinuses, or performing nasya, is a helpful and soothing. Apply Nasya Oil (1-2 drops in each nostril) at least once during your flight. Sniff the oil into each nostril to maintain nasal health and lubricate the nasal passages. Nasya can also help support mental clarity and energy during and after travel.
- Eat warm, moist foodsduring the trip and when arriving at your destination. Avoid cold, dry foods which can create dryness in the body, as well as anxiety.
- Flying can cause sinus pressure to build: To help, press gently under the eyes from inside to outside, massage the base of the ears in slow circular motions, and use revolving pressure on the temples with fingertips. Again, deep breathing helps keep the nasal passages open.
- Focus on your breath and quiet your mind during take-off and landing to reduce anxiety and calm Vata during the transitions in and out of the air. Take long slow and deep nasal breaths and gently allow your awareness to focus on your breath.
- Walk around during the flight and find a spot to stretch, essential for your circulation and for preventing thrombosis in your legs. (Consider compression socks as well.)
- Other items to use during flight:
- Eye mask to block out light when sleeping
- Eye drops for dry eyes
- Ginger capsules to help with motion sickness and jet lag (take numerous times during the flight)
- Small jar of lotion (2 oz.) for face
- Travel pillow for comfort
- Take herbs for balance throughout your trip (linked below)
- Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is one of the classic adaptogens that helps the body cope with stress and travel. It can balance stress-fighting hormones and is classified as one of the few brain-derived neurotropic factors (BDNF’s) that support brain cell production. Take ashwagandha before, during, and after your flight to support your health, immune system and nervous system.
- Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) is another BDNF that has been shown to help the body reconnect with the circadian rhythms that are disturbed when traveling. Bacopa has an affinity for relaxing tension throughout the system, making it an invaluable ally in tension-related conditions such as congested and slow-moving bowels, muscle tightness, menstrual discomfort and trouble sleeping.
- Triphala – Occasional travelers’ constipation is typically a result of a travel-related Vata imbalance that causes dryness. We now know that travel disturbs the circadian rhythms of digestion. Taking triphala during travel and for a couple of days after you arrive is a great way to avoid occasional constipation and help get the body back on schedule.
- Immune formula (listed on #2)
- Enjoy an oilabhyanga (self-massage) once you arrive and settle in. First, plan to rest and take a warm bath or shower. While in the shower or after, give yourself a massage withoil and even put a few drops of the oil in your ears and nose. You can also gargle with it (oil pulling). These practices help to balance the Vata or the stress on the nervous system and regulate the circadian clock during travel.
- Continue to eat warm, cooked foods for a couple of days until you are over jet lag. Choose what is local to the area that you are visiting if possible.
Here are a few more of general tips that I also follow:
- Travel with a few essential oils like lavender for relaxation and calm, peppermint for alertness, and perhaps jasmine which is soothing for both Vata and Pitta.
- If you have a morning routine like I do of journaling and meditating, absolutely keep that up. More than ever, it will help you to maintain balance and calm. At times I’ve tended to let this go (especially on travel days) and have regretted it.
- Pack at least three days in advance (more if possible), especially if the hustle and bustle of prepping for a trip activates a sensitive nervous system.
- Keep the evening prior to traveling as mellow as possible, eating a warm meal, taking a bath and going to bed early.
By following these tips, you’ll be in optimal shape both physically and mentally to fulling embrace the wondera of traveling.
Product Spotlight: I Travel Well (includes many of the herbs listed above)
I Travel Well supports the body’s natural adaptive mechanisms to keep your body and mind functioning optimally throughout your journey. It helps reestablish healthy sleep patterns as well as supports the immune, respiratory, and nervous systems. It also works to maintain digestion and eliminate the natural toxins that can accumulate due to an irregular diet and schedule.
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