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Hit the High Road

Ayurvedic Travel Tips

Air travel may be one of modern society’s greatest inventions, but like many new-age technologies, high-speed travel can cause subtle health imbalances. Travel, by definition, aggravates Vata dosha, the wind principal in Ayurvedic medicine. 

Travel is movement; air travel in particular (with radiation exposure and high-speed travel through space) severely increases Vata. The dry, recirculated air in the cabin of the plane wreaks havoc on the Vata dosha as well. Here are several handy tips that will keep you feeling firmly grounded, no matter what your Ayurvedic constitution, even at 30,000 feet.

Ayurvedic Massage Before You Leave Home
Prepare for travel before leaving your house. This is the perfect time for abhyanga—warm oil self-massage. Heat up some lovely sesame oil, or a specific Vata oil, and work it all over the body before stepping into a warm shower or bath. Warm oil is a fantastic Vata antidote. The warm, heavy, viscous qualities counteract the dry and windy Vata dosha. Not only does this practice feel great, it also grounds the nervous system and moisturizes the skin.

Ayurvedic Foods For Grounding
It’s very important to have a solid meal before traveling. Warm, whole grains, cooked root vegetables and ghee are perfect for nourishing Vata. Bring plenty of water and snacks for the trip. Drink lots of water throughout the entire trip. Your Vata and your skin will thank you later. Try to skip the caffeine as well -- it’s dehydrating, so it increases Vata.

At the airport, the only innocuous foods you might find are unsalted nuts, fruit and vegetable soup. On the flight, if offered snacks, it’s best to refuse; salt, sugar and MSG are all serious Vata aggravators.

In-Flight Yoga
Try to take a nap on the plane. Not only does the time fly by more quickly, but it also allows your nervous system to be refreshed. Practice yogic breathing…just focusing on your breath for 10-15 minutes does wonders for keeping the prana in the body smoothly flowing.

Listen to meditation music or inspirational talks on your mP3 during the flight. When the seat belt sign goes off, take the opportunity to do a little stretching in the back of the plane. You can practice mountain and tree poses without taking up much room; or do some shoulder shrugs in your seat. By the time you arrive at your destination, you’ll feel connected, grounded and inspired.

Sharada Hall
Doctor of Oriental Medicine, Ayurvedic Practitioner
Ayurveda and Vata Dosha

For a few yogic travel tips watch the Food & Flow video Get Outta Town.

Recommended: The Indian Spa - Ayurveda Yoga Wellness Beauty by Kim Inglis


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