Simple Ways to Keep Your Doshas Balanced While Traveling
The season has come when we are more mobile, we have a couple of destinations down on the bucket list or even have tickets booked to an exotic destination. Summer is a time for holidays and travel. And with travel, the airy Vata Dosha can get out of balance and cause some havoc on your sweet time away from home. But what are some simple ways to keep the doshas balanced while traveling?
Vata, the elementally elusive dosha according to Ayurveda, can turn even the most tranquil journey into a chaotic expedition. Whether you’re taking a short trip or embarking on a globetrotting adventure, maintaining balance is key to ward off the unwelcome travel ailments that can spoil the wanderlust spirit.
So, before you hop on that plane or embark on a road trip, equip yourself with these Ayurvedic tips to restore balance and embrace the journey at its fullest, without compromising your mental or physical well-being.
Ayurvedic Practices for Travel
In the world of wellness, the ancient practice of Ayurveda has emerged as a beacon of profound wisdom, offering a versatile array of rituals to restore balance and forge a deep connection with the self. From the cacophony of chaotic modern life, Ayurveda seeks to guide us toward balance, gently unraveling the complexities that disrupt our inner harmony.
As travelers, we wander far and wide, traversing the globe in pursuit of adventure, or just some relaxation on a lounge chair with a cooling drink in hand, away from the roar of the city. Either way, a lingering question often arises—how can one maintain their well-being during the actual trip?
That’s where Ayurveda comes in to offer a couple of tips that you can use to ward off any unpleasant Vata imbalances this season. Layered in tradition and guided by an intricate understanding of the human body, Ayurveda makes sure you have various rituals handy that are designed to nourish, heal, and rejuvenate. Consider this your self-care pack to-go, if you will.
Understanding Vata Dosha: Balance and Imbalances Explained
When it comes to travel balance, Ayurveda provides valuable insights. You know by now the impact dosha imbalances can have on your physical and mental well-being. Vata is the key dosha responsible for movement and is, therefore, easily disrupted by travel. The shift of energy and the extra movement that comes along can lead to various imbalances in the body. Understanding Vata is crucial to restoring balance and reducing the effects of jet lag and changing environments.
While it’s true that all doshas can show signs of imbalance, you will most probably recognize the most common symptoms of an aggravated Vata during travel: insomnia, gas, constipation, lower immunity, or dryness. Sounds familiar, right? Who hasn’t experienced, at least once, trouble with elimination during a holiday? Or extra dry skin and eyes? Or indigestion and heartburn (I’m looking at you, Pitta)?
Ayurvedic tips for maintaining Vata balance include sticking to a routine, staying hydrated, practicing grounding exercises, and incorporating nourishing foods into your diet. By following these rituals, you can overcome disruptions and enjoy all the wonderful aspects of a balanced Vata Dosha: inspiration, free motion of creativity, and fresh perspectives.
Vata Dosha needs stability and keeping to a routine can give it just that. Now, I know it’s difficult to keep to a routine while on holiday, so try to set yourself up for success early in the preparation stage. Pack your tongue scraper together with your toothbrush, pack your dry brush, always start your day with a glass of warm water (most hotels have water cookers but you can also ask for it with breakfast), make time for your meditation practice or just take a couple of moments to yourself in the morning and before going to bed to calm down the overly active nervous system.
Often overlooked when traveling, keeping hydrated is vital to keeping balanced on the go. Make sure to have a bottle of water to take with you on the road, and drink lots of water the day before going on holiday. Keeping hydrated will also help you fight against constipation and gas.
Tip: to increase digestive capacity, make sure you only drink warm (or room-temperature) water. Cold beverages tend to diminish the digestive fire, causing poor digestion.
The digestive power of ginger
This one’s a great way to support your digestion, and also easy to pack and take with you. I usually put a couple of pieces of ginger root in my water bottle that I have handy on the journey. At the destination, I like to pick up fresh ginger root at the local supermarket (also pairs well with a quick discovery trip of the neighborhood) and add it to my warm water in the morning. Ginger is an appetizer and a digestive, meaning it is a great supporter of digestive health. At the same time, it has carminative properties, which help with bloating and gas.
Tip: ginger tea bags are a good substitute for fresh ginger if you are traveling.
Whether it’s a part of your daily routine or not, dry brushing is very beneficial also when traveling. It helps move lymph and support the detoxification process, which is a good way to revitalize the body and mind. Furthermore, it supports the flow of prana, leaving you energized and ready for the day. I have tried my fair share of dry brushes and finally, I came across the one from GingerChi, which happens to be the perfect travel companion. It comes with a small pouch and you can easily bring it along in your luggage.
Oils, oils, oils
Be it for self-massage, to clear the mind, or to invigorate the senses, oils are a great help when traveling. I always bring along my Osi Oils Nasal Drops as part of my daily routine as well as to fight flight congestion. What also helps against nasal congestion, especially if you are a Kapha, is putting a couple of drops of eucalyptus or mint on your pulse point. If you are predominantly Pitta, bring along rose oil (or rose water) to cool you down, and for Vata lavender oil to keep you grounded and calm.
Be mindful of your eating
If you’re anything like me, eating habits can easily go right out the window the minute you touch down in another country. I love to experiment and I love to get to know the local culture through food. It’s exhilarating to smell all the new aromas and try all types of flavour and food combinations, but, more often than not, my gut is not pleased with me when that happens.
Therefore, I need to remind myself of a couple of simple rules to avoid an irritable gut, constipation, bloating, and other digestive issues.
- Avoid overeating – while very tempting, try to be mindful of when you are feeling full and don’t overeat. Always try to take a short 10-15 min walk after eating to encourage the digestive process
- Eat slowly – don’t rush through your meal, that way you give your gut the time to signal your brain when you have had enough. This way you can avoid overeating and you are actually supporting the digestive process, instead of overcharging it.
- Avoid cold drinks – cold drinks are the digestive fire’s worst enemy. Try to substitute them for room-temperature beverages if possible.
- Be adventurous with food, but don’t overdo it – it’s ok to try new foods or indulge in some you don’t usually eat at home. However, be mindful of the foods that don’t complement your constitution and try not to overindulge in these.
Simple ways to keep the doshas balanced
In closing, let me quickly list a couple of dosha-specific tips to keep an eye out for while vacationing.
Vata, you were the centerpiece of this list, but even so, there’s more attention to be paid to you while traveling. Keep warm, Vata, bring an extra blanket for the cold plane ride, or an extra sweater for a chilly evening. Also, use meditation practices to keep you grounded on your travels, or soothing music to calm those damned nerves.
My fellow Pittas, the sea is calling and the sun is hot, so don’t forget to cool off. Keep a cool mind (meditation is a good way to get you re-centered), and a cool body with lots of cooling foods and rose water/oil. Enjoy the journey, Pitta, and don’t be so hung up on little bumps in the way. After all, the journey is just as important as the destination.
Kapha, my tip for you is to keep it moving. You can easily get too comfortable and miss on all the fun so avoid becoming sluggish by eating in moderation, avoiding heavily digested foods, and staying active. At the same time, make sure you honour your needs, meaning that it’s OK to trade a night out for a night in with a good book if that’s what’s going to recharge you. Remember, it’s your vacation too.
Hit the road
Having said this, you are now well-equipped to hit the road and enjoy your summer. And while traveling can be an exhilarating adventure, it can also be disruptive to our internal balance. That’s why the tips I shared with you are easy to adapt to your holiday schedule and most beneficial to have you creating unforgettable moments with your loved ones (your self included).
So safe travels, enjoy, and share your stories when you’re back.