This is the time of year when many of us are beginning to make travel plans, whether it is for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s, or simply planning a February escape from snow and cold weather. Traveling during the late fall and winter has its challenges. When we travel at any time of the year, vata dosha can get out of balance. But because this is the season when vata is predominant in our environment, we need to be extra alert about maintaining balance. To stay in peak health while on long car or airplane trips, try these suggestions:
Get plenty of rest. Take naps and practice the Transcendental Meditation technique.
Try not to rush. Give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport and check in. If driving, don’t speed. Your physiology doesn’t need any extra pressure. Don’t start out your trip feeling frazzled.
Drink plenty of warm fluids. Avoid caffeinated drinks, which will promote additional stimulation, sodas and alcohol. Bring along some Vata Tea in a thermos in your car or ask your flight attendant for hot water and then add your own tea bag.
Avoid cold drinks and cold food.
Avoid eating large quantities of food while you are in the air or traveling in the car. This is especially important when you are crossing time zones. It is better to eat your meal at the normal time after you arrive. If you are driving, bring a thermos of soup to enjoy along the way.
Adopt the local time as soon as you arrive. Resist the urge to nap. Reset your clock and then try to get up and go to bed at the same time as you would at home.
Avoid vata-aggravating foods such as salads, dried fruit and potato chips. Opt for warm, soothing foods.
Bring along some Ayurvedic sesame oil so that you can give yourself an oil massage when you arrive at your destination. The warm oil (you can warm it by floating the bottle in hot water in your sink) and tactile stimulation will go a long way toward soothing vata dosha. If you don’t have time for a full-body massage, try a quick foot massage. (Be sure to wrap the bottle of oil carefully so that it can not leak into your luggage. Double bagging is recommended.)
Schedule some Ayurveda treatments when you return home. Nasya can help with dryness in the nasal and sinus passages and can help address the vata-aggravating influence of traveling, as well as protecting from airborne allergens and pollutants.
Abhyanga (Ayurveda massage), Shirodhara (oil streamed across the forehead) and Swedana (herbalized steam therapy) are helpful treatments to help balance vata after travel— and throughout the winter.
Panchakarma treatments are the most significant Ayurvedic approach to both pacifying vata and drawing out and eliminating impurities that have accumulated during your travels. If you indulge in foods you do not usually eat while you are away, the home-preparation diet and detoxification treatments of Panchakarma will get you back on a healthy routine for the rest of the winter. Not only will this it will help you transition into spring with fewer allergies and colds, it can help you shed any extra pounds you’ve gained during the holidays.
For more information on scheduling Ayurveda massages and treatments, visit The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa website:
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