6 Ayurvedic Travel Tips
Traveling is a wonderful way to see the world, experience new cultures, and visit friends and family. However, traveling can also be hard on our bodies and contribute to dry skin, poor digestion, disturbed sleep and anxiety. Why does this happen?
According to Ayurveda, traveling disrupts the Vata dosha: a combination of the elements ether and air. When in balance, these elements bring us creativity, healthy elimination, clear communication, and fluid breath. Because the qualities of ether and air are dry, rough, cold, and mobile, traveling exaggerates these qualities further, which can result in bloating, constipation, insomnia, dry skin and even anxiety. A fundamental understanding in Ayurveda is that like increases like, so we would use opposite qualities to counteract the undesired symptoms traveling stirs up.
To fully embrace the adventure of travel and maintain a state of balance, check out 6 of our favorite Ayurvedic travel tips:
1. Oil up! To combat the dryness that can accumulate from traveling, try Abhyanga (or self oil massage): because Vata energy is dry, rough and cold, performing a self oil massage will not only moisturize the skin, but calm the nervous system before travel. Abhyanga is a beautiful practice to do before travel but it is also great to do once you land in your final destination to acclimate and ground. Our seasonal body oil is a ghee and sesame oil based oil with a hydrating ghee herb infusion that can offer an added layer of nourishment.
How to: Use about ¼ cup for the whole body. Perform long strokes on the limbs and circles around the joints and belly. It is best to massage as long as your time allows (up to 20 minutes) to help the oil to penetrate all the layers of the skin and not just the top layer. You want the oil to soak in some before stepping into a warm shower. Allow the warm water (not hot!) to take the oil deeper into the tissues and it will rinse off any excess oil without using soap to scrub it away. When you exit the shower, simply pat dry with a towel. You can apply a small amount of oil topically as a moisturizer if needed.
2. Nasya oil: traveling and high altitudes can increase the dry quality in the air which can dry out the mucous membranes in our nostrils and lead to headaches. Did you know dry nasal passages will cause a stuffy nose? When our nasal membranes get dry, our body’s natural response is to create mucus so many times to lubricate and protect the dry membranes! By using Nasya oil in the nostrils, it helps to lubricate and offer a layer of protection against environmental pollutants while traveling, and unavoidable factors like the dry air in the plane cabin. Additionally, our Nasya oil can support mental clarity, and move lymph in the brain to keep us sharp during long hours of travel.
3. Hydrate: of course we all know that water hydrates us, but to deeply and effectively hydrate, try drinking warm water or herbal tea with ½ -1 tsp of Farmtrue ghee! The warm water carries the tea herbs and oil into the digestive system to help combat gas and bloating that can occur with travel. Try to avoid ice water too; the increasingly cold quality can be difficult on digestion and aggravate Vata dosha. Make sure your water has a higher pH number and lots of electrolytes. You can bring electrolytes with you to add to water throughout your travel to combat radiation and to stay feeling your best. Game changer! For the needed moments of zen along the way, our facial toner is another hydration must for travel. Misting your face with our organic rose water blend can be both calming and hydrating to our delicate facial skin!
4. Move! Getting some fresh air and moving the body to increase circulation before sitting down for long periods of time will support your travel. Walk up and down the airplane aisle (this is a must!) and put your legs up the wall while you’re waiting to board to move lymph and calm the mind. Adding some aromatherapy can also help to simultaneously uplift and calm your spirits. We love lemon, lavender, and eucalyptus!
5. Mindful eating and fasting: Mindfully preparing food to take with us on our travels may be low on the priority list but we encourage you to put this one at the top! It can be all too easy to grab convenience foods and snack all day while traveling. We recommend eating a warm, nourishing, well-spiced meal that’s easy to digest before and after travel to help ground the mind and body. Avoid salty snacks and alcohol when traveling as it can disrupt the nervous system and dehydrate the body. It’s best to sit down with your meal in stillness, versus trying to eat while in an airplane or in the car. If we are distracted and stressed while eating, it’s difficult for the gut and brain to communicate properly. When we eat in a calm, relaxed state, it’s much easier for the body to assimilate and digest. Fasting during the traveling portion can be helpful as it gives the digestive system a rest. That said, if feeling hungry or travel is long, focus on packing hydrating foods such as whole fruits, dates, raw almonds and our ghee-nut butters, which all can be very satisfying yet easier on digestion. Need some inspiration? We are such fans of Jeanette Ogden (@shutthekaleup on Instagram) and the tips and tricks she shares about packing food when traveling.
6. Garshana (dry brushing): When traveling, we tend to be sedentary, sitting for long periods of time on an airplane, car or train. Perform garshana before and after travel to combat dryness and strengthen your immunity! We always perform dry brushing with raw silk garshana gloves before oiling up with our Ayurvedic body oil. Raw silk gloves are a better choice than a brush for several reasons:
1. A brush used over time can toughen the skin
2. The gloves allow you to touch your own body and truly massage, moving the lymph more efficiently and performing an intentional act of self care.
This practice helps to drain the lymphatic system, moving any stagnation and improving blood flow and circulation throughout the body.