Travel can be an easeful experience.
As travel becomes more accessible to everyone, more and more people are jet setting around the world for an infinite variety of reasons. Whatever your reason for travel, it is easy to get swept up in the movement and feel unsettled, ungrounded, or even stressed and anxious. These are common occurrences, and it is good to incorporate balancing, calming activities on, and before, the day of travel.
In Ayurveda, a tradition Indian health science, we can look at travelling from a qualitative perspective.
Travelling has qualities of movement, airiness, spaciousness, and can be fast-paced. When we travel we have deadlines we have to reach, we have to pack our belongings, and we experience lots of newness.
In Ayurveda, these qualities of movement, air, and space; are categorized and called ‘Vata Dosha’. The wind and ether elements. This incorporates all forms of movement, breath, speech, travel, energy movement, and much more.
Each person, and all of life, contains aspects of Vata within themselves, as well as all around them. The Vata Dosha, in and of itself, is neither positive nor negative. It is necessary for life and a large part of every living experience.
The key is balance.
When things become out of balance, this is when we begin to feel too much movement or too much spaciousness. The root of all dis-ease is imbalance.
So when we begin to feel anxious, nervous, stressed, or ungrounded it is a sign that we are out of balance.
Travelling can easily throw us out of balance. We are being faced with plenty of movement, new things to excite our senses, and limitless challenges and possibilities. These are called ‘Vata aggravators’, and can very easily cause us to feel ungrounded.
The antidote is the opposite.
Finding balance and creating a smooth equilibrium will vary slightly from person to person. But there are many universal things we can do to stay grounded and assist us through changing times.
In order to balance Vata, we need warming, grounding, and nourishing remedies.
Eat cooked foods that are heavy, moist, and oily with warm and soft qualities.
- The sweet, sour, and salty tastes are balancing and grounding for our system. Supportive foods before travel are soups, broths, stews, whole grains, and good quality fats such as olive oil, avocado, and ghee.
- Foods that are cooked and served warm will create moisture within the system and aid in grounding.
- Incorporate warming spices or herbs to build the digestive fire, keep us warm, and help us feel full and calm.
A gentle, self-massage with sesame oil.
- Rubbing this oil onto our skin is extremely calming, grounding, and nourishing for our nervous system.
- Toning our tissues and warming our muscles, this allows for movement in our body to progress from erratic to smooth.
Gentle Yoga or Movement.
- Moving our bodies in a mindful and purposeful way will allow extra erratic energy to disperse; creating warmth, and freeing us from a build-up of unwanted energy during travel.
- This stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing our minds to be at ease, our body to rest, and our system to digest.
- Meditation allows us to create space in the mind and between thoughts. When we increase the space between thoughts, we are capable of experiencing stillness and serenity.
- Even just 15 minutes of meditation can have large, grounding affects.
- Certain breath techniques allow for a grounding, calming experience. Emphasizing the exhale (making it twice as long as the inhale), will have the best effect, and can be used anywhere at anytime.
- Just 10 deep breaths can reset our neural system and ignite our parasympathetic nervous system.
Enjoying these practices before we travel, or as a daily routine, we will see the benefits and the lasting effects for our entire journey.
Through practice and paying attention to the natural world around us, we learn how to best care for our inner world, and can better support our inner sanctum – mind, body, and spirit.