Travel Tips: How To Stay Balanced While You Travel

Travel has become a necessary part of life in today's world. While some people travel on a regular basis as part of their work, others travel less frequently, and almost everyone is subject to the occasional travel. 

However, travel can be hard on the body and easily throws off the balance of the physiology. So how can you stay in balance while traveling? What is the best way to counter the negative effects of travel? Although Ayurveda is an ancient medical science, originating thousands of years before the concept of airplanes, it amazingly offers relevant solutions to modern issues. 

What Happens When You Travel

High-speed travel at high altitudes deranges the natural flow of prana in the body. The body then compensates for this deranged flow by closing the physical and subtle channels. This restricts the flow of prana which can make you feel tired and drained. The physical channels also contract, which is why constipation is such a common experience for travelers. 

Nothing increases Vata dosha as quickly as high-speed travel. This is because Vata is the force of mobility in the body. High-speed travel is a lot of fast motion in a short period of time. This increases the influence of the Air and Space elements which causes Vata to increase. Common signs of Vata imbalance are anxiety, overwhelm, gas, constipation, pain, and weakness. 

When Vata is in excess, the increased amounts of Air begin to dry the mucous membranes of the body. After deboarding a plane, you may notice drier skin, dryness in the nasal passages, chapped lips, and perhaps an overall feeling of dryness inside the body. When the lubrication in the body is dried by excess Vata, it results in stiffness and sore aching muscles. 

High Vata leads to compromised immunity and thus increased susceptibility to mental-emotional stress and external pathogens. Physiologically speaking, excess Vata in the form of too much Air element dries the most refined vital essence of the body know as Ojas. Ojas is a clear glistening fluid, the refined essence of the reproductive fluid, the essence of all seven bodily constituents, and the "link" between the physical and subtle bodies. It is the source of the aura and bestows radiance to the face. It is the source of immunity in the body. When it is low in quantity from high Vata, the body's protective energy field (known in Chinese Medicine as "wei qi") is diminished, and the body becomes vulnerable to external pathogens. This is why travelers often catch viral infections such as the cold or flu when traveling. 

What You Can Do

  • Prepare for travel by staying balanced beforehand. Use the days previous to travel to press into harmonious routines, balanced diet, and minimizing stressful activities. The stronger you are when you travel, the less affected you will be by it. 
  • Get plenty of rest before travel. It is common to stay up late a couple of nights before traveling, but it is best to get plenty of rest before you embark on your journey. Getting to bed early (before 10pm) a few nights before you travel will increase ojas (your immunity) and open your physical and subtle channels. 
  • Receive a SVA Marma treatment before traveling to optimize the intelligent functioning of your channels. Spinal treatments are especially good to prepare for travel. (If you want to self-medicate, you can use Flex 'n Flow Roll-On on the spine). 
  • Avoid airport body scanners by respectfully opting out. Although they claim that the radiation generated in the body scanners are more minimal than mobile phones, it is best to avoid these scanners. If you opt out, you will receive a pat down. In some countries, there is no option to opt out, in which case you have no choice but to go through. This is why it is always best to travel with EMF protection of some kind (see post on EMF Solutions). 

  • Eat consciously when traveling. Your digestive fire will naturally be lower when traveling, so eat smaller portions than usual and choose the healthiest food you can find. If your only options are very low-quality food from the airport and you are quite hungry, then a smaller portion will be more forgiving. Ideal foods for traveling are sweet juicy fruits such as apple, pear, pomegranate, and grapes. 
  • Stay hydrated with good quality spring water. Travel dries out the body and one way to counter this is to make a special effort to stay hydrated. 
  • On the plane before take-off, tilt your head back and put a few drops of Tridoshic Nasya Oil (or Ida/Pingala Nasya Oil) into each nostril. This will help lubricate the nasal passages, decrease mental-emotional stress, and bring a calming effect to the physiology. Nasya is also excellent for headaches. The left and right nostrils are the primary pathways for pranic flow in the Ida and Pingala nadis, so directly opening these channels helps the body stay balanced during travel. I have noticed significantly less jetlag when I use nasya while traveling. 
  • Take time on the plane for deep breathing, pranayama, or meditation. Conscious deep breathing helps keep the prana flowing, oxygenates the body, and is relaxing for the body and mind.
  • If you are on a long flight, stand up and walk around as often as possible. This keeps the blood and lymph flowing. A common experience is for the lymph to get clogged during travel giving people puffy feet. The lymphatic system is one of our primary detox pathways, so it is good to keep those channels as open as possible. You can also lean forward in your seat and place your palms on your cheeks to prevent puffiness in the face.
  • Take a natural hand sanitizer with you. Airport and airplane hygiene is poor. People are flying in from all over the world, giving you a rapid exchange with all kinds of foreign pathogens. While all of these tips will help you resist these pathogens, there is no better approach than eliminating unnecessary contact. Use the hand sanitizer frequently. When you arrive at your destination, take a shower and clean yourself sooner than later. (Note: it is best to use a natural hand-sanitizer. Conventional anti-bacterial hand sanitizers will also kill the friendly bacteria in your gut which is not a desirable side-effect).
  • Take Triphala tablets with you to maintain regularity and prevent constipation. Triphala also reduces all three doshas and increases ojas, so it is a good herbal supplement to use while traveling. 
  • After traveling, use polarity screens. Polarity screens help balance the effects of jetlag and re-establish the natural pranic flow in the body. The use of polarity screens especially helps to re-harmonize the physical body with its surrounding etheric energy field. 
  • Airports and airplanes expose the body to the highest amount of EMF/EMR, so I highly recommend that people put Flex 'n Flow Roll-On on their spine after traveling. Walking barefoot on moist grass is another excellent way to release EMF/EMR toxicity.
  • Nourish yourself upon arriving at your destination. Favor warm, moist, easy-to-digest foods such as kitchari to give your body a chance to re-balance.