Air travel but also travel in general increases our Vata dosha which is the dosha of air and movement. The Vata dosha is typically already increased in most people because of the fast and stressful lives we live. This is why business trips can become an additional stress factor. And more often than not, we also fall ill when we travel. But there are some very simple tricks to help you relax on your business trip and keep your immune system strong.
I often go on business trips that last longer than 2 to 3 weeks which makes it even more crucial to try and keep yourself healthy and sane, so here are some of my Ayurvedic tips for you guys:
I am always finding the diet bit the most challenging when away from home. Especially in America . There are some things you can stick to though that will help you have a regular digestion despite air travel’s opposite effect and give you both an energized and grounding feeling throughout the day.
1- Use your tongue scraper in the morning right after getting up to get rid of the toxins on your tongue.
2- Then have a spice tea (see list below – just boil in water or pour the spices into hot water in a café or restaurant, you may want a strainer, but I always chew the spices) and hot lemon water in the morning
3- If possible: have a good and nourishing breakfast with pancakes, sautéed veggies, oatmeal and/or eggs and bread etc., keep yourself hydrated throughout the day and eat grounding food for lunch (carrots, zucchini, a bit of cheese, beef, chicken, squash, leeks, most grains, eggs etc.)
4- If possible: have a warm soup or lentil/veggie stew in the evenings (many Asian restaurants serve soups for an affordable price) or a nice curry and rice dish with vegetables or chicken, quinoa, or sweet potato.
5- If it is not possible to eat something healthy: relax and enjoy your meal. In Ayurveda, it is believed that the state of mind in which you eat your food is at least equally important as the quality of food you consume. Even more important is how well you are able to digest it. That is why all the other measures on the list will help you do just that.
6- Don’t drink too many stimulants like alcohol and coffee
7- Avoid cold and raw food (and drinks) as well as overly greasy (hard to digest) meals. Do not have iced beverages. When I work at my clients’ offices in the US, you have to deal with air conditioned rooms and ice cold drinking water. This is why I am always bringing a scarf (also for the plane) and why I mix the ice water with the hot tea water in my klean canteen bottle .
8- For those of you who are Vata types like me: being Vata makes travelling more challenging. Add flaxseed to your morning yoghurt or oatmeal. And maybe add a soothing Abhyanga oil self-massage (google for instructions) to your routine to ground yourself even more after landing .
Breath exercise in the morning to release stress, energize your senses and strengthen your immune system
1. Sit up tall, relax your shoulders, and take a few deep, breathe in and out through your nose. With each inhale, expand your belly fully as you breathe.
2. Begin bellows breathing by exhaling forcefully through your nose. Followed by inhaling forcefully at the rate of one second per cycle.
3. Make sure the breath is coming from your diaphragm; keep your head, neck, shoulders, and chest still while your belly moves in and out.
Yoga routine in the morning before starting your busy day
I always bring my own yoga mat and find a space in my hotel room rather than going to the gym. I like privacy and find it easier to relax into my routine if I do not right away have to leave my room in the morning. 5 sun salutations are great if you don’t have much time and they will help you wake up and get your circulation and metabolism going. I personally like getting up earlier and do the standing series of Ashtanga yoga to start my day, it takes me 30-40 minutes. Especially if I will be sitting all day, this practice is very powerful. It is a strengthening and energizing practice that also supports the digestive organs which are a bit taxed when travelling. You first do 3 sun salutations A:
and then the following routine (take 5 Ujjayi ocean sound breaths in each pose):
Socializing is also a Vata activity so you want to make sure that you use your down-time well. Whenever you can, have some time in the morning or evening when you do nothing at all. Just sit on your bed and watch out the window. No phone, no TV watching, no reading. This reduces the endless stimuli to our system and is actually what is called a “real break”. We hardly ever do that. Five minutes of doing nothing will restore your energy much faster than anything else. Or take a bath if you can.
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My air travel kit for the plane
• Home-made sandwich, banana & nuts, apple and some chocolate to comfort me because I hate flying and because airplane food sucks
• Nasya oil (for relaxed neck and better breath, less dry nose
• Home-made body butter (LINK TO POST) for nose (inside), lips, face and hands:
• Essential lavender oil (smelling it helps me to relax overcome the trauma of bad smells in the airplane)x
• Eye water
• Neck pillow
• Travel tooth brush & paste and tongue scraper:
• Meditation app on your phone: Insight Timer
• Natural valerian tablets to sleep
• Oscillococcinum to fight off potential bacteria in the place
• Triphala (better digestion etc.)
I always bring this with me:
• Yoga mat
• Castor oil for dry eyes and orally against constipation (don’t overdo it, it is a laxative and you want to try this at home first to figure out your dosage, I usually take 2-3 tablespoons, this is not meant to be used on a regular basis, but helps really well with constipation due to travelling) (DISCLAIMER!)
• Spice tea mix to reduce Vata dosha and increase digestive power, immunity etc.: equal measures of: fennel seeds, turmeric powder, cinnamon powder, cardamom powder and a pinch of black pepper
• Insulated Klean Kanteen bottle
When I land, I immediately buy:
Fresh organic (if possible) lemons (I drink half a squeezed lemon , ideally in warm water, right after getting up, because it cleanses my system, and is an immune booster)
Tulsi tea in the evenings (stress-release)
Fresh ginger root (immune booster: tea or pure)
For Vata types: flaxseed