Eat light and snack often; try to avoid heavy meals. Eating dry and raw foods such as salad, dried fruit, and potato chips tend to increase dryness in the body, which can lead to digestive complaints. This may require you to bring your own snacks. Luckily, airports and food marts are starting to offer healthier food options.
Ayurvedic self-massage is traditionally performed standing or sitting using oil such as sesame, which is pacifying for Vata imbalances. It’s nice to include a little bottle of oil (carefully wrapped in a plastic bag) as part of your travel toiletry kit. Your self-massage can be done lying in bed at the end of the day with or without the use of oil. Starting from the top of your head, massage the scalp and make your way down to the bottom of your feet. Remember to massage your stomach to help with digestion. You can also opt to do this in the morning right before a shower—make it work for you.
Traveling typically requires a lot of sitting. After a fun day of activities, there can be some bodily stiffness. Yoga is the sister science to Ayurveda and, when practiced together, the benefits are huge. Yoga doesn’t have to mean handstands and complicated twists. It can be any comfortable stretching that opens and creates space for movement and healing in the bodymind.
Try some chair yoga poses during your flights or at the end of the day at your destination. These fun poses specifically for a road trip can break up a long day of driving. Feel free to try some of your own stretches while standing, such as forward folds, bending side to side, or standing twists. Move in the direction your body wants.
Think of flying on a plane hurtling through space with the aircraft cabin’s air blowing in your face—or zooming down the road with your windows down, enjoying the cool breeze. This is all dehydrating for your skin and body. Drinking lots of water while traveling is important, especially during long flights. Try to avoid drinking alcohol on travel day because it can be dehydrating, according to the Journal of Alcoholism & Drug Dependence. Bring a water bottle with you that is collapsible and easy to pack. Also, try drinking warm water, if possible, to aid digestion and for comfort.
Getting good sleep is crucial to your health and well-being. As best you can, stick to a regular sleep routine to allow for ample rest. During the night, your body and mind engage in self-repair, detoxification, and rejuvenation, and you don’t want to miss this time.
It is easy to take breathing for granted. Depending on your state of mind, your breath can become shallow in response to stress, or it can become deep when you’re feeling relaxed. The more deep, cleansing breaths you take, the better off you will be. Incorporating moments in the day where you will stop and perform some breathing exercises, even for a few seconds, will help you to feel calmer and more grounded.
An easy exercise is to close your eyes, breathe in through your nose for four seconds, and exhale out of your mouth for six seconds. Allow it to become smooth and rhythmic. Do as many breaths as you like, but begin with a minimum of three complete breaths. If you think you will have a hard time remembering to aside time to do your breathing exercises, set a reminder alarm for once or twice a day.
When planning your next vacation, start to envision incorporating these Ayurvedic-inspired practices into your schedule. Even committing to just one of these will alleviate some of the stress and strain of travel caused when the Vata dosha becomes overstimulated. When you travel, focus on balancing, grounding, and nurturing yourself through these simple but powerful practices. The payoff will be worth it when you get to your destination feeling refreshed and able to wholly enjoy your trip.