Summer is here and school is out, which means one thing for sure… more vacations! For most people during the past two years, traveling has been pretty minimal, or even non-existent. I, personally, love traveling. Unfortunately though, traveling doesn’t always agree with me.
In Ayurvedic knowledge, vata is one of three doshas. Vata relates to the elements of air and ether/space. Everything to do with movement is vata, and change is a huge component of that. Vata imbalances, especially during periods of travel, tend to show up as gas, constipation, skin dryness, digestion problems, insomnia, and lowered immunity.
Balanced Vata = Balanced Travel
My dosha is predominantly vata, and traveling tends to aggravate me—mentally, emotionally, and physically. I used to experience headaches and stomach issues when I traveled. Now, knowing what I know, I’m able to keep myself balanced and grounded. This is crucial in maintaining a happy, and stress-free, trip.
According to Ayurveda, “like increases like.” If you have a strong vata dosha, the qualities of vata increase due to the perpetual motion, change, and wind that inevitably accompanies travel. The fact that the body moves through space at such rapid speeds is what disturbs vata even more. And if you tend to have a sensitive nervous system, traveling also can cause system dysregulation.
So, with my 13-hour (GASP) road trip coming up, I wanted to share some tips for balancing out the vata dosha.
Top Tips For Vata Travelers
- Apply moisturizer— Travel dries out the skin, especially when it’s exposed to constant A/C. Protect your skin by applying a moisturizer, or body oil, to the exposed parts of your body. You can use sesame oil, which is a very hydrating and grounding oil. Bring some in a little bottle to use during your trip. Put some oil in the palms of your hands and add a couple drops of lavender essential oil, then use it to not only nourish your skin, but induce feelings of relaxation and peace.
- Wear warm clothes— Avoid your skin from drying out even further by protecting it with layers of clothes. This will also keep your body warm. Make sure to cover the neck and stomach during travel so as to protect the body from chills. This will also keep the digestion working properly.
- Use a neti pot— I love using neti pots, especially during allergy season. And with traveling, my sinus passages tend to dry out. When we enter different climates and landscapes our allergies may increase due to the change in the environment. Using neti pots will help clear the sinuses, as well as help keep them moisturized.
- Ginger tea— Drinking hot tea, especially grounding and warming herbal teas, like ginger, is great for vatas. It also helps with digestion. Avoid caffeine, as it is a diuretic and can contribute to dehydration. It can also be too overstimulating for the nervous system. Also, avoid drinking cold beverages, as that will irritate vata instead of soothe it. Icy drinks inhibit the digestive fire, which needs to be working optimally, especially during periods of travel.
- Eat grounding foods— Root vegetables are great to eat during travel. Soups, steamed veggie bowls, and rice are all great to eat as a traveling vata. Make sure you don’t overeat, and always focus on being present with your meals. That will help your digestion and avoid gut irritability. Try to avoid light and airy snacks, because that also aggravates vata. During travel, don’t eat seaweed, popcorn, raw snacks, salads, and potato chips.
- Practice yoga poses— Yoga is the sister science to Ayurveda. When you arrive at your destination, or even in between, focus on poses that decompress and stretch the spine. Asanas like forward folds, gentle twists, slight backbends, and side stretches are all beneficial in moving the blood and lymph in stagnant bodies.
- Schedule grounding days— I highly recommend vata types to schedule bookend days during their vacation. Bookend days act as buffers. Giving yourself a whole day prior to the trip to pack and tie up any loose ends is a great way to bring intention and mentally prepare for the upcoming changes. Having a day at the end of your trip to decompress and unwind from all the newness can be very soothing for the whole body. This is a day where you can do all the dirty laundry, take a nice, long, hot shower and nourish your whole body before getting back to your normal schedule.
Wherever you may be traveling, let your doshas support you rather than hinder you. Learning what your body needs during periods of sudden change and movement is so important. It can help your body maintain its homeostasis, which will keep you more grounded during trips. Your body and mind will thank you, as well as your traveling companions. Happy traveling!
Get more like this—Sign up for our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!
Photo: averie woodard on Unsplash