So it’s supposedly summer time and a time when many of us fly off on our summer holidays with the children, friends and partners. Lengthy travel by any means aggravates ‘vata’, the principle of movement. Air travel in particular, can drive our vata soaring, as you travel at high speed travel in vata’s own elements of space and air. The dry, re-circulated air, increased cabin pressure and high altitude add extra disruption to the already disturbed diet and lifestlyle routines and time zone changes.
- Air travel can leave people with the feeling of:
- Excessive sleepiness and fatigue
- Inability to focus
- Feelings of nausea & dizziness
- Muscular & joint aches
- Indigestion and constipation
Those individuals with a ‘vata’ dominant constitution and those with a rigid routine are likely to be the amongst the most effected by ‘jetlag’. What can we do to keep our vata grounded and minimise the negative effects of flying.
There are some simple techniques we can apply based on the principles of vata pacification in ayurveda.
Before you travel, give yourself or treat yourself to a hot oil abhyanga massage to lock in moisture to the deeper skin layers. Warm oil is a fantastic antidote for vata since it has heating, heavy, oily qualities that counterbalance the dry and windy elements of Vata.
In-flight meal choices are hardly worth writing home about, so eat a grounding, balancing and nourishing meal before your flight and a few days before travel with plenty of proteins. So foods such as warm cooked whole grains, root vegetables, ghee and digestive herbs such as cumin, ginger and turmeric are all good choices. How about soups, stews, hot pots, kitchari, dahls & rice etc to up set you up for your journey? Pack a few healthy snacks, nuts & fruits. Avoid salads, frozen foods, dry snacks, ice in drinks.
Valium, sleeping pills? Don’t do it! Add in Chyawanprash to the mix to assist your digestion as well as give you an immune boost for the increased exposure to germs. Ashwagandha, a rejuvenating ayurvedic herb can give you a further immune boost and help you rest on the flight. Triphala, a cleansing compound herb can help balance your bowels as well as provide a anti-oxidant boost as it contains lots of vitamin C. Sleep, relaxing music and meditation are great for grounding mental vata. Try out hot milk with my special ‘Goodnight Milk Blend‘
On the flight itself, avoid those dry salty snack, caffeine, carbonated and alcoholic drinks etc as these can further dehydrate you. Instead opt for plenty of water and how about carrying some herbal tea bags?
Exercise your limbs out by walking and stretching out, this will ensure ‘prana’ stays circulating throughout the body. Maybe a few cheeky yoga stretches at the back on the plane? That’s what I do!