Traveling, Especially Air Travel Will Naturally Aggravate Vata.
Vata, according to Ayurveda (a 5000 year old science of healing based on the understanding of the laws of nature and the five elements) is a combination of the air and space elements. It is responsible for circulation, elimination, and movement and does marvelous things for us; but when it is out of balance, it may start causing certain problems. You may naturally feel less grounded, have difficulty concentrating, or taking in information. You may feel anxious, worried, or more sensitive in general (i.e. to loud noises, people or other stimulus) and feel unable to handle stress very well. In your body you may experience difficulty falling asleep, have tension headaches, dry skin, feel cold and achy among other things.
Why is that?
Vata, being a combination of air and space, is naturally drying, cold, irregular, moving and light. Those are natural qualities of the air and space elements. Since like increases like, if you do things that are drying, cold, irregular, moving and light in their nature, you will increase the air and space elements in your body and mind.
When you travel you are obviously moving fast and the combination of altitude, speed, cold, air-conditioned environment, and irregular routine will naturally increase the air and space elements in you.
Knowing this, stay hydrated and warm. Avoid eating heavy meals as your digestion will not be at its best. Keep quiet during travel as much as you can as talking excessively will definitely increase Vata in the mind. It is also a good idea to apply a skin moisturizer or body oil as you will naturally feel dryer. Moisturizing the body will not only make your skin feel better but also the moisture will help balance Vata. Our Calming Body Oil as well as our Rich Repair Body Silk are good choices as they are specially formulated with ingredients that are naturally Vata-pacifying. The Calming Essence aromatherapy oil will also be very helpful and can be applied as needed to pulse points during travel. This will also help with jet lag. In between flights or when you get out of the car, stretch and move around to get your circulation going and feel more grounded in your body. You can have an entire travel kit for yourself with the right mix of herbal beauty care products like moisturizers, muscle release oils and energizers, so travel fatigue does not show on your skin or health.
When you reach your destination and are ready for your next meal, focus on easily digestible, warm and more liquid foods. Avoid standing up while eating and eat with your full undivided attention. If digestion is a bit off, try grating a little ginger with a pinch of salt and a little lemon juice 5 minutes before your meal. This will spark your digestion. Drinking ginger tea is also very soothing. Avoid cold drinks and foods. A hot water bottle placed on the abdomen at night is especially comforting after traveling as it will help balance one of the main Vata centers in the body – Apana Vata. This will help restore proper elimination and make you feel grounded again rapidly.
Enjoy your travels!
* Note that the Calming Essence comes in a kit with 2 other essential oil blends that are also very useful during travel: the Soothing Essence is helpful when feeling irritable because of delays or other traveling inconveniences and the Energizing Essence can help you stay awake when you need to drive late at night (as opposed to drinking coffee or other stimulants that will inevitably throw the body – and vata out of balance).