It is that time of year when everyone seems to have the traveling bug, with school being over and the weather so beautiful it is time to get away. Digestion and Vata are most prone to going out of balance due to the movement, change and lack of routine. Here are 5 tips for staying balanced and healthy while traveling.
If you follow nothing else on this list, do this. Hydration is so important to keeping alert, ridding the body of toxins and helping with elimination. A lot of people tend to think that because you are just sitting you do not need to drink water, but that is not true. Sitting in a moving car or airplane is Vata vitiating due to the movement and is very dehydrating.
A. Keep a water bottle with you.
B. Squeeze some lemon or lime in it to help the taste or try diluted juice.
C. The average person uses the bathroom every two-three hours.
This is especially important if you are prone to digestive issues. I first used this advice on a road trip 4 years ago and I was amazed by the difference (no gas).
A. Keep food out of reach so that you can only access it while the vehicle is stopped.
B. Pulling over and eating while still in your car will make a huge difference.
3. Stay on your regular schedule
This means if you eat breakfast at 8a.m. lunch at 1p.m. and dinner at 6p.m. do that on your trip as well, especially during the commuting part. Your digestion has been set to these times and will help calm your Vata by stay on routine and your Pitta will be calm because you are eating. This also includes sleeping. If you go to bed at 10 p.m. Then pull over at a rest stop or motel and go to bed at 10p.m. You may think your wasting time, but it will help your immune system and you are just going to have to catch up on sleep when you reach your destination.
4. Stretching and gentle movement
Stretching helps increase oxygen absorption into the muscles and blood stream helping you be more alert. Stretching can help stop blood clots which can occur over long periods of sitting. Stretching also helps with digestion, 108 steps after eating is all it takes.
A. Make some time for stretching when stopping at rest stops, when you fill your car with gas or in the airplane isle.
5. Recover and acclimate
It is best to reach your destination in the middle of day and relax, or arive around bedtime so you can get a good nights sleep.
A. Rehydrate with a warm decaffeinated beverage which will also help get peristaltic movement of the intestine (your bowel movement) going.
B. Take elevation into consideration and react accordingly.
Have a great trip and stay healthy!