How to Stay Healthy While Traveling | Ayurvedic Tips for Flying
Air travel is part of our reality these days—we’re jet-setting for family gatherings, work engagements, and pleasure. While we may have grown accustomed to hopping on the plane, the reality is that air travel can take quite a toll on our bodies and minds.
Luckily, there are some things we can do to stay balanced while enjoying a lifestyle that includes movement and adventure.
Let’s cover the basics from an Ayurvedic standpoint: we know that the qualities of vata dosha are light, quick, rough, and dry, and anything that shares those qualities will increase vata in the body and mind. Now, just imagine how much vata enters the system when we travel in an airplane.
We’re moving at a fast pace through dry wind and oftentimes, the ride can be bumpy. All of these aspects of air travel activate the energy of vata within us, as they share the same qualities as this dosha.
As vata increases, it is common to experience gas, bloating, and discomfort in the joints, as well as increased anxiousness, fear, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping. These experiences are never ideal, but especially not while traveling for work or pleasure.
The following tips are simple, practical, and easy to incorporate into your travel routine. They will help keep vata in check and counter the impact of airplane travel on your body and mind so that you can live your jet-setting lifestyle—within reason!—and feel great on each journey for years to come.
8 Ayurvedic Travel Tips for Flying
1. Hydrate well before you leave your house.
The morning before you travel, be sure to fully hydrate your body by waking up and drinking at least 16 ounces of warm lemon water with honey. You can even pack this in a to-go mug or thermos and finish drinking your beverage just before you go through security.
Doing so will hydrate your cells to counteract dryness and set your digestive system in motion to support regular elimination throughout your journey.
2. Make herbal tea before heading to your gate.
Continue hydrating throughout your journey by making some warm herbal tea on the go.
Once on the other side of security, find a cafe and ask them to fill your to-go mug halfway with hot water. Thank them with your whole heart, add your herbal tea bag (I like to bring my own ginger tea), and then find a water station to fill it the rest of the way with cool water.
Doing so ensures that the water is the exact right temperature to drink (not too hot!) so you can start drinking it right away once settled on your flight.
3. Take a few deep breaths before you fly away.
Consciously slowing down is one of the most soothing things for vata. So ideally, you’ve allotted yourself enough time to not feel rushed in the airport and have a moment to relax before boarding your flight.
Take a few intentional breaths to gather your prana, or life force energy. As you sit, drop your tailbone down and feel your connection to the earth to support an energy of grounding and calm.
4. Stick to your routine when you arrive.
When you arrive at your destination, try to slip back into your normal daily routine as soon as possible, adjusting your rhythm to whatever new time zone you're in.
For example, if you arrive in the afternoon, eat your dinner at the same time you normally would at home. Do your best to find a warm, nourishing, and well-cooked meal—this will soothe vata and help to ground your system.
Then head to bed around the time you usually do, ideally no later than 10 p.m., to ensure a deep and restful night of sleep.
5. Support your system with herbs.
I Travel Well assists the body's natural adaptive mechanisms, helps reestablish healthy sleep patterns, and supports the immune, respiratory, and nervous systems.
Taking Triphala tablets each night will help support your digestion and keep your elimination regular throughout your journey.
6. Rub the soles of your feet with oil.
One of the absolute best ways to quickly and easily ground vata is to give yourself a foot massage with Daily Massage Oil.
Simply rub a small amount of oil between the palms of your hands to warm it up, and then rub it in, focusing on the soles of your feet. The heavy, oily qualities of the oil balance the light and dry qualities of vata—drawing any excess energy downward toward the earth.
7. Practice legs up the wall pose.
Support your ability to land fully after a day (or more) of air travel by doing a restorative Legs Up the Wall pose for 10 minutes before falling asleep—while you let the oil on your feet soak in.
To do this yoga posture, lay on your side with your knees bent, on the bed or the floor, and scoot your tailbone to about 6–12 inches away from the wall. Then rotate your hips so that you’re laying on your back and straighten your legs so that your feet point up towards the ceiling.
Lie comfortably with your legs gently resting on the wall, allowing the last of the vata energy to settle as you close your eyes and breathe naturally.
8. Do a little morning movement.
After you’ve slept—hopefully for a full eight hours—wake up and do a little morning movement, still being cautious to manage your vata.
Yoga, pilates, or strength exercises are ideal. Even just a quick stretch to work out the kinks of your airplane travel will do wonders for the comfort of your body and mind as you step out and explore the new place you’re in!
My Packing List: A Simple Ayurvedic Travel Kit
Making sure you have what you need before you travel will prevent any unnecessary stress and ensure that you can implement the above travel tips with ease. Here’s a list of my favorite travel products and long flight essentials: