We have had quite a few questions about traveling and how this affect the doshas. This article is about understanding how traveling can cause an imbalance, how to recognize the signs, and what can we do to make travel easier for you and your body. Additionally, traveling during the coronavirus pandemic may be especially stressful, so be sure to take care of yourself!
Traveling or "going on holiday" can be very exciting. All the planning and building up to the time you will spend away...you anticipate the good times and rest from everyday life. However, often when you get back from holiday, you feel you need another one.
While you may welcome the change that comes with going on holiday or travel, your body may feel the changes unfavorably.
How can you integrate Ayurvedic practices and keep yourself balanced so you can fully enjoy yourself?
The principle with all situations is to look at which gunas (qualities) are increased.
Travel requires moving through space and air (especially with flying). Space and air are the gunas of Vata, hence Vata people will be most affected with possibly dry eyes and skin, constipation, dehydration, insomnia or sleep disturbances, and fatigue.
Food and drink, depending on their qualities, might affect all the doshas. Weather during travel and at your destination will have a contributory factor too (think about how the season affects the doshas).
Pitta may increase due to hot weather, spices, or oily food, and you might experience problems with digestion, rushes, etc. Traveling in a crowded train might overheat Pitta. Or, doing lots of sightseeing on a hot day will definitely increase Pitta. Indulging in alcohol, cocktails, etc. will increase heat, rajas, and Pitta.
Kapha might relax into a dull routine: napping during the day, feeling lazy, eating heavy food, overeating, tamasic food, etc. All this will increase Kapha.
Take also into consideration how your mind is affected, think about sattva, rajas, and tamas.
Here is a summary of some recommendations from The Chopra Center:
Vata Travel Tips:
- Make sure you maintain proper hydration.
- Use meditation to remain calm during flights.
- Be sure to stay warm - wear layers of clothing.
- Prevent constipation with hydration, triphala, ground organic flaxseed, and three-part yoga breath (dirgha).
Pitta Travel Tips:
- Don't eat too fast! Slow down!
- Avoid the sun during the middle of the day.
- Try relaxing, not competitive, activities.
- Be patient with Vata and Kapha traveling companions.
Kapha Travel Tips:
- Avoid overeating - follow a meal plan.
- Schedule in some quiet time.
However...try to understand the logic (gunas, doshas, etc.) of these recommendations, don't just accept them blindly. There are always some personal adjustments to be made on any general recommendations. See how you can change these recommendations to fit your personal constitution. Notice something that doesn't quite work for you and adjust accordingly.