Many of us will be traveling this holiday. By the end of travel, we will likely feel exhausted and out of whack, but then need to jump right into the whirl of holiday festivities. At some point during or after our visit, we might be bloated, constipated or even sick.
This is because travel specifically disrupts the flow of Vata in our systems. Vata is responsible for the smooth flow of movement, regulation and elimination.
Travel is especially hard on Vata. Travel often requires that we sit in one position for a long time, carry heavy suitcases and bags, move quickly and then stop and stand in long lines. All of these are specific causes for disruption of Vata, especially for its function of eliminating wastes. Thus, many find their bowel function discombobulated during or after travel.
If we are flying, these causes can be especially pronounced and jetting through the air at high speed is a sure recipe for extreme Vata aggravation.
Then, when we get to our destination we engage in parties and gatherings where it’s easy to overeat and overdo, talk a lot and loudly, and eat a lot of foods that aggravate Vata. Dry crackers and chips, raw vegetable crudites, and foods that are heavy and rich like desserts and cream sauces are Vata aggravating. We stay up late and get up early. These things aggravate the flow of Vata.
Abhyanga (oil massage with warm oil) is the easiest thing to do to regulate Vata. But how do you do that when you’re traveling? Pretty easy, with some planning ahead.
Here are some tips:
When you are packing, pack an old towel, some old pajamas or a robe that you don’t mind being oily in, and some old socks. You can spread the towel on the floor to stand on while doing the abhyanga (to spare your host’s towels and floor) and then wear the old pajamas or robe and socks to pad about until you’re ready to take a shower.
It’s also important to remember that if you don’t have enough time to oil your whole body, then you can oil the most important areas–your head, your ears, and your feet. I’ve found that wetting your hair, then applying conditioner, rinsing, then shampooing, seems to work best to get the oil residue out of your hair.
Doing this every day before your shower will help you stay grounded and will counteract the effects of hectic travels and holiday whirl.
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