Happy Travels with Ayurveda

Transport, communication and movement are the three main factors that increase Vata (space & air elements). This means traveling will increase Vata in anyone regardless of their constitution and there are certain classic Vata imbalances that people typically experience when on the move such as constipation, irregular appetite, nervous exhaustion, insomnia and anxiety. The more Vata dosha that you have in your constitution the more you will experience these symptoms.

The most challenging mode of traveling for Vata is flying. This is because Vata is made partly of the air element so it automatically increases the air in the system. Travelling by car, bus or train will also aggravate Vata because your senses (especially vision) were not designed for the speeds we travel at. The constant visual exposure as we whip past neon signs and other visual stimulus is overwhelming to the sensitive nature of the Vata dosha.

So what to do? Calming and soothing the Vata dosha is key to restoring balance. The following recommendations will counter the qualities of the Vata dosha which are dry, cool, brittle, light, irregular, fast moving and erratic. These tips will reduce the impact of travel on your senses, helping you arrive at your destination feeling calm, relaxed and balanced on all levels:

  • Drink plenty of hot water or herbal tea to counter the dryness of Vata. The ELS Vata tea blend is ideal to calm and soothe you.
  • Skip the coffee and candy. They both “wire” your system and leave you feeling exhausted once the initial rush has passed.
  • No carbonated drinks at any time on the days you are traveling. Adding excess air to your system will interfere with your digestion and elimination.
  • Do not drink alcohol when traveling as this dehydrates your system and may cause constipation and insomnia.
  • Close your eyes and rest (unless you are driving!). Relaxing your senses helps to counter the activity and movement of traveling. Ear plugs and an eye mask will reduce your sensory input.
  • Stay silent and keep conversation to a minimum as talking increases Vata and can leave you feeling exhausted.
  • Peaceful, soothing music will help you stay relaxed and calm. Music, videos or radio stations that are over stimulating will leave you feeling wired and exhausted.
  • Alternate nostril breathing is an effective way to bring instant calm in just a few minutes. Practice this whenever you are aware that you are shallow breathing, feeling stressed or when you feel tension in your body.
  • When traveling by car keep the windows closed and the air vents pointed away from your head. On an airplane turn off the overhead vent as drafts (especially cold air) will aggravate Vata and leave you mentally stressed.
  • ELS Vata aroma oil is a specific blend of essential oils that calm, soothe and balance Vata dosha. Pour 10-15 drops of Vata oil onto a tissue and let the aroma fill your vehicle to keep you grounded or inhale from the bottle occasionally when flying (available from our online store).
  • When you reach your destination go for a walk to move the energy through your body and help ground yourself; walk barefoot if possible.
  • A warm bath on arrival will help to restore and relax your mind and body.
  • Treat yourself to an oil massage the morning of travel to help soothe and ground your system. Add a few drops of ELS Vata blend essential oil to the carrier oil for extra benefit.
  • Avoid gas producing foods such as popcorn, cabbage, sandwiches and cold or raw foods. Warm, easily digestible foods will soothe your system making for easier digestion and elimination.
  • Mantra meditation is the best and most effective way of calming and balancing Vata dosha. Practiced before and after travel, this technique has a most powerful calming and relaxing effect.
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