Traveling and Well-Being- Vata Part-1

2/20/2022

Traveling has always been one of my top passions. Since a young girl, the first moment I remember being on an airplane at age six, I was hooked. After traveling to well over 48 countries myself I still believe to this day my childhood experiences of getting outside the United States and studying abroad in another country made an extraordinary impact that even changed where I am today in my life. Someone who would always travel in packs or with a friend shifted to more solo trips, especially during the pandemic. Being the independent natured person I am, the urge to get out and escape become a healthy time for me to be in nature, be present and outside  the same four walls of my comfy home. I thrived on this. The change in routine, mixing up the norm and seeing something new. The libra in me needs balance for our whole self to truly feel connecting and centered. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge homebody. However for my health and my make-up the fresh air and environment change becomes more of a necessity. 

According to multiple studies, traveling has the ability to take you out of your daily routine and into surroundings, that can not only reset you mind but also your body. Children are so addicted to their iphones and ipads yet, they may be missing out on a key perspective that can change how they think, process information and adapt to situations.  I think about my experiences seeing other countries as a little kid and how rewarding culture awareness, understanding others perceptions and meeting new people increased my personal growth. 

A great escape is also nourishing and refreshing to overall well-being.  It is reported that people who travel more frequently are more satisfied with their physical health and their artistic side. It is said, that a lack of vacation is associated with a higher risk of heart disease and death from heart disease. Overall a trip or two even has significant change on mood and helps to boost productivity. According to the 2018 state of American vacation survey from the U.S.Travel Association’s Project time off, 52 percent of Americans has unused vacation days at the end of 2017. The average worker uses only eight of his or her 17.2 vacation days for travel, the study says. Since the pandemic many were able to work from home and have this become a norm, with the options of working remotely in beautiful places. 

As an Ayurvedic Practitioner, my clients know my teachings of balance. However, this word is different for everyone and since each individual has a unique set of “energies of elements” in their body called “doshas,” nothing is more important than being mindfully aware to how you feel and connecting to feeler daily so you can navigate your health on your own. Environment plays a huge role on your health, especially in Ayurvedic Medicine. Being a Vata Pitta myself, which is the air and fire element, I can quickly get burned out if I don’t pay attention to signals in my mind and body. Vata doshas especially are known for being creative. They are about “movement” as the strongest dosha in our bodies is Vata. Without it, the other doshas are unable to move. Vata is often referred to as the vayu( wind) in the body and is responsible for our mental and physical adaptability. It governs our nervous system. When in balance our sensory integration and mental process flows easily and we feel the most energetic and creative. Our breath supports our nervous system so we have “prana” and life force which is regulated by vata to feel utmost joy. 

Back in the day, when I was overly traveling in corporate America I would notice physical changes to my body and not understand back then why. Being a vata dominate over traveling can also bring us out of balance quickly. When I was forced in jumping on airplanes weekly and couldn’t just feel grounded in my body. My vata was craving the just be at home, sit for weeks and not move to bring the body back into homeostasis. Too much movement caused dry skin, cold hands and feet, constipation, irregular appetite, pain in my joints , trouble sleeping and trembling. The increase air and space element in my body increased and back then I didn’t know that grabbing a salad on the go, instead of a warm soup, would spiral me down even more. The knowledge I wish I had back would have saved me thousands of dollars in blood testing that I may have never even needed if I saw an Ayurvedic practitioner earlier in my 20s. Eventually I did and that is when all the puzzle pieces slowly came together. If I changed my diet when traveling to sweet, salty and sour and increased my “snigdha” qualities internally it would have helped me immensely on the go. 

Some tips for the Vata on-the-go.

Traveling for pleasure affects your well-being and changing your daily routine is important, yet for the Vatas like myself it is also beneficial to practice grounding techniques when you are traveling. Vata qualities are light and mobile because it is made up of the space and air elements. Excess movement increases added stress to the existing qualities. Learning to stay grounded on the move is key for those creative road warrior types.

— in the morning before travel make sure you apply a light warm Abhyanga massage with sesame oil to increase warmth.

–instead of grabbing a light snack on the go at the airport or the quickest fast food stop, nourish yourself with oatmeal, warm soups, and teas to decrease joint stiffness and pain.

–cover yourself with a scarf so you can avoid cold breezes and air conditioning and breezes around your neck/head.

–apply grounding breathing techniques throughout the day to balance the mind and keep your sleep on track.

–drink CCF tea to keep your agni strong and digestion smooth to avoid constipation.

When we are power over our health, what our body needs, learn to set boundaries with ourselves and really listen to what our system is telling us that is when we can be our best selfs. When we connect to ourselves and what our whole self is asking, a great escape, a time to be home grounded in the comfort the answer comes on that is the action we take. Knowing now what I didn’t know in my 20s in night and day. Being the healthiest I have ever been in my life not even taking an Advil in 5 years, says something about the power of Ayurveda and the awareness it can bring in everyones life. Taking care of ourselves when we travel just enhances the beautiful benefits of travel and how it can be the best experiences of our lives. 

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