Jet Setters Guide to Air Travel
Summer is often a time when many of us are jumping on planes to visit family, take a vacation, or continuing with business as usual.
Use these guidelines to counter the effects of air travel any time of the year.
EAT LIGHT & FRESH
With travel, the winds of change are in the air.
Ayurveda refers to this as Vata Dosha which has the qualitites of air, ether, space, movement- makes sense right? That's what we're doing when we travel by plane. So when we travel, we often feel ungrounded and even spacey, as we are moving from one place to another, jumping time zones and often missing out on sleep. When this happens, our digestion is often disrupted, which can lead to feeling lethargic, out of wack and even constipated after long plane trips. We're just not in our "usual" routines and rhythm when traveling long distances.
To help lighten the effects, don't weigh your gut down with wheat, cheese, red meat, tofu or processed foods. Instead, choose food with the qualities of warmth, moist, oily and soupy. Think easy to digest. Choose a hot thai soup over a dry, cold sandwhich, or a warm chili over a chips and cheese platter (often offered on planes).
Eat a little lighter the day during and the day after air travel, and hydrate, hydrate. hydrate.
SIP HOT WATER
For a longer flight, bring an empty thermos. After you go through security, fill your bottle at the local Starbucks with hot water. Sip during the flight. For higher water purity add HydraCel or liquid Chlorophyll for better absorption. For nausea add a few drops of ginger essential oil or even a slice of fresh ginger. Right now, my favorite thing to do is add some spice (literally) to my warm water. These spices are whole, untoasted corriander, fennel and cumin seeds. The tea is known as CCF tea. Check out this BLOG to find out more.
FEED YOUR LUNGS
Here are two breathing practices to calm the mind, manage stress, and balance the entire physiology.
Nadi Shodhanam (Alternate Nostril Breathing)
Sit with a straight spine and relax. Using the thumb and ring finger of the right hand, close the right nostril with the thumb, exhale, and then inhale through the left nostril. Close the left nostril with the ring finger and exhale and inhale through the right nostril. Continue breathing deeply through alternate nostrils for about two minutes. Nadi shodhanam is at once both deeply calming and energizing—ideal for relieving tension or boredom on airplanes.
Sahaja Pranayama (Watching Your Breath)
Sit in a comfortable position with your back and neck straight and relaxed. Close your eyes and observe your breath. Observe the temperature changes in your nostrils and throat. Slowly move your awareness to your lungs and observe the expansion and contraction as you breathe. Trace the breath from the tips of your nostrils deep into the lungs.
Tip: Count to 27 while exhaling to keep the awareness on your breath.
EXERCISE BETWEEN AND ON FLIGHTS
Look for movement breaks to stir up your breath and move prana (life force). If you have 20 minutes (or even 5) between flights, go for a walk or find a quiet place to do sun salutations. Many airports actually have yoga rooms with mats, props and a quiet space. On the airplane, get up and walk around as much as possible, stretch and twist. Don't worry about appearing "strange" - you'll be the one with fewer aches and pains upon arrival (I've been known to hop into a handstand while waiting for a flight...I'm fine with strange:)
Oil massage your entire body before showering on the day of departure and day of landing. Bring oil on the plane- sesame, coconut, sunflower (I LOVE Trader Joe's coconut oil in individual packages for this purpose). In the summertime, using lighter oils like coconut and sesame (untoasted, unless you want to smell like an Asian restaurant) is best. Put a little in your nostrils and ears to protect from dryness. Do a quick foot massage in the airport or on the plane with a longer flight. Oil has the guru property of containment- containing your energetic integrity.
Use essential oils.
They are a great rescue remedy that fit into any purse. You can also go through security with small bottles when air travelling. Essential oils are power houses as they carry the essence of plants in just a few drops. Try sage, peppermint, tea tree, lemon, frankincense, lavender.
Putting various drops of essential oils on key places such as the crown of the head, palms of the hands, wrists and soles of the feet ground and seal in your energy and prevents your energy from moving in all directions. You can also add a few drops to your base oil to add scent for massage.
SYNC WITH THE SUN & EARTH
Imitate the sun cycle of the time zone in which you will be arriving. Set your watch to know. If it's am there, be more active on the plane. If it's night time, use an eye mask and either sleep or meditate with wakeful awareness. Adjust to the sun cycle upon landing. Wake up as close to dawn in your new location and move your body and your breath. Touch the earth, smell a flower.
Print this out and keep it with you, as you prepare for your next plane travel. Even if you can't manage all of these travel tips, choose a few that sound enticing, grounding and enjoyable and give them a try.