With the holidays coming up, I know a lot of you will be doing some kind of travel to see friends and loved ones or to get away for much needed breaks. Traveling presents us with life-changing experiences, but trains, planes and cars can put stress on our bodies both mentally and physically causing a build-up of muscle tension and disrupt the normal energy flow in the body. From an Ayurvedic perspective, travel increases vata in the body, or the element of which can cause use to feel tired, out of sync, less grounded and dry – skin, mucos membrance and mentality.
Here are a few suggestions to balance out the dry and airy qualities that can make travel more aggravating to the system:
- Remember to breathe when you sit down- perhaps the most important component of our yoga practice is to focus on the breath. Stretch those thoracic muscles, close your eyes and take a few, SLOW, DEEP nourishing breaths. On your journey try to take three slow deep breaths every time you sit down.
- Take a moment to listen – Listening meditations are one of my favorite ways to get centered and calm when traveling. It is easy to get caught up in all of the newness of travel, find a moment or two to really listen and hear all the sounds and vibrations happening around you. Don’t get caught up in identifying just listen to all the sounds that are in our experience. You might be surprised how your mind begins to quiet.
- Practice Tadasana while standing in line – It feels like there are SO many lines to wait in while you travel. Try practicing mountain pose (tad asana) at lease one in each line your are in. Ground through your feet, lengthen your spine and let the crown of your head lift towards the sky. Imagine your torso is rooted deep into the center of the earth and your head floats high above peaceful clouds – like a mountain. It is a wonderful way to stay grounded and connected in a busy and chaotic environment.
- Designate time for your yoga practice – Whether you can give a few minutes of sun salutations in the morning or just do child’s pose on your hotel room floor (or bed!) before you go to sleep. Schedule time for your practice that is achievable.
A few poses you can keep in your back pocket while traveling include: Cat & Cow, Downward Facing Dog, Half Pigeon Pose and Happy Baby to relieve that tension.
Travel challenges us and gives us the opportunity to find our strength and to grow. Yoga reminds us to breathe and reflect while the world around us can be chaotic. A few simple changes to your routine will bring you huge benefits while you travel and will help relieve pain or tension, keep you present and make your travels more enjoyable.