5 TIPS TO HELP YOU STAY BALANCED WHEN TRAVELING
Finally, after more than 2 years of Covid restrictions, traveling is back on. It seems like this summer, everybody wanted to be on the road! This is not surprising. We love traveling because it brings us beyond the ordinary into the extraordinary; it gives us insight, inspiration, and experience. Traveling educates us by showing us different cultures, peoples, and points of view. It is refreshing and fascinating. However, traveling can be very unsettling and bring us out of balance quickly if we do not pay attention. So it is because of these two main reasons:
1. Traveling increases Vata Dosha (in Ayurveda, holistic medicine that is closely related to Yoga, every person has a unique constitution made up of three Doshas: Vata, Pita, and Kapha). Vata is composed of air and ether, and its main principle is movement. Some of us are Vata dominant, and some have only a little amount of it.
But Vata is the first Dosha that comes out of balance. Think about this: traveling is movement. Movement is Vata. So traveling increases Vata, and that may cause imbalances in our system, like digestive issues, restlessness, and nervousness.
2. When we travel, we feel more free and adventurous. That encourages us to try new things, take more risks than we would usually dare to take, to go out of our routine. And this is great! But because we go out of the routine, we may tend to fall into unhealthy food and sleep patterns which bring us out of balance.
Physical, mental, and emotional balance is a state of well-being. When we are balanced, we don’t get tired easily, our weight is stable, and we can think and act more clearly and effortlessly. This is why it is important to stay centered and balanced from within when we travel. But it is not always possible to stay balanced! Traveling will throw you out of balance. But the good news is that we have plenty of tools and practices that support the internal balance. Here are my favorite ways and practices that will help you stay in balance when traveling:
1. Have a daily routine
Routine will keep you centered and grounded. What routines keep you grounded and calm at home that you don’t do when traveling? Maybe it is preparing ginger tea with lemon every morning. It may be doing your yoga practice, going for a run, sitting on the meditation cushion, or journaling. Maintaining your daily routine and rituals as much as possible will keep you grounded and calm. I love to maintain my regular yoga practice when traveling, and I always travel with my yoga mat! Specific practices, asana sequences, breath work, and meditations aim to center and ground you. In this post, you will find more information about Yogic practices
that bring you back to balance.
2. Ground yourself daily
As mentioned before, traveling can be very unsettling, and it may feel like losing your ground. Hatha Yoga provides us with great grounding tools. One of them is abdominal breath. It is so simple. Take a breath into the abdomen (of course, you are not really breathing air into the abdomen… it is the diaphragm muscle that pushes the belly out), and allow it to expand. As you exhale slowly, allow the belly to sink back towards the
spine. Keep your awareness of the breath in your belly. Breath like these for three to five minutes and notice the difference! Your mind will transition into the rhythm of relaxation, and your body will let go of the tension. Another great way to ground is to practice restorative yoga poses (poses that we hold passively, for longer periods of time). They include child’s pose, half-pigeon pose, supine twist, or knee-to-chest pose.
3. Take care of your feet
When we travel, we use our legs more than usual. There is a lot of sightseeing, going on trips, maybe hiking or dining out… our legs can feel heavy, sore or we get blisters. I can definitely relate to that. Can you? Anytime during the day, place a cushion by the wall. Lay on the side so you can slip on that cushion and put your legs against the wall. Rest like this for at least 5 minutes. This pose is extremely restorative and rejuvenating. Your legs will feel new again! In the evening, wash your feet and massage them with good quality foot cream or
coconut oil. You can additionally use essential oils like lavender (my favorite), bergamot, or frankincense.
4. Drink warm water in the morning and in between meals
Warm water is soothing for the abdominal organs and improves digestion. It prepares your system for the day. In between the meals, warm water will help you resist unhealthy snacking and allow your stomach to get ready for the next meal. This simple routine will help you stay balanced and feel vital, even if you cannot stick to your usual routine.
5. Nourish yourself
As much as I love traveling, the problem is that on the road, there are often no foods available that I really like or that are healthy enough. Can you relate? For that reason, having your favorite snacks (mines are dark chocolate and almonds) can be life-saving. It will help you avoid snacking on unhealthy foods or falling into bad eating patterns. To nourish my body, having your essential supplements can be very supportive. Stay
hydrated, eat well, and avoid processed food. Remember, you are what you eat. The healthier and more balanced your diet, the healthier and balanced you will feel when traveling. For more tips on returning to balance, read my previous blog, “How to bring yourself back into balance.”
What other tools or practices help you stay balanced when traveling?