Does travel and jet lag tend to leave you drained and feeling spacey? Do you often get constipated, dehydrated, or anxiety-ridden when you travel for long periods of time? Travel disrupts the internal rhythms and the biological clock of the body. No matter if you are traveling by car, train, or plane, the transportation is moving at higher speeds than your body is used to. This is why the faster the transportation (depending on time-elapsed) can have worse effects of lethargy and dehydration. The high speeds induce spacy, light, and mobile qualities in your system. These qualities aggravate the Vata dosha. Vata is the subtle energy that governs movement. Imbalanced Vata can leave people vulnerable to insomnia, constipation, dehydration, anxiety, sluggish digestion, and feeling spacey.
Ayurveda offers some great tips to stay energized and keep your immune system up as you travel!
How to begin your journey and stay rested with natural sedatives:
• In the few days before your flight try to maintain a consistent sleep pattern. • An hour before you embark on your journey, swallow a ginger or cinnamon capsule or powder. This will strengthen your Agni (digestive fire), keep your immune system high, improve your circulation, and help digest the airplane food. • Drink mint tea or tagar (Indian Valerian). Tagar is similar to melatonin and will increase sleep during travel. To take tagar, put ¼ tsp. of powdered tagar on your tongue (or valerian root capsules) and wash it down with water. Do this before you depart and repeat around every 6 hours depending on the length of the travel. Do not take tagar and drive.
Food for the plane and after your flight:
• Avoid peanuts and crackers, as they are heavy, drying, and hard to digest. • Eat citrus fruits and ask for orange juice between meals. The sour taste keeps the colon hydrated and flowing. • Drink lots of water and avoid coffee, caffeinated tea, large quantities of alcohol and soda. These all have dehydrating effects on the body. A glass of wine with your meal on an international flight is okay. Three tablespoons of wine can increase your Agni (digestive fire.) • Avoid dry foods like salad, chips, and dried fruit. Eat warm, cooked foods. Some great things to eat are steamed veggies, lentils, hot soups, and kitchari with ghee.
Sunshine reduces jet lag. If you reach your destination and it’s still daylight, soak in the sun for 20 minutes.
If you experience constipation after your flight, try taking ½ to 1 tsp. of triphala with a cup of hot water or triphala capsules. Triphala is an amazing ayurvedic herbal remedy that regulates the bowels, prevents constipation, and cleanses the colon.
Warmed almond milk or milk with cardamom and saffron help relieves anxiety and promotes sleep.
Stretch your body and do some gentle yoga with some inverted postures if that is in your practice.
Before going to bed, massage your body from scalp with warm sesame oil. Then take a hot bath with magnesium or shower.
Try to adapt to the local time immediately. Reset your alarm and go to bed and get up at normal times that you would at home. Napping only prolongs the lethargy of jet lag.
Lastly, enjoy! You are in a new place with family and/or friends.