Stress-Free Holiday Travel: Traveling Tips From Maharishi Ayurveda

Long delays and canceled flights...traffic jams...inclement weather...crowds.....all these factors and more can make traveling during the holiday season a nightmare for many people. Yet, getting together with friends and family is a big part of what makes the season so special.

It's possible to travel stress-free. Once you understand what imbalances are caused by travel, you can take steps to protect yourself and prevent the imbalances from developing.

Imbalances caused by travel

Vata dosha in general tends to get disturbed during travel. In particular, continuous sitting disturbs Apana Vata, which controls the downward movements of elimination and purification. Traveling in fast-moving vehicles and an unpredictable routine aggravates Prana Vata, which controls mental and emotional balance. Pachaka Pitta, responsible for digestion, can also get disrupted by an irregular schedule of meals and sleep.

Steps to stay balanced

The Council of Maharishi Ayurveda Physicians offers these practical suggestions to maintain your physical, mental and emotional equilibrium through travel and hectic times:

Before travel (for at least a week before departure)

Be meticulous about adhering to a regular routine. Taking pains to keep Vata in balance before you begin your journey will help you withstand stress, time pressure, multiple demands and unpredictability better. This means eating your meals at about the same times each day, with lunch being around noon and dinner about 3 hours before you go to bed. It means going to bed by 10:00 p.m. and getting an adequate amount of sleep. It means planning tasks in advance so you are hurrying around less.

Eat Vata and Pitta pacifying meals. Sweet lassi is an excellent lunchtime beverage. Avoid extremely sour foods such as pickles and vinegar and very spicy foods such as cayenne or hot chili peppers. Eat plenty of sweet juicy fruits, warm milk blended with Organic Rose Petal Spread, light proteins such as mung beans. For specific food guidelines for each dosha, please visit the food section at

Do a daily self-massage with Moisturizing Herbal Massage Oil. Massage helps boost circulation, enhances mind/body coordination, keeps the skin lubricated and tones muscles. The aches and pains and minor stiffness from sitting for long hours in cramped places that tend to crop up during travel will be minimized, and your resilience and energy levels during and after travel will be higher.

A scalp and head massage at least three times a week can be very helpful. The Aroma Massage Oils from Maharishi Ayurveda are light yet therapeutic. Gently warm a couple of teaspoons of the oil. Persons with longer hair may need more, to cover all the hair as well as the scalp. The oil should be warm enough to be soothing, not uncomfortably hot. Pour the oil on your palm and apply it evenly all over the scalp and the back of the neck close to the hairline. Using your fingertips, gently massage the oil into the scalp, working the oil in for about 4-5 minutes. Ideally the oil should be left on overnight (use a shower cap to protect your bed-linens) and shampooed off the next morning. If leaving it on overnight is impractical for you, leave it on for 2-3 hours, then shampoo your hair well to rinse it off.

Take vitality-enhancing rasayanas such as Amrit or Premium Amla Berry. Rasayanas have the ability to boost natural immunity, increase resilience to day-to-day stress and build energy levels. You'll stay fighting fit even if the people sitting around you have fallen prey to the latest bug floating around.

Eat cooked prunes and figs at breakfast to ensure regular elimination. The build-up of toxic matter (ama) in the physiology is what leads to disorders. Make sure that wastes are regularly flushed from the system. Take Herbal Cleanse capsules if you experience occasional constipation. If your digestion if off-balance, take the Herbal Di-Gest tablets. To balance excess stomach acid, take Aci-Balance.

During travel

Drink Organic Vata Tea or Worry Free Tea. These herbal teas are especially formulated to pacify Vata-related imbalances. Avoid carbonated or ice-cold beverages, because they disrupt digestion. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Eat fresh fruit and light, easy-to-digest foods. These will help keep Vata and Pitta in balance. Avoid "junk" foods or heavy, hard-to-digest foods.

Listen to soothing music, such as an appropriate Gandharva Veda melody, or meditate.

Diffuse Vata or Worry Free Aroma through a personal diffuser or aroma locket to help keep Vata dosha in balance.If you feel nausea, eat some fresh ginger or add some fresh ginger to Organic Vata Tea and sip on it. Research has shown that ginger can help prevent motion sickness.

After travel

Drink lots of warm water through the day to replenish moisture levels and assist in cleansing the channels of the body. Eat light yet nourishing foods such as mung bean soup for a few days to allow your digestion to adjust. Continue to drink Organic Vata Tea or Worry Free Tea, two or three cups a day.

A daily massage will enhance circulation and calm the mind and nervous system.

Finally, catch up on rest.

The sole purpose of these articles is to provide information about the tradition of ayurveda. This information is not intended for use in the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease. If you have any serious acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your needs and address them effectively. If you are seeking the medical advice of a trained ayurvedic expert, call or e-mail us for the number of a physician in your area. Check with your doctor before taking herbs or using essential oils when pregnant or nursing.