Dear yoginis and yogis,
March is a big-time travel month for Yoga in Action: I am writing to you from the French Pyrenees, I will be between London and Paris next week, and I am off to discover fascinating Australia via Singapore at the end of the month! I love travelling, both for business and pleasure, and I know I am very privileged to be able to do so.
Nevertheless, as a sensitive yogini, I also know that I risk getting what’s called “vata imbalance” in ayurveda.
This ancient Indian healing system says that travel brings “too much air” to the system and therefore unsettles the body and the mind. So, it is important to balance all that travelling with a few tricks.
One of my friends and former teachers, Christopher of Madhura Yoga (now based in Biarritz), used to say that when we travel by plane, the physical body travels faster than the “subtle” body, and that it helps to practice several rounds of sun salutations on arrival to reunite the two. (I would add in a few seated asanas, held a bit longer than usual with a deep slow breath).
The Uruguayans have a lovely expression which mirrors this belief: they say that when you get off a plane, your “soul has not arrived yet”, and that it takes a day or two to rest, until the soul gets where your body is.
One simple trick that helps a lot is to spend time outside at your destination straight away, and if possible with your bare feet on the earth. This is called “grounding” or “earthing” and it allows your body to attune itself to the vibration of the new place. Apparently there is a lot of science to back this up.
If your skin or digestion send you signals of distress, if you have trouble sleeping and your mind is out of focus, chances are your “vata” is a bit too high. In general, it is helpful to drink lots of hot herbal teas, sit in silence for a while, and massage warm oil onto your body to appease the “vata” element, which we all tend to have a bit too much of if we live in a fast-paced city and don’t get a chance to relax in a natural environment on a daily basis.
Remember, you can’t be of help to other people if you don’t make sure you are full of energy!
Safe travels wherever you may be,