Many of us will be traveling this holiday–by the end of travel, we will likely feel exhausted and out of whack, but then need to jump right into the whirl of holiday festivities. At some point during or after our visit, we might be bloated, constipated or even sick.
This is because travel specifically disrupts the flow of Vata in our systems. Vata is responsible for the smooth flow of movement, regulation and elimination. Travel is especially hard on Vata because it often requires that we sit in one position for a long time, carry heavy suitcases and bags, move quickly and then stop, and stand in long lines—all of which are specific causes for disruption of Vata, especially for its function of eliminating wastes. Thus, many find their bowel function discombobulated during or after travel.
If we are flying, these causes can be especially pronounced and jetting through the air at high speed is a sure recipe for extreme Vata aggravation.
Then, when we get to our destination we engage in parties and gatherings where it’s easy to overeat and overdo, talk a lot and loudly, and eat a lot of foods that are dry—crackers and chips—and also those that are heavy and rich—desserts, cream sauces, etc. We stay up late and get up early. These things aggravate the flow of Vata even more.
So what to do?
Abhyanga (oil massage with warm oil) is the easiest thing to do to regulate Vata, but how do you do that when you’re traveling? Pretty easy, with some planning ahead.
Here are some tips….
- Put your abhyanga oil into a 3.4 ounce plastic travel container. This will allow you to carry the oil in your carry-on luggage. Larger containers can be carried in your checked luggage.
2. Seal the container by taping tape (I used masking tape, it seems to work the best) around the gap between the cap and the bottle. Seal the disc or spout cap with masking tape too, so nothing can leak out. Wrap the bottle in either a paper towel (just to be safe!) or a plastic bag and put in your travel kit.
3. The morning after you arrive, get some hot water in a cup and place your unsealed abhyanga oil bottle into the cup. It is important to not let the hot water level in the cup be above the oil level in the bottle. You can also open the top so that heat can escape. Most travel bottles are not that sturdy and will deform if overheated.
When you are packing, pack an old towel, some old pajamas or a robe that you don’t mind being oily in and some old socks. You can spread the towel on the floor to stand on while doing the abhyanga (to spare your host’s towels and floor) and then wear the old pajamas or robe and socks to pad about until you’re ready to take a shower.
It’s also important to remember that if you don’t have enough time to oil your whole body, then you can oil the most important areas–your head, your ears and your feet.
I’ve found that wetting your hair, then applying conditioner, rinsing, then shampooing, seems to work best to get the oil residue out of your hair.
Doing this everyday, before your shower, will help you stay grounded and will counteract the effect of hectic travels and holiday whirl.