Posts Tagged ‘Constitution’

6+ holistic tips for healthier, more comfortable air travel

Whether you’re planning a visit with loved ones, a business trip or another adventure, thinking ahead with a holistic approach can make your flight more enjoyable and get you to your destination feeling your best.

There’s no doubt flying can take a toll on your body, especially with frequent or long-distance travel. Throughout my years of flying, I’ve developed a strategy for healthy air travel that helps me enjoy being on the plane, lower the effects of jetlag and restore balance to my body. Add some of these ideas to your upcoming travel plans if you’d like to arrive feeling more relaxed, refreshed and healthy.

1. Understand how travel affects your body

When you fly, your vata can naturally be aggravated, causing gas and bloating. Traveling also naturally dehydrates the body. Consuming nurturing foods is one of your best allies in preventing jetlag, balancing your vata and transforming you into a pro traveler.

Not familiar with vata? Vata is one of the three doshas, a foundational concept in Ayurveda that can help you understand yourself better. Doshas are essentially energetic forces found within everyone and everything, but in different ratios. When your doshas become aggravated or imbalanced, they can disrupt your body in many ways. The good news: Ayurveda offers many natural remedies to restore balance, heal and even prevent health issues.  

2. Nourish and hydrate your body with healthy air travel in mind

  • Eat a healthy meal with greens and low-sodium foods before boarding so you are not at the mercy of high-sodium airline foods.
  • Drink plenty of water before and during the flight to stay hydrated. Dehydration increases jet Take tea bags of your favorite herbal caffeine-free tea. Peppermint and ginger are great choices to sooth your stomach, and chamomile will help you to relax and sleep on overnight flights. Bring an empty water bottle that you can refill and keep with you, too.
  • Consume fruits high in vitamin C like oranges and lemon to give your immune system a boost prior to flying. Drinking water with lemon is a great choice.
  • Consider supplements like the I Travel Well liquid extract from Banyan Botanicals. I add it to water, and I love that it helps calm the mind and energize the body.
  • Pack healthy foods. Nuts are my go-to food when I fly. I roast raw nuts at home with lots of different herbs, vata pacifying spices and a touch of pink salt so they are full of flavor. Healthy snacks like nuts and fresh fruit can also be great for curbing hunger during meetings or excursions, until you’re able to grab a healthy meal.
  • Avoid alcohol and coffee. It’s not only going to increase your jetlag upon arrival, but the sugar in certain drinks can also agitate you and prevent sleep.

3. Dress comfortably

I am one not to compromise style, especially if traveling for business or arriving at a stylish destination. At the same time, I’ve learned that there is no point in looking good at boarding and a complete wreck at my destination.

  • Wear clothing made with soft stretchy fabrics and comfy tops. The last thing you want is to have your belly compressed by skinny jeans and tight buttons during a flight. Cashmere, cotton tops and leggings are great options.
  • Bring layers. Airplanes tend to be cold, so I always have a few layers in my carry-on and an extra pair of comfy socks.
  • If you wear high heels, leave them for when you land. A good pair of sneakers is my best friend walking through terminals and the easiest fit after a long flight.
  • Stow jewelry if you can. Fingers and wrists get swollen during flights. When possible, I keep my rings, bracelet and watch inside my carry-on or purse. It’s not only more comfortable to sleep, but I won’t have to use soap to squeeze the rings off of my fingers.

4. Tune into your personal care

Your skin can be affected by the airplane’s dry air and also LED lights. Most of the time, I wash my face with mild soap and hydrate my face and eye areas more. There is a good selection of balms and face oils that work wonders.

  • If you wear makeup when you fly, apply a serum prior to boarding and add a thick layer of moisturizer under your makeup. Before arrival, you could even use wipes to freshen up your face and apply a quick coat of makeup.
  • Protect your skin from LED lights and sunlight. Most plane windows are not tinted and will cause skin damage. The LED lights have the same effect as sunlight, so apply your SPF as your part of your normal beauty routine.
  • Flight attendants swear by face mist. I took their advice and on long flights I carry a small bottle of rose water or jasmin. I not only love the smell, but also keeps my face hydrated.
  • Hands and cuticles also need care. Carry a travel-size hand cream and apply as often as possible.

5. Relax and get your Zs

While there are plenty ways to pass the time on a flight, air travel can offer you can that perfect opportunity to do what can be challenging elsewhere: simply relax. Try these ideas to get as much R&R or Zs as possible.

  • Try to avoid blue light. I personally prefer reading over watching movies or working on any electronic device. The blue light will affect your levels of sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. Reading can also help you fall asleep. If you do watch a movie or work on your computer, listen to calm music after—it will help you to relax.
  • Mediate! Even if you are not familiar with this practice, there are plenty of apps with guided meditations that are super helpful at all times. I use the Insight Timer app during flights. It helps me to stay relaxed but also prevents me from listening to the loud engine noise.
  • Follow a bedtime routine. If you’re taking an overnight flight, brush your teeth, wash your face and follow as many other bedtime rituals as possible. Bring an eye mask as well. Sunlight is a major part of our internal (circadian) clock, so I find that a soft eye mask helps my body adjust to a new time zone.
  • Apply lavender, Jatamansi and nutmeg oils on the crown of the head and temples. These essential oils can promote better sleep. You can apply them to pillows and bedding as well. Look for a USDA organic source, such as Floracopeia.

6. Make adjustments upon arrival

There are few things I like to do at my new destination to give me a fresh start, and they help me recover from jetlag.

  • Continue drinking water and eating nourishing meals. Green juices are another favorite for healthy
  • Eat smaller portions more often during the first few days if changing time zones. I find this helps me adjust to the local meal times.
  • Take a nice shower using favorite lotions and potions. This practice makes me feel grounded and like I’m at home.
  • Do self-massage (abhyanga) upon arrival, which nourishes your tissues and is very grounding for the nervous system. Choose an oil appropriate for your constitution:
    • Vata: a warm, grounding oil like untoasted sesame or almond
    • Pitta: a cool, hydrating oil like coconut
    • Kapha: a light, warming oil like almond or sesame
  • Schedule extra time for rest after a long day of adventure, meetings or running around, or even in between activities.

Next time you fly, experiment with some of my tips and see what works best for your own body.

Here’s to healthy, comfy and safe travels!

Luciana

Comments Off on 6+ holistic tips for healthier, more comfortable air travel

Ayurveda and the doshas: setting the foundation for better balance and health

In our busy world, finding balance can often feel like a crazy, uncoordinated dance. We often over-caffeinate and over-stimulate, staying close to screens and allowing our interactions and workloads to overwhelm and stress us. We also turn to food as comfort instead of medicine, tending to look away from our habits and questioning whether our lifestyles truly suit us. But there is another way, a better way, one that helps bring awareness to our imbalances, empowers us to make changes to our bodies and bring health rituals to our daily lives—and that’s Ayurveda, the world’s oldest intact healing science.

Ayurveda spices for health and healing-blog Blueberry Bunch by Luciana Ferraz

Practiced in India for over 5,000 years, Ayurveda (which translates to “science of life” in Sanskrit) has been gaining more attention in the western world. Although it’s an ancient science, Ayurveda offers many practical applications for our lives today. By gaining a few insights into its basic principles, you can set the foundation for how to apply Ayurveda to your own life.

Understanding your body type in terms of Ayurvedic doshas

According to Ayurveda, you have a unique constitution, established when you were conceived, that represents your natural mental, emotional and physical state. Your constitution is made up of a ratio of the three doshas (energetic forces of nature)—Vata, Pitta and Kapha—and you’re likely to have one or two doshas that are predominant.

While your constitution will remain unaltered during your lifetime, your constitution does respond to changes in your environment. I’ll explain the significance of this in the next section, but first I’ll give you some detail on each dosha so you identify a few unique characteristics.

Vata

  • Composed primarily of these natural elements: air and ether
  • Governs these functions in the body: movement of all biological activity, including elimination and breathing.
  • Signs of a balanced Vata individual: creative, artistic, sharp, quick thinking and loving

Pitta

  • Composed primarily of these natural elements: fire and water
  • Governs these functions in the body: digestion, metabolic functions and body temperature
  • Signs of a balanced Pitta individual: energized, sharp and quick minded, goal-oriented, productive and enthusiastic

Kapha

  • Composed primarily of these natural elements: water and earth
  • Governs these functions in the body: provides the body its structure, form, nutrition and groundedness.
  • Signs of a balanced Kapha individual: calm, dependable, loving and affectionate

Knowing your primary dosha and how it can become imbalanced

Knowing your constitution (which one or two doshas are primary for you) is key. It will help you know what imbalances you’re susceptible to, issues those imbalances can cause, and how to bring harmony and healing to your body.

While you can experience an imbalance in any of your doshas, you’re likely to be most affected by an imbalance in your primary dosha. Each dosha is associated with certain health issues, which can include disruptions to your sleep, energy levels and the function of many systems (respiratory, reproductive, digestive, muscular, neurological, etc.).

So, what factors can aggravate your dosha and create disease? There are many, including the food you eat, what you drink, your emotional state, relationships, exercise routine, workplace, environment, how you sleep, the climate/weather, sounds and stress. Again, what affects you is very personal and related to your constitution.

Restoring balance to your constitution

Ayurveda offers you many holistic ways to get your individual equilibrium back, heal your body and prevent disease. Empowering you with lifestyle changes and rituals that are specific to your constitution, Ayurveda takes the preventative approach of Eastern medicine, rather than the curative approach of Western medicine, to keep you well.

When you or your Ayurvedic counselor recognize an imbalance in your primary dosha, these are a few ways you might address it.

How to balance Vata:

  • Eat a Vata-balancing diet. This may include eating warm, lubricating, grounding foods that are rich in healthy fats and protein as well as sweet, sour and salty tastes—while avoiding fried, cold, raw and low-fat foods.
  • Take time for self-care and allow plenty of time in between activities.
  • Practice Pilates, yoga and meditation, and take long walks.
  • Perform Abyangha, a self-massage with oils soothing for Vata, such as sesame oil.
  • Use a diffuser with calming essential oils, such as clary sage, vanilla and clove.

How to balance Pitta:

  • Eat a Pitta-balancing diet. This may include eating cool, astringent, sweet and bitter foods, including lighter proteins, dark greens, peppermint tea and lime—while avoiding red meat, caffeine, excessive spices and foods that are deep fried or processed.
  • Make time to relax and play, but limit competitive activities that could aggravate you.
  • Practice yoga, swimming, biking or fast walks while avoiding the warmest times of the day.
  • Play soothing music.
  • Use a diffuser with calming essential oils, such as lavender, rose and lime.

How to balance Kapha:

  • Eat a Kapha-balancing diet. This may include eating fresh cooked vegetables; lighter proteins; light grains like quinoa, millet and buckwheat; and especially astringent, pungent and bitter foods—while avoiding high-fat foods, dairy, gluten, red meat, sugar, salt and foods that are fried, processed or sour.
  • Practice self-acceptance and positive body image.
  • Practice cardiovascular activities, such as biking, running, martial arts or any other vigorous type of exercise.
  • Use a diffuser with uplifting essential oils, such as tulsi, cinnamon and frankincense.

More Ayurveda resources and support

Want to discover dietary recommendations and other ways to integrate Ayurveda into your life? I’ll be posting more about Ayurvedic living in the future. I also welcome you to connect with me personally to learn more about your unique constitution, and how to support yourself with this ancient science of life.

Until next time, live well!

Luciana

Comments Off on Ayurveda and the doshas: setting the foundation for better balance and health