With a passion for adventure and a desire for deep connection, travel has become engrained in my lifestyle. I have created a life which fuses together my passion for teaching and travel, leading retreat immersions (in some of the most gorgeous places on Earth!) which means I spend a lot of time moving between countries and time zones. Besides my love for travel, movement is inherent to me as my main Ayurvedic constitution is Vata (air + space) which means I naturally move quickly, adapt easily, take on too many projects at once and talk...a lot! With a lifestyle that rarely involves set structure and planned routine, it's vital for my health to follow simple, yet transformative routines.
When we travel our bodies and minds are stimulated with change in environments and energies. Our senses are exposed to new sights, sounds, smells and tastes which can lead to over stimulation and imbalances. Imbalances show up differently for all of us, however the most common during travel come in the form of exhaustion, stress, anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues and even disease. Our bodies naturally have amazing physical capacities to heal, however, it takes awareness and effort to stay grounded, healthy and balanced in both body and mind.
Below are my top tips for accessible practices that personally help keep me feeling vibrant on a daily basis, no matter where I am in the world!
1. Hydrate hydrate hydrate!
Water is one of the most over looked and simplest ways we can nourish. Water naturally cleanses, moisturizes, maintains and rejuvenates our entire body - organs, muscles, joints, skin. Reduce your caffeine intake (especially when on long distance travels!) and instead drink water or soothing herbal teas.
During Travel: carry a BPA free bottle by your side as a reminder to hydrate and refill when there is fresh water supply to save money and reduce wastes! Carry herbal tea bags with you - they are light and barely take up space, and may be a life saver when in rural areas!
2. Eat more color! enjoy as many fresh, unprocessed foods and remember, less can be more.
Almost anyone who has an interest in their health (and tastebuds!) is aware that a balanced diet is imperative to our health. Ayurveda believes that each meal should incorporate the six tastes (sweet, salty, sour, pungent, bitter, astringent) as each taste produces a different effect on our body-mind physiology. A variety in diet will represent all food groups, nutrients and will leave you feeling more satisfied.
Each person's diet will vary depending on their body type (it's okay if you cannot survive solely on a vegan/vegetarian diet) however, as a general rule of thumb, eat more fresh, local and unprocessed foods.
In traditional cultures it is believed that our health begins with a strong 'hara' or 'agni' or the internal fire, known as the digestive system. Simply put, when the body's digestive 'flow' is working well, you releases toxins and absorb nutrients needed to fuel your body and mind.
The most transformative way to shift your diet is to eliminate and reduce processed foods and unhealthy substances (white sugars/flour, alcohol, caffeine) for more wholesome foods (raw/coconut sugar, pure maple syrup, whole wheat, grains, green/rooibis/chamomile teas). Reduce your intake of heavy foods to digest such as dairy (cow milk, cheeses, yoghurt, ice cream) and instead begin to incorporate alternative plant based foods (almond/oat/rice milk, tahini, nut spreads) - you may surprise yourself at how quickly the cravings subside and your body begins to ask for healthier options!
During Travel: bring a small emergency stash of nuts, seeds, goji berries & dried fruits which won't expire and are nutritionally rich. Homemade raw 'granola' bars filled with all of these ingredients are also great options. Some of my personal favorites are GoMacro or Perfect Bar.
3. Indulge in juices: An easy and delicious way to boost immunity is through juicing, especially when you don't have time to prepare fresh foods or don't have access to them. Drinking your veggies and fruits in liquid form gives your digestive system a break from eating solid foods and allows a natural cleanse to occur, releasing excess toxins and re-energizing your organs. Look for cold pressed juice or juices which have no additives (sneaky sugars) or preservatives (dangerous chemicals) so you get the benefits of living enzymes from your juice. Soak up Mother Nature's vitamins and super foods to stay energized, mentally alert, and vibrant!
During Travel: treat yourself to juice when its available, even if it is a fresh squeezed orange juice - a healthy dose of Vitamin C is always great for immunity!
What makes cold pressed juice so special?
The fresh fruits and vegetables are pressed using a hydraulic press juicer that applies a tremendous amount of pressure to extract the nectar directly from the pulp. The pressing action (instead of blending or grinding) won't oxidize or degrade the fruits and vegetables and will keep the nutrients and enzymes intact. With a blender, the fruits and vegetables are being cut and ground by a blade and are exposed to heat, which removes many of the essential vitamins, enzymes, proteins, and minerals that we want from our juice. Pressed juice is simply the closest thing to raw, pure fruit or vegetables, and allows you to get a concentrated amount of nutrients that would otherwise be difficult to achieve just by eating raw fruits and vegetables alone. - Pressed Juices
4. Touch the Earth: Get grounded physically. Immerse yourself in nature with a swim in the sea, walk barefoot or sit in a garden. Get as connected directly to the earth as possible for it least 20 minutes a day. Spend time outdoors breathing in fresh air and soaking up the sunshine. Nature has incredible healing properties which can help us to slow down, reconnect and relax.
During Travel: find sunny places to sit, attune to the rhythm of your breath and take off your shoes to feel a connection with the ground.
5. Move your body: Visualise your body as a beautiful map full of highways, roads, trails, rivers, lakes, streams - these act as communication pathways to entire physiology and must stay clear and unblocked in order to transport nutrients and circulate blood, fluid, oxygen and energy. Pathways become easily blocked without continual movement (especially joints, when traveling and sitting for long periods of time during transit!) which leads to a build up of tension and strain.
Movement is one of the simplest ways to keep the circulation of healthy bodily fluids and energy flowing. Our bodies should have a minimum of 30 minutes per day of cardiovascular strengthening to maintain a healthy heart. Walking, running, hiking and playing sports are all ways to include intervals of movement. Include a holistic practice which encourages breath in alignment with therapeutic movements and mindfulness, such as Yoga, T'ai Chi and Chi-gong. It's vital to begin or sustain a holistic practice for body-mind-spirit health. Create a self-practice which is accessible and enjoyable. Your self-practice is yours - it doesn't need to 'look a certain way' or even include 'postures or forms'. You can be as playful, creative and open minded with your body as feels good.
During Travel: opt for the stairways instead of escalators, walk rather than take a taxi, rotate joints (neck, wrists, elbows, ankles) and stand up every hour while on long journeys. Choose the same time daily which you can dedicate to your self-practice and start slow -- 10 minutes a day is better than none! Buy a thin travel yoga mat which can be easily folded - my personal favorite is Manduka!
6. Let your body be still: use your intuition and listen to what your body/mind is craving - there is a time for movement and a time for stillness. Both are important to our longevity and must be incorporated equally for optimal health.
Start with a healthy sleep pattern. Despite disrupted sleep schedules during transit, aim for 6-8 hours of restful sleep to feel alert and energized. Restful sleep means that you’re not using substances to sleep and you are sleeping soundly through the night. If you feel energetic and vibrant when you wake up, you have had a night of restful sleep. The best way to ensure restful sleep is to follow a pattern that follows the natural rhythms of nature: rising within an hour of the sun and sleeping before midnight when the hours are most rejuvenating.
If you're feeling tired and need to nap during the day, do so. It is more important to give yourself rest then to over extend and reduce your immunity.
And as important as physical sleep is for our bodies, peace and quiet is vital for our minds. The best way to still your mind, enhance your focus and energize is through meditation.
It can be done anywhere, anytime and for any length.
Meditation is proven to have higher results when practiced daily. Begin to incorporate a short meditation each morning/night of 5 minutes. With time you can slowly increase the time you sit as you become more comfortable.
During Travel: place a cushion or a pair of jeans (evenly folded) under your hips to encourage a lengthened spine for your meditation. Before travel download a relaxation app or sound healing songs on your phone so you can plug in and tune out, even when you don't have your own personal quiet space.
7. Create sacred spaces: create spaces which are comforting and inspiring. It can be as simple as putting something you love in the space you are inhabiting, such as a fresh flowers/plants, seashells or photos of loved ones. Open windows for natural light and fresh air and keep spaces as physically clean as possible. You will feel more in tune with your personal space (which is so important when traveling and outside of your normal comfort zone!) and create a sense of bhakti or devotion which will keep you feeling safe, nourished and connected.
During Travel: organize your belongings and unpack as much as you can, make your bed and light your favorite inscent, candle or make a soothing essential oil spray blend with water to clear the space.
LAUREN LEE E-RYT 500 is passionate about living with purpose, exploring the world, and empowering others to live as their most authentic, radiant Self. Founder of Raise Your Beat, dedicated teacher and forever student on the path of yoga, she leads transformational workshops, retreats and trainings to awaken the individual and collective consciousness. Read more about her here