In the ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda, when someone is wiped out from too much travel, they call it vata deranged. Vata is the element of air and movement, and when you travel a lot you can become ‘airy,’ unstable, imbalanced. In Energy Medicine Yoga, we learn how the body can become ungrounded and out of synch with the polarity of the earth and the energetic time zones that we entrain to when we live someplace. That is the basis for jet lag. You live in one time zone and when you fly, you’re very quickly shot into another.
But you don’t have to fly to the other side of the world to feel tired from traveling. If you commute to work every day you could become drained. Even driving to a weekend getaway, a mere few hours from your home, can take a toll on the energetics of your body, leaving you exhausted after your supposedly restful weekend away.
There are some great Energy Medicine Yoga techniques to help you adapt to new surroundings quickly, and to ward off the fatigue felt by car, train, bus or plane travel.
1. If you’re coming into a climate that is temperate, the very first thing to do is get your bare feet on the ground. There have been many studies done that have confirmed what we all intuitively know. Taking of your shoes and walking on the earth not only feels good, but is good for you. It helps balance the electrical currents that run through your body with the currents that run on the surface of the earth, and helps promote healing. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/09/20/barefoot-on-electron-deficiency.aspx#!
If you’re not in a place where you can take your shoes off and walk outside, there are other techniques you can do anywhere.
2. One of them is called ‘spooning the feet.’ Just as walking on the earth helps to balance the body’s electrical charge, this does a similar thing. Take a stainless steel spoon and rub it all over the bottom of the feet. You’ll start to feel more grounded immediately.
3. Another technique is called ‘clearing the gaits.’ Massage down between the metatarsal bones on the feet and pinch off in between the toes. Then massage down on the bones themselves and pinch off at the end of each toe. This helps clear the energy off the feet. Especially when we fly, but also anytime we spend long amounts of time sitting still, not only blood, but meridian energy, can get stuck in our feet. You may notice some of the points you’re massaging are quite sore. If you don’t have an injury, this soreness is your body’s way of asking for attention. Spend some time working the feet and getting fresh blood into these delicate areas.
4. Another wonderful pose to do to help you feel more grounded is the squat. This is one of the ‘power poses’ of EMYoga, as it is good for so many things. It helps digestion. It loosens up the hips and lower back, which can be sore and tight from hours in a constricting seat. It helps balance the downward flow of energy with the upward flow of energy, bringing you back into your natural rhythm. Try to hold it three to five minutes. If you have knee issues, you can lie on your back and hug your knees to your chest.
Doing any or all of the above, and remembering to drink lots of water, will help you reduce the stress of travel so you can enjoy your vacation and all your days completely!
Lauren Walker is the author of Energy Medicine Yoga: Amplify the Healing Power of Your Yoga Practice (Sounds True, 2014). She teaches Energy Medicine Yoga across the country and internationally. She is a certified EM practitioner and assistant for Donna Eden. She’s published in The New York Times, The Jerusalem Post, Salon.com and has a periodic yoga column on MNN.com. She’s also been featured in Yoga Journal and Mantra Yoga + Healing. You can find her complete schedule on EMYoga.net