Ayurveda Away from Home
As an OB/Gyn physician who often sleeps at the hospital waiting for a birth, I’ve found ways to incorporate my Ayurvedic-based self-care routine into my sometimes fractured schedule. This is especially helpful for sleepless nights when I’m away from home. I pack a small bag and take it to work. In it I include small bottles of oils I use in my at home Ayurvedic routine. I’ve duplicated everything so there’s no thinking about what to take. I just grab it and go. I’ve made it a project to figure out how to take Ayurveda and the healthy habits described in Cate Stillman’s book, Body Thrive, on the road. This allows me to maintain consistency, balance, and body integrity while travelling. What has evolved is a blog series in which I share what has made my life easier while away from home.
We Become More Aware of Routine
In Cate Stillman’s book, Body Thrive, readers spend 10 weeks focusing on 10 healthy habits from Ayurveda that are used to fine-tune and simplify their lives. This opens us to the possibility of change in the rhythms and choices we make in our own lives. These types of changes allow us to evolve as conscious creatures on our planet. In the beginning, change happens on an almost imperceptible level. We soften. We shift. We become more aware. Many do not notice the subtle differences in their daily routine. Until one day, they do. For myself, I remember realizing that I warm lemon water felt better than tea or coffee to my body in the early waking hours.
As my life began to shift and the Body Thrive habits became a part of me, I saw how going on vacation or traveling for work threw the routine off. When staying in a hotel room that I share with three other people, it’s difficult to wake up, boil drinking water and meditate without waking up my roommates. A peaceful meditation can easily go out the window, and the domino effect of missed meditations ripples throughout the day and week. Any meditator understands the scenario of cumulative missed meditations has ungrounding consequences.
Start the Day Right
Recently I acquired a Hydro Flask, a trusty companion on every trip I take. Well insulated and vacuum sealed, it holds 32 oz of warm or hot water. In my experience, downing a full flask of lemon water every morning has produced amazing results. Prior to owning my Hydro Flask, I found it difficult to get hot water in the morning, especially early, unless on the rare occasion there was a hot pot in the hotel room. Even on silent meditation retreats, the rooms were monastic and finding a kettle small enough to put into my suitcase was difficult. Because my Hydro Flask keeps water very hot through the night, I can fill it in the evening, put it by the bed, and it’s perfect temperature for drinking in the morning. This saves time and commotion in the hotel room. And the steel lining of the Hydro Flask makes the water taste clean and simple, not like plastic water bottles.
Silly American, Why is She Carrying a Jar??
Thank goodness I will no longer need to tote my glass mason jar around! After landing in Paris two years ago I was making my way to the TGV (high-speed train) to visit a dear friend who lives in southern France. My bag collected and customs navigated, I had begun to taste my adventure. The fog that comes with international travel loomed as felt my feet on the ground after hours in the air. I walked outside and breathed my first gulp of cool, moist French spring air. I had arrived! As I walked along the patio with benches where people waited for trains, my brain rewiring itself to speak French again, I heard various announcements of arrivals and departures. Then, a crash that took a few seconds before realizing it was from me. My glass Mason jar worked it’s way out of the backpack bottle holder and shattered on the train platform. I cringed. My vision narrowed and I felt suddenly estranged. For the next three weeks my routine would be upset.
In the end, I adapted to plastic and avoided adding the lemon to my morning water. I still laugh at the expression of the French, “Silly American! Why is she even carrying a jar with her?” Glass no more!
Vacation Evacuation Made Easy
The finale of starting the day right is the esteemed morning bowel evacuation. To understand what happens when we travel we need to turn to Ayurveda. The dosha or energy of Vata in Ayurveda is composed of air and ether. It transforms and evolves. Traveling exacerbates its force and it easily falls out of balance. With air comes dryness and with dryness, constipation. To remedy an interruption in bowel function while traveling, I take the supplement Calm every night I’m not at home. I carry a small 1oz Nalgene jar (that I bought at a backpacking store) full of it. I also take triphala tea at night and do the same with that powder. Many people take triphala capsules instead. The water I use to make these evening drinks fills up the Hydro Flask for the morning. Some restaurants and hotels have lemon wedges available too.
I am happy to share these discoveries. Please share what works for you. We all benefit!