In about a month’s time, I’ve traveled back and forth from Virginia to Florida, the Caribbean, Texas, and New York. While I thoroughly enjoyed these travels, I now find myself with an aggravated and bloated stomach, severe dry skin (even though all of the places I visited were humid), and a rattled mind. I keep starting projects, putting them aside and starting others. These are all classic signs of aggravated Vata dosha. Increased Vata dosha often occurs in the winter time, but the movement of traveling can also bring on this quality of too much wind/air in the body. So if you feel out of sorts after a vacation, what can you do? Nurture yourself.
1. Eat and drink warm foods. Even though it’s summer, I am craving the soothing feeling that I get from drinking toasted green tea, so I make it warm, not hot. I make sure to include warm meals as well. Eating nothing but cold salads will not bring Vata back into balance.
2. Take care of dry skin. Drink plenty of fluids, hydrate in a lightly warm bath, and give yourself oil massages. Sesame oil is preferred in the winter, but I’m using a lighter oil now that is not so heating. Try coconut, apricot, avocado, etc. If you spend a lot of time in air-conditioned buildings or cars, you might want to carry a spray bottle filled with rose water and glycerin to give your skin a boost of moisture.
3. Do a nurturing practice. Skip the vinyasa, hot yoga, and super-active workouts until vata has a chance to settle down. Sit for a deep-breathing practice, do some gentle yoga, or a walking meditation. Take it easy until your body and mind get settled.
4. Give yourself time to get back into your normal routine. Set aside some time to go through your mail and get organized, and set aside time to relax and take care of yourself. Going from vacation mode to frenzy is too jarring for the body and the mind.