Cultivate Prithvi: our connection with earth, stability, and balance
Blessed with opportunities and accessibility, travel has become engrained in our culture. Possibilities are endless and exciting with transportation, communication and global communities expanding. Today we are able to freely explore the world, utilize technology to bring our jobs alongside us and network among like-minded poeple.
As a devotee of travel myself, movement is inherant to me on all levels…I naturally move quickly, adapt easily, take on too many projects at once and talk…a lot! While these qualities can be beneficial, it is only when I am well balanced and grounded that I feel nourished, which means I take the time to move with awareness: slowing down, speaking less, thinking clearly and breathing deeper.
The more I lead a life which rarely involves set structure and planned routine, I am understanding the importance of bringing simple but transformational routines into my lifestyle, on a daily basis.
When we travel our bodies and minds are stimulated with change in environments and energies. Our senses are often exposed to new sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touch. Over stimulation can lead to imbalances. Our internal clocks that regulate (sleeping, eating, digesting) can be thrown off and exhaustion, stress and anxiety can overtake. Yes, our bodies naturally have amazing physical capacities to nourish, however it takes awareness and effort to stay grounded, healthy and balanced in both body and mind.
I have compiled simple and accessible practices that personally help keep me feeling vibrant on a daily basis, no matter where I am in the world!
• Hydrate hydrate hydrate!
I believe water is one of the most undervalued and simplest ways we can nourish ourselves. 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!
• Eat more color! 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.I believe 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 it is key for everyone’s health to eat a diet that consists of as much fresh, local and unprocessed foods as possible.
We all have the choice to bring more awareness to our diets, noting what makes us feel good and what doesn’t…and it is an incredible freedom that should be utilized! In many ancient philosophies it is believed that our health begins with a healthy ‘hara’ or ‘agni’ which are our internal fires and digestive system. Simply put, when the body has a healthy digestive ‘flow’ it releases toxins and is then able to absorb much more nutrients.
Know that the most important thing you can change in your diet is to simply eliminate and reduce processed foods and unhealthy substances for more wholesome foods – 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 snacks when on the road.
• Indulge in juices
A delicious way to boost our immune systems and longevity is through juicing, especially when you don’t have time to prepare or can’t fresh foods. By drinking your veggies and fruits in liquid form, you offer your digestive system a break from eating solid foods. This allows a natural cleanse to occur, releasing excess toxins and re-energizing your organs. Look for cold pressed juice (keeps all nutrients in tact!) or juices which have no additives (sneaky sugars) or preservatives (dangerous chemicals) and are un-pasteurised so you get the added 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!
• Touch the Earth
Get grounded physically. Immerse yourself in nature with a swim in the sea, by walking barefoot, or sitting in a garden. Get as connected directly to the earth as possible for it least 20 minutes a day by spending time outdoors, breathing in fresh air and enjoying the sunshine for an immunity boost of Vitamin D. Nature has incredible healing properties which can help us to slow down, reconnect and relax.
During Travel ~ find sunny places to sit, breathe deep and take off your shoes to release your feet and toes.
• Let your body move
Envision your body as a beautiful map full of highways, roads, trails, rivers, lakes, streams – visualize these as communication pathways of your body and mind. These pathways need to stay clear and unblocked in order to transport nutrients and circulate blood, fluid, oxygen and energy. Pathways that easily become blocked are ones that do not have continual movement, often joints (especially when traveling and sitting on an airplane!) and other areas in the body where we store tension from lack of movement, or adversely, repetitive movement and strain.
Movement is one of the simplest ways to keep the circulation of healthy bodily fluids and energy flowing. Anything which connects breath and movement, enhances flexibility (lengthening of muscles and spine) and restores the body is beneficial. Yoga, T’ai Chi and Chi-gong are all practices which promote health in both the body and mind. It is vital to begin or sustain a practice such as these (alongside any other exercise or sport you love) as these forms of movement include meditation and offer complete body-mind-spirit benefits.
Most important, 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. Choose a time daily (morning or evening) which you can dedicate to your practice, even if it is 10 minutes a day. When you practice around the same time daily, you mentally create this space within your schedule and over time it will naturally become part of your routine and lifestyle.
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.
• Let your body be still
As important as movement is, so is stillness.
Generally a minimum of 6-8 hours of restful sleep is necessary to feel alert and energized each day. 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 which is accessible for your schedule. The most nourishing sleep is one that follows the natural rhythms of nature: rising within an hour of the sun and sleeping before midnight when the hours are most rejuvenating.
Awaken your inner wisdom and listen to what your body is craving – there is time for movement and time for stillness, the key is being able to know when to nourish yourself with each.
If you are feeling tired and need to take a 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 simple 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. Slowly you can begin to 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 do not have your own personal quiet space.
• Create sacred spaces
Begin to 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, herbs, deities, photos of loved ones or an inspiration board for work/travel/play. It can be as easy as opening windows for natural light and fresh air or making a cozy chill out on the floor with oversized pillows.
During Travel ~ organize your belongings and unpack as much as you can, make your bed and light your favorite inscent, candle or wear a soothing essential oil when you spend time in this space.
The key to balance is a finding a healthy and sustainable routine. Start with small changes for great transformation…enjoy these simple tips as inspiration and find what personally works best for you!