Words by Nid Ra
I just completed six weeks of a round-the-world-trip,. Through two hemispheres, three continents, four countries and six cities. Ending with a retreat in Greece for a week and then hopping on a plane to land in Sydney and go straight into teaching back-to-back Pilates classes.
How did I manage to avoid jet lag and stay grounded throughout? Here are five simple tips to travel and keep yourself in one place.
Flying and Airports
Flying is a big stress for many and it brings out many of our fears, especially if you’ve ever missed a flight before. For many, the lack of control in this type of situation generates huge anxiety issues and we all know that it is the fear of not being in control that many of us struggle with the most.
However, making flying relaxing is an art to master if you travel a great deal. It can help develop the mental and emotional muscles of relinquishing control. Focus on travel time as practicing the art of letting go of control and surrendering to the unknown. The role of the traveller is clear in emergencies - just listen to the safety briefing and then follow the instructions.
Otherwise, practice sitting back and relaxing into the adventure of the unknown. Surrender to their advice. For example:
Eat at meal times on the plane.
Try to close your eyes and rest when they say it is time to sleep.
Cap the movies at two for a long haul flight.
Try to find a relaxed position for the whole body.
Allow the breath to become spontaneous, regular and even. Let it be natural and not forced in any way.
Bring attention to the diaphragm and visualise the sheet of muscle beneath the lunges. Focus awareness to the bottom of the sternum.
As you inhale, visualise the diaphragm flattening and pushing down into the abdomen. Air is being drawn into the lungs.
As you exhale, the diaphragm relaxes. Feel it move up and resume its dome-shaped position beneath the sternum. Air leaves the lunges and releases pressure on the abdominal organs.
Increase awareness of the interface between abdomen and lungs, that this is a rhythmic and spontaneous motion.
The movement is not produced by the abdominal muscles. These are relaxed.
Keep this breath for 3-5 minutes. Ensure no tension is in the abdomen. Feel only the diaphragm moving the process.
At all stages of travel it helps to move the body…
Travel, especially flying, is immensely ungrounding. It’s a deeply unnatural experience for the body and this can perpetuate the stresses of travel further.
Use of the body as a grounding tool will help immensely.
Here are five simple things to include in your travel regime:
Day before travel - do some vigorous exercise to get the blood flowing.
During the flight - try to get up every 90 minutes minimum to stretch the legs.
Stopovers? Find anything and do some simple movements e.g. squats, calf raises, twists, backbends.
Day of arrival - gentle grounding poses. A walk is great.
Day after arrival - more vigorous movement and longer session.
Check out my travel practice video HERE (please note that it’s in high speed just to give you an overview!)
Hungry or not, a full belly will help ground the body into the new place. Simple foods that are easy for the body to digest will help it to settle into the new location, so think about what foods help when feeling unwell.
Tips for meals:
Eat at the new location meal times.
Eat local and seasonal foods to ground into the new location.
Drink plenty of water in between meal times to rehydrate the body.
Try these recipes for a healthy and grounding meal:
Perhaps you get lucky and there is no disturbance to your sleep. However, in the event that this doesn’t work out so well, a few ground rules should help you steer through it:
Try not to nap in the daytime, if you do make sure that you are awake after 4pm local time.
Stick to your ‘at home’ bedtime routine so that the body knows that it is time to wind down and prepare for sleep.
If you wake in the night, do something calming. Keep the lights low, get out of bed after 20 minutes and do some gentle movement (e.g. Tai Chi) or writing to empty the mind.
Wake up in the morning at your alarm time and no snoozing! The body needs to know its new routine and adjust to it.
Talk to local people and connect with those in the community you are physically present in. This will help you shift your energy to the local season, geography and time zone. It can uplift the flagging feeling, and taking a group activity will provide you with the energy of the group to lift you from the haze. Don’t worry if that glazed look comes over your face, everyone knows it and will compassionately laugh at you - humour is a high form of energy to lift the mood. You might even make some new international friends!
Come and visit Balance Garden IRL in London
Whether you are passing through London as a visitor on your travels, or returning from a trip away, come and get grounded in our beautiful studio space in collaboration with Flat Iron Square.
“Shape” at the Siding is a new wellbeing offering from Balance Garden and Flat Iron Square. We invite you down to move your body and still your mind every Tuesday!
Check out the full schedule of classes and book on HERE
First class is free!
Nid loves all her incarnations as an energy healer and coach, massage therapist, teacher of mind-body movement through yoga and Pilates, and blog writer. She is a passionate messenger on how to find your truth and live in alignment with your soul. Her work attracts people going through major life changes, long-term pain or health issues to discover how to live life with joy in mind, body, and spirit. She can be found working on retreats and online worldwide at https://www.omegamovement.org/
Recently on Balance Garden