October 2016: Travel Wellness On The Road.....
Trying to fit in a yoga practice during travels can be challenging. What more during on tour in a band?
There are many equipments and luggages to lug around!
I am responsible for 2 keyboards, 1 mixer bag, keyboard stand, personal luggage and a carry on backpack. That totals to 6 bulky and oddsize items. (Currently configuring how to downsize my setup for next year's tour!)
Although we all share the load, the constant shifting, pushing and lifting can take a toil on our bodies especially on our lower backs. While some in the band rely heavily on painkillers for an existing slipped disc issue, I offered up to be the in-house resident therapist/yoga teacher to ease up some discomforts on tour! Lol.
Yoga Strap and Trigger Point Therapy Massage Ball are a wonderful add on for travels. Especially the ball! The ball is great on flights for the back, butt, hamstrings when on long haul /red eye flights and before going to bed.
Sitting on the ball for hammies, hips or sandwiching ball on the back of the seat and back muscle will do the trick. It is like accupressure massage on the go!
Strap is great to stretch out the hammies and hips in supine position after long hours of sitting.
Place strap under sole of one foot, with hands firmly holding on to strap, pull leg closer to the chest with option to bend the knee if hamstrings are overly tight. Take a couple of breaths and relax. This can be repeated with hips rotated externally to stretch inner thighs or a twist to rotate internally to stretch the IT Band. Repeat on the other side.
Although I brought along my trusty Manduka eco-lite foldable mat and have sneaked in time to do a full hour practice , I know I would need to prepare for future tours that might not have luggage space for the mat or anywhere in the room for it.
So a practice can be adapted to just a hotel Hand Towel! Even Hostels, motels would have them so they are easily accessible.
Here is a snapshot of a video I filmed for some daily instructional fitness activity that I sent to the band's groupchat ! hehe.
Working the plank with the towel this way works alot more on the lower abdominals .
It boosts energy, protects/strengthens the back from the heavy lifting and gets you fired up for performances!
I also attempted doing Sun Salutations with the variation of sliding the towel back and forth for a deeper core challenge than the usual way.
The towel sliding method is widely used by seasoned practitioners working their way to sliding up into handstands and inversion stuff.
Travelling is pretty much Vata ( Quality of Air in ayurvedic terms) by nature . I am very much a Vata person with some Pitta(Fire quality) as part of my Dosha (Ayurvedic term of body types) . I bloat very easily when I'm on flight and the gas built up gets really uncomfortable ( not forgetting various food allergies that contribute to that too). Having grounding elements like rice, potatoes and peppermint tea on flight helps for sure. The moving around cities, hotels, venues add on more Air into the experience and thus, it can make me feel "off" easily. Being able to have hot teas, nuts, snackbars, grounding scents help to ground and settle myself in better.
Travelling to places like Australia and China challenges the dietary options I have. Having Gluten, Dairy and MSG allergy, I was always worried about the food. Antihistamines are always in my pocket as I would never know when an outbreak of reaction might occur. Chinese cuisine do have many Rice or rice noodle dishes but overladen with MSG and Oil ! I made sure I ate a hearty breakfast of oatmeal and porridge stuff to not only fill the tummy but to balance out the dry, vata energy with warm, earthy and healthy oil based foods.
However, it was unfortunate that I caught a cold in between and took about a month to recover. I hated the feeling of drowsiness caused by flu meds and these natural remedies were really effective in managing the cold without the side effects on the road.
Doterra’s On Guard and Oregano oil are what I swear by.
Oregano oil is
- Anti-Fungal .... and many many more
It contains carvacrol and thymol, which are two components that have powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. They are nature's antibiotics! I have used them when I get sore throats, stomach issues and many more.
On Guard is a blend of Wild Orange Peel, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Bark/Leaf, Eucalyptus Leaf, and Rosemary Leaf/Flower essential oils.
It is similar to Young Living's Thieves blend. But personally I prefer On Guard due to its sweet scent of wild orange peel. A few drops on the soles of the feet or taking the capsules boost/protect the immune system along with some good quality Vitamin C supplements.
Other Must-Have ( tried and tested) Travel Essential Oils:
Lavender oil: A drop on the pillow each night to help with sleep. (especially musty, dusty student hostel rooms in China!) Great for small cuts, wounds and burns too.
Peppermint oil: Bloating, stomachaches, clogged nose, nausea , headaches, rashes.
Balance blend: Blend of Spruce Needle/Leaf, Ho Wood, Frankincense Resin, Blue Tansy Flower, and Blue Chamomile Flower essential oils in a base of Fractionated Coconut Oil. This is extremely pleasant and grounding blend I use on the road/flights often and using it like a perfume.
Frankincense oil : A deeply grounding and protective oil for the vata nature of travelling. A short meditation/prayer in the room with Frankincense oil grounds, and also protects, from any eerie hotel room encounters ( We certainly encountered some in our drummer’s room. eep!)
I also brought my Zen Spray concoction to mist over rooms to make me feel like home.:)
Hope this post inspires you to think about travel wellness and what you pack into your luggage the next time you hop on to your jetsetting adventures!
Although I have had many experiences of touring, I realise the body keeps evolving and changing, and of course, aging. I no longer have that high levels of energy in my 30s now compared to when I started touring in my late teens/early twenties. Late nights are exhausting and would rather retreat to rest or have a good soak in the tub before bed.
Each experience prepares me for the next, whether it comes from packing the luggage, wearing 1 pair of jeans for a week, downsizing my music set up, managing the day to day happenings, or figuring out how to sneak in a yoga sesh. It'll just get better. Being on tour can be tiring but I'd repeat this cycle over and over again because it is from these lived and shared experiences with a band of people who share and live the same goal, passion and drive that makes living worth living. Be here in the Now. And there were many NOWS that were lived with Rocking Greatness!
When you have established a discipline to show up on your mat, you will naturally show up off the mat in your daily life. Yoga doesn't need to be practiced just on the mat, it doesn't need to be validated through instagram pictures, it doesn't need to be showy, or overly focused on achieving a certain pose, it doesn't even need to be justified. Yoga is, Just Be, to be unified to each personal experience we have, to be taken along every and anywhere you go, with whomever you are with, however you interact with the world. It is a way of living life to the fullest moment in the present, in gratitude and contentment. =)
What is your Yoga? How do you take Yoga on the road with you when you are not on the mat?