Monday, July 25, 2011

There's No Place Like Home

There's no place like home, but sometimes, for business or for pleasure, there are times when you cannot be at home.

I'm currently working on a project where all my team is in Melbourne and I'm the only one in Sydney. Luckily, a lot of the work can be done from Sydney but, there are some tasks that can only be done in Melbourne.

As much as I love travelling, it is always unsettling, especially when Hubby cannot accompany me. Yet, it was only last week while I was in Melbourne that I became aware of the number of yogic and other complementary practices I use to help me unwind and centre.

Whenever I am travelling by plane, I like to have some ginger with me, usually ‘naked’ ginger or crystallised ginger. In Ayurvedic medicine ginger is believed to stimulate digestion and relieve nausea. (See Ginger - The Universal Medicine in Ayurveda for information on uses of ginger.) When a choice of meals is offered, I try to select the meal that I think is the most easiest to digest, nothing that is too fatty or creamy and I always avoid alcohol. If a meal seems particularly heavy, I like to have a piece of ginger to help settle my stomach.

In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Swami Swatmarama (as translated by Pancham Sinh) writes:

“Abstemious feeding is that in which ¾ of hunger is satisfied with food, well cooked with ghee and sweets, ...
Bitter, sour, saltish, hot, green vegetables, fermented, oily, mixed with til seed, rape seed, intoxicating liquors, fish, meat, curds, chhaasa pulses, plums, oil-cake, asafœtida (hînga), garlic, onion, etc. should not be eaten.
Food heated again, dry, having too much salt, sour, minor grains, and vegetables that cause burning sensation, should not be eaten, ... ” (Chapter I.60-62)

On turbulent trips when my stomach feels like it is lurching away from my body, I practise deep abdominal breathing or listen to a guided meditation. And, if I'm flying regularly, I use a nasal spray to assist with mucociliary clearance to try and avoid the air-borne germs that are found in the enclosed environment of an aeroplane. Using the nasal spray is similar to the yogic practice of jala neti, a practice that is not suitable for me because I end up with blocked sinuses and headaches. I even have to be careful when I use the nasal spray because too much liquid can also block my sinuses.

When I'm away from home, the key to me feeling grounded is for me to maintain my routines.

When choosing accommodation, I try to book a serviced apartment. In my experience, serviced apartments can be cheaper than hotel rooms, provide more space, and have cooking facilities. Living in an apartment feels more ‘at home’ than living in a hotel room.

If I'm in the one place for more than one night, I like to unpack—hang up clothes, place clothes and possessions in drawers—so I am not living out of the suitcase. I used to use a light bulb ring to diffuse essential oils but, with many establishments using the spiral compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs, I can no longer use the ring.

Wherever I travel I take my yoga mat. I have a 2mm-thick, travel mat that folds up and fits easily into my suitcase. When I'm away my mat becomes my sanctuary, my home. I might be practising in an apartment lounge overlooking an unfamiliar city—or squashed in the narrow space between the bed and the cupboard—wherever I am, my mat is where I relax and unwind.

In 2007 I was commuting each week between Sydney and, Brisbane or Canberra. Back then I downloaded audio classes on my mp3 player. This time I downloaded a selection of video podcasts to my smartphone and tablet.

Some of my favourite practices?

  • Flowing, dynamic sequences, like sun salutations, to move and stretch the body

    Surya namaskara in the Satyananda tradition is a complete practice on its own. It can be practised in different ways ( for example, fast and dynamic or slowly with deep awareness) and is great for relieving any physical or mental tiredness.

  • Standing poses, particularly the Warrior and Triangle asanas, to ground me and give me mental strength
  • Balances to help focus the mind

    I particularly like garudasana for easing tensions from hours at a computer and for the symbolism of releasing physical, mental, and emotional knots.

  • Nadi shodhana (aka ‘balancing breath’ and ‘alternate nostril breathing’) to calm and balance the body and mind
  • Yoga nidra to help me relax and sleep

If you have an mp3 player, smartphone, tablet or laptop, try the following:

  • Eoin Finn's Daily Minimum Practice
    (Audio download)

    This “yoga quickie” is a Power Yoga routine and probably more suited to intermediate and experienced practitioners who are healthy and fit.

  • Yoga Journal podcasts
    (Audio and video podcasts. Also available through iTunes.)

    I like the first two episodes, Jason Crandell's “Morning Wake-up Routine” and “Evening Relaxation Sequence”. Both these routines are gentle routines and about 25 minutes in length.

  • Yoga Today podcasts
    (Video podcasts. Also available through iTunes.)

    View the “In-Flight Yoga” episode for tips for travelling on a plane and a sequence that can be performed in your seat. Try the “Yoga for a Weary Traveller” sequence when you reach your hotel room.

The great thing about yoga is it can be practised any time and any where. Whether I'm physically working through asanas or performing subtle practices like mindfulness, yoga has always been a sanctuary from stress and an anchor to home.

Further reading

If you travel a lot, the following articles might interest you:

Safe travels!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments for posts older than 14 days will not immediately display. These comments are reviewed before they are published for public display.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...