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Holistic tips to cope with long flights

Sitting in an uncomfortable position for long, low oxygen and humidity, turbulence and noise, dry air and dehydration, are only some problems one faces due to high altitude and change in atmospheric pressure during a long flight. Ayurveda physicians and yogis at Ananda help us with some easy to do tips to follow before, during and after an air travel.


Before the trip

·       Increasing intake of slightly warm water or herbal water (tulsi tea, giloy tea) helps in re-establishing good hydration, immunity and reducing stress.

·       Doing self-abhyanga (body massage with warm sesame oil) followed by slightly warm water bath will help in calming the anxiety before travel and leaves you relaxed.

·       Nasyam for your nose – 1-2 drops of Nasyam oil in your nostrils or even just applying pure ghee (clarified butter from cow milk) creates a barrier in between your nasal mucosa and drying environment outside.


Due to cabin pressure and lack of humidity, this circulatory force of air and space within us (vata), often experiences intense disturbance during a long flight. A disturbed vata makes one irritable, anxious and exhausted. A warm sesame oil massage or Abhyanga, before and after the flight soothes the disturbed air element and helps it settle down.

During the travel

·       Reducing screen time and reading a book is a better option to keep your senses more relaxed.

·       The entire circulatory system is compromised due to 4-7 hours of sitting during travels. Walking after every two hours will help to establish good circulation. Sitting in padmasana and vajrasna can be a good option as well.

·       The spine experiences extreme decompression during long flights. Reduce stiffness in the spine by lengthening, lateral flexion-extension and spinal twists. Tadasana, Tiryaka Tadasana and Katichakrasna are yoga asanas which can be practiced sitting on your seat during a long flight.  

·       Practice a spinal twist prior to eating a meal on flight. It will help circulate the digestive fluids which are sluggish due to long sitting hours.

·       Take more of energizing herbal blends and avoid caffeine and alcohol intake.

·       Take a Vata (the circulatory force of air and space in the body) balancing simple infusion – add jaggery with 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt and ½ teaspoon of aniseed powder mixed with hot water.

·       Carry your own travel friendly food preparations such as organic oats, dates, honey and cinnamon powder.

·       To aid the digestive process taking ½ teaspoon of ghee with warm water post meals will keep system moist and reduces constipation and bloating.


Post travel         

·       Abhyanga (oil massage of the body) followed by warm water bath.

·       Staying out in the sun for at least 20 minutes helps in establishing dincharya and creating a sense of connect with the new places/ environment.

An over strained Lymphatic system is a result of long sitting hours in a flight. Exposure to sun in the presence of nature will help drain the lymph. Aim for a nice stroll in a park or  any open space.

·      Long travel hours and change in time zones increases vata which causes stress, anxiety, insomnia, disturbed digestion – gentle movements, exposure to sunlight and warm freshly cooked food helps in balancing vata.

·       Following the circadian rhythm is the key to reduce jet lag and adapting with changing time zones – sleeping when its dark outside and waking up with sun helps in doing so. To avoid the temptation to sleep before dark, practice a yoga nap or yog nidra after landing, set an alarm in case you slip into deep sleep during the practice.

·       A head-neck-shoulder massage will help ease the strain felt due to the noise in the aircraft which tends to strain the nerves of the head and fascial muscles.

Next time you take a flight pick any one of the above tips to avoid the physiological and psychological stress of long travels.

Click here to watch the experts at Ananda recommended practices to follow before and after meals to maintain calm in the digestive system through this festive season.


Did you know it takes an average of 30 - 36 days for the food you eat today to transform into your seven tissues! Read How the apple that you eat ultimately becomes you and explore the fascinating journey of food within the body.

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