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Daily Ablutions while Travelling

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One of my treasured ayurveda teachers, Maya Tiwari, used to take us outside in North Carolina to perform our daily cleansing rituals, “ablutions” she called them. What fine memories I have of our group of sadhakas in the beautiful spring season near Asheville. Even the day we had our propane burner in the living room of our borrowed classroom NOT on enough insulation remains a sweet memory in my mind. Nothing was ever a problem, even a burned carpet. It’s that attitude of “find a way” without stressing that I value most in my teachers, each and every one. There have been so MANY times in my life when things seemed to be falling apart that the “find a way without stressing” motto has served me well.

So, here I am, traveling again, and wanting to share with you some ways that I’ve found to keep the daily ablutions going while on the road. For one thing, traveling can greatly imbalance the vata dosha, so it helps to keep to a routine (once you are over jet lag, if that applies). If jet lag does apply, I find it useful to start using local time for local activities as soon as possible, usually after no more than a day of adjustment. If six am is your usual rise and begin pranayama/meditation time at home, stick to it within a day of arriving in Timbuktu (or wherever).  I consider pranayama and asana two of the basic daily ablutions, by the way–they ARE cleansing practices, after all. Asana and its movements and holdings give the blood and lymph time to regenerate and circulate, and pranayama renews prana (interesting that the spell check wants to turn prana into prank!)

The tools that will make the daily shower more like home for me are the dry brush I use to gently scrub the dead cells off my skin before showering and the small plastic spray bottle that contains the almond, sesame or coconut oil that I use on my skin once it is clean and warm and moist. I give myself time to soak the oil in before gently patting dry with a towel (so the towel does not become oily!) and already, I’m feeling more at home.

Two other practices I would not leave home without involve packing small tools: a plastic neti pot and a plastic tongue scraper. Keeping the nose and tongue clean is so important, especially in allergy seasons and in contaminated cities. Usually I have had no trouble finding sea salt where I am staying to use in the neti pot, but one could pack a bit of that if it looks as though it would be difficult. I use the neti pot in the shower and the tongue scraper after I brush my teeth in the morning.

I’ve heard that a copper tongue scraper is even better than my plastic one, but have not found one for sale. Maybe the next trip to India will be the time to look. Don’t forget to lightly oil the inside of your noise after neti potting, and you are set for the day (or night, depending on when you shower). All in all, this plan of keeping as much to my home “ablution” routine has kept me contented and functional wherever I might be. It took me a long time to fully understand that one could relax and take pleasure in these rituals. My mother was an overwhelmed young woman trying to raise four excellent children as a paragon of virtue in her community. Since we were not all angels, she was often stressed, and I inherited that stress. I value the teaching from ancient and modern ayurvedic sources that emphasizes that we can “find a way and not stress” in the process of finding it!

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Written by algarita

September 6, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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