The Ayurvedic approach to maintaining optimal digestion is simple. We need to eat the right balance of food, preferably for our dosha (our individual constitution), and the waste should be eliminated regularly.
While that sounds easy enough, life doesn’t always lend us the perfect conditions to stick to a rigid routine. We’re invited to dinners out, we go to parties, travel, explore new cuisines … and all of that is an essential part of living life. But it also means things can get out of whack, quickly.
We spoke with Martha Soffer, Ayurvedic Panchakarma expert, Ayurvedic chef, herbal rasayanist, master Ayurvedic pulse diagnostician, and of course, founder of Ayurvedic spa and our favorite, Surya. She shared with us her no. 1 tip for maintaining digestive health during travel—and no, it’s not laxatives. It’s a minor enema.
If enemas sound clinical or scary to you, we totally get it, but hear us out. They can be administered quickly, easily, and painlessly, all by yourself, and the results are oh-so-refreshing. Soffer has the deets:
“I always take a packable ‘basti bag,’ or plastic enema bag, when I travel, and yes, sometimes one for a friend I might be seeing. If you’ve never done a basti (a light enema), the idea can seem strange. But bastis have been a part of Ayurveda for 10,000 years—though not the plastic part!”
And who are we to deny history? Consider this treatment when you travel abroad and experience a completely different diet. Sometimes the change is favorable, but so often it is not.
“Sometimes new foods can cause an upset stomach. A quick basti, even with (ideally filtered) water, flushes it out—in a few moments, you feel great. I even gave one to my husband on a recent trip. He might have not liked the concept, but as soon as he felt 100% better, he definitely appreciated it,” Soffer tells us.
Besides new foods, just what is it about travel that makes basti treatment so helpful?
“Travel increases our ‘Vata’ dosha—that part of our makeup responsible for our mind and body’s movement. If that gets aggravated, we might feel bloated or constipated. A simple water basti, or even one with warm (not hot) chamomile tea, can help a lot. Also, you might like to bring along a little Surya Calming Body Oil or even a Calming Bath Soak—they both help to settle our Vata and get us ready for anything. It’s the simple things in Ayurveda that have been around forever that can help us be at our best, wherever we are!”
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