Preventing motion sickness through yoga

My family loves to travel, especially by road and loves to cruise! As for me, until a year ago, it was a dreaded time! Motion sickness and I were best buddies when it came to car least when I'd be in the back seat...and  cruises were the closest I could (get to hell still being alive). Medicine didn't work for me. I couldn't even sleep. Chewing gum or Ginger candies didn’t help either. I was actually someone who’d ruin a trip. The love of travel, and spending time with dear ones led me to do some research on one of my worst fears.

This is what I found:

What is Motion Sickness?

Motion sickness can be defined as sickness induced by motion (as in travel by air, car, or ship) and characterized by nausea – also called kinetosis. It can be caused by contradiction between external data from the eyes and internal cues from the balance centre in the inner ear. According to medical dictionaries , "Motion sickness occurs when the inner ear, the eye, and other areas of the body that detect motion send conflicting messages to the brain. One part of your balance – sensing system (your inner ear, vision, and sensory nerves that help you keep your balance.) may indicate that your body is moving, while the other parts do not sense motion.")

Yoga – the Ancient Health formula:

Yoga seemed to have answers for every health issue. Yoga is one of the oldest holistic health care systems, not just because of its fundamental healing approach, but also because of its many benefits for physical, mental and spiritual well being. I chose to find out how this ancient science of Exercise and Healing can help me with motion sickness. And eventually, what really changed the entire travel experience for me was my regular Yoga practice.

I found that Yoga asana Postures which help to improve stability, body balance, fight vertigo, improve digestion; treat nausea and dizziness would help people with chronic motion sickness. Now, that did ring a bell! A lot of bells actually!! Taking tips from my Yoga teacher, I formulated a daily Yoga session, focusing on asanas which could help me get rid of Motion Sickness permanently. Sharing with you what I did to make sure I don’t ruin the next holiday!

Yoga Routine to fight Motion Sickness:

It would be ideal to begin with a few rounds of Body rotations starting from Head to the Toes to flex the muscles and prepare the body for the asana postures. These are the Asanas which help you relax and ease the symptoms of motion sickness:

  • Surya namaskar or Sun Salutaions:  This set of 12 powerful yoga poses have a great impact on the heart, liver, intestine, stomach, chest, throat, and legs – the whole body from top to bottom. It purifies the blood, improves blood circulation, and ensures proper functioning of the stomach, bowels, and nerve centers. Practicing Sun Salutation daily helps balance the three constitutions - Vata, Pitta and Kapha - that the body is made up of.

  • Meru Prishthasana (Upper Body Rotations): Meru Prishthasana stimulates digestion and blood circulation. Deepens breath and gives inner balance. It is beneficial for low blood pressure too. However should be avoided if you have slip disc issues.

  • Vrikshasana (Tree Pose): This posture replicates the graceful, steady stance of a tree. Unlike most yoga poses, the Tree Pose requires keeping our eyes open in order to maintain body balance and it leaves you in a state of rejuvenation. It brings balance and equilibrium to your mind and helps improve concentration.

  • Virbhadrasana (Warrior pose): This pose can help improve balance in the body, increase stamina and bring auspiciousness, courage, grace and peace. As the name suggests it brings you the warrior qualities in you, otherwise hidden somewhere.

  • Matsyasana(Fish Pose): It stretches the chest and neck and also help relieve tension in the neck and shoulders. It provides relief from respiratory disorders by encouraging deep breathing. Toning the parathyroid, pituitary and pineal glands.

  • Sarvangasana (Shoulder Stand): It stimulates the thyroid and parathyroid glands and normalizes their functions while nourishing the brain with more blood. It can bring relief from constipation, indigestion and varicose veins.

  • Shirshasana (Head Stand): Helps in improving blood circulation to the brain and eyes, increasing their efficiency. Puts pressure on the pituitary gland which helps to increase its efficiency, and in turn the efficiency of all other hormone-producing endocrine glands which are controlled by it and can work as great anxiety reliever.

  • Shavasana (Corpse Pose): It brings a deep, meditative state of rest. It also gives time for the yoga workout to sink in at a deeper level and leaves you in a state of rejuvenation. It helps reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and insomnia.

The ideal way to end the regime after Shavasana would be with a few rounds of Nadi Shodhan Pranayam (Alternate Nostril Breathing) followed by 3 rounds of Kapal Bhati pranayama and meditation for about 10 minutes.

It’s been a year now, and I cannot thank yoga enough! Practicing my yoga asanas daily has not only helped me with the issue of Kinetosis, but it has also improved my digestive health, migraine, overcome lethargy and keep me enthusiastic and fresh through the entire day!  This routine helped me travel in peace, enjoy the breeze along the curviest highways and fly through the bumpiest flights with a smile! Try them for yourself and write to us with your experience.

Founded in 1981 by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,The Art of Living is an educational and humanitarian movement engaged in stress-management and service initiatives. Read More