My Top 6 Ways to Overcome Jetlag on a Yoga Adventure!

10592947394_d879c221ff_bI travel internationally about every other month teaching workshops and teacher trainings on three difference continents.  People ask me how I managed to stay balanced flying around the world the way I do and acclimating to different time zones.  Sleep has become a ritual for me, something I prepare for, meditate on, and pray for!

I need deep sleep to be able to be alert and present for my students. I needed to find a way to get good quality sleep on these trips.  Sleep deprivation can accumulate and cause a variety of problems such as increased anxiety, risk of hypertension, obesity, depression, heart attack, and just being straight up delirious!  Sleep is important and deep sleep heals!

It’s important to understand that deep sleep heals the body, the mind, and our spirit. Our daily dose of shut-eye regulates our weight, strengthens our immunity, protects our health, repairs our tissues and cells, and restores our energy. Sleep also allows us to process situations in our lives balancing our emotions, helping us to better solve our problems, and feeds our creativity.  When our mind becomes quiet in deep sleep, our energy in our heart chakra increases and we wake up feeling more inspired to move through our day.

Here are my top 6 sleep strategies:

1. Create a ritual before you go to bed to calm your energy down.  Excessive worry, activity and traveling, can all disturb the spirit and activate the mind—making it near impossible to fall asleep and stay asleep. Try rubbing an ayurvedic oil (I use sesame oil for us vatas) all over your body in a circular motions paying attention to your joints to reduce any swelling especially from flying.  Wait about twenty minutes allowing the oil to soak in and jump in the shower or a warm bath to rinse it off.  You could also try some of my favorite essential oils such as lavender or peace & calming. These oils are extremely healing for the nervous system and aid in the relaxation response that puts us in a state of healing and grounding.

2. Try warm milk before bed or any kind of valerian tea or herbal tea with relaxing herbs. Avoid alcohol before bed because it will disturb deep sleep and can create anxious dreams usually waking you up in the middle of the night creating some type of hyperactivity.

3. When traveling and adopting to time zones I will take melatonin to keep me asleep. I find it helps me get through the first couple nights of jetlag.

395474_275052729233929_1837254280_n 4. Turn the lights down and do restoratives like legs at the wall (Viparita Karani) using an eye pillow to add some weight to the eye sockets. This helps my brain relax and eyes to stay shut.

5. If you do get stimulated easily, stay off the computer and avoid TV shows that create any kind of fear or worry.  It’s best to shut all electronics off before bed and soak in this quiet time with a warm bath and light reading instead.

6. Avoid eating at least two hours before bedtime and try to make dinner your lightest meal.  Eating late will stimulate your digestive system and also can create disturbing dreams.  When traveling, this may be hard but better to sleep through the night and wake up on an empty stomach.

These suggestions don’t just apply to overcoming jet lag, but are great support for good deep sleep at home. Make sleep a priority!  Do what is necessary to take care of yourself and promote healthy sleep.  Watch how the quality of your life improves when you commit to these rituals before bed.  You will see that you will become more inspired, joyous, and actually excited for each day to begin!

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Ritual can be done anywhere, by anyone, and in any way with Jessica Cartwright

full_IMG_6179_edited-2Living in Montana provides a constant source of inspiration. There is so much natural beauty and an abundance of healthy, heart centered energy. It’s a wondrous thing to wake up every day in what the natives called the Valley of the Flowers. I feel immensely grateful to live here and do what I love – teach yoga, energy heal, get lost in nature, and inspire others.

Another beautiful gift that Montana has given me is the importance of ritual. Ritual is grounding and gives us purpose. It’s what our ancestors did on a regular basis and allows us to feel connected to this earth and our place here within it.

Ritual can be done anywhere, by anyone, and in any way.

When I hiked Machu Picchu last year I turned it into a spiritual journey. I used my malas to set an intention with every step. I ran the beads through my fingers and honored a loved one, said a healing affirmation, and charged them with love and purpose through every step.

MountainSplitNow it’s a ritual to use my malas in meditation when I need recharging; to cleanse them along with my crystals on the full moon; to practice 108 sun salutations at the change of every season; to place them on the top of my mat during my yoga practice.

 Breaking away from technology and connecting in a more meaningful way, through ritual, is a blessing. It allows us to hear the whispers of our ancestors as we ease into the groundedness of feeling earthly, relishing the seasons, and delighting in being human.

I love the Devotion mala for this reason; it reminds me of my devotion to ritual and to the purpose we all have in this life. It also reminds me of my devotion to the dreamworld, to spirit work, to the seasons, to my ancestors, to the land where I live, to my relationship with my self, and to the source of connection that lies within us all, at our heart centers.

MachuHeadstand Let creating ritual be fun! Just like the excitement that comes from picking out the perfect mala for you, exploring meaningful rituals in your life will feel freeing, empowering, and invigorate you! Ideas are to smudge your house, pat your buddha, carry crystals with you, celebrate the full moon, all of it works. Go with what feels good!

In my opinion ritual is anything that you come back to regularly, that steps you out of your normal routine (habit) and provides a feeling of meaning, purpose, and connection. So look for inspiration and get creative in how to bring ritual into your life. It’s sort of like deepening our roots so that our branches can grow even further.

Your malas are your best ally in bringing ritual and intention into your every day. Let them connect you to the ways you want to feel, to the love and groundedness that connects us all, every time you touch, wear, and practice in them!


– Jessica Cartwright