How To Avoid Yoga Jet Lag

Paul Dallaghan shared with us his technique for avoiding jet lag towards the end of Teacher Training circa March of 2009 in Thailand, and since I -like most other students- was about venture into a 20+ hour plane-ride, my ears perked up.
Graduation day, right before embarking on the 20+ hours of flying
I don't remember all the details, but what did stick with me was the part of not eating anything, at all, during the whole ride.  The reasoning was that if your body guesses it is starving all energy will go towards conserving energy and any time references will become secondary and irrelevant. He explained it much better than me.

He also said that in the morning he normally would do some basic stretching and pranayama and invited us, if we were so inspired, to belch out loud "Guru Brahma, Guru Vishnu.." or any other mantra of our liking.

I was rolling on the floor laughing picturing it.  Still am.  I can't stop imagining me singing and signaling people around to join me, as if it was cool, from a middle seat of a packed airplane. You had to be there. But I digress.

Before last year's trip to Mysore I told James about it and he decided to try it and be jet-lag free. I could not. I get too hungry.  But he is stronger.

When He arrived in India he was 'disoriented'. For example, he did not know that the key was supposed to go in the key-hole to open the door, you know? confused, but not jet lagged.

His brain was not working at full capacity and I should probably have played a game of chess with him right then and WIN!... (darn!) but the actual time difference, it feeling like 3 AM when it is really 3 PM (and which normally takes me 4 to 6 days to adjust to), did not seem to affect him at all.

So this year... I tried it!

The not eating part was easy.  I just slept the whole trip to Dubai and pretended not to smell anything.  Whenever I got hungry I remembered Yoga Sutra 3.31 that says that by performing samyama (the last three limbs of yoga -concentration, meditation samadhi-) on the throat tip, hunger and thirst retire.

Notice I said "remembered" I am way too much of a beginner to brag about anything, however, somehow just putting my attention on it helped me.  Call it beginners luck.  I did drink plenty of fluids though.
The 380 from Emirates goes to Bangalore and has room for yoga
right near the staircase. I luuuuuuv that plane
The Dubai to Bangalore portion was easier, in a 3 hour flight not much is served.  Then the 3 hour car-ride to Mysore, Gosh! Does it ever end?.  I asked the driver if we could stop for chai, I wanted something warm. He did. Ahhh.

And so at 6 AM I arrived at my home in Gokulam and unpacked the bag I had left from last year.  I put all clothes in the drawers, prepared some tea, got the big bottle of water, and decided to keep going because: the worst thing you can do is fall asleep (or so James tells me).

In all fairness, that is what I did in my past two trips and waking up at 3 PM to go register was not pretty.

So the first thing I did was breakfast! I was now allowed after all, only thing is, I did not remember what time Santosha opened, and since the interenet was not yet connected guess what helped me?  My own book! There it was, in black and white, 8 AM.  It was one of those moments...

Then I got busy. Cleaned up, unpacked, went to Loyal World for food and other supplies, cooked, took a walk, went for more chai, bought a notebook, wrote this, Skyped James awake, and finally... registration.

My starting time tomorrow morning will be 10:30 as is customary these days.  Never done that before so good opportunity to practice yoga and more yoga, in this case the yoga of santosha (contentment) and adjustment to time.

Will the jet lag trick work?  We shall see.... Can that even be considered a cliff hanger?


  1. Your own book, hahaha! That's just great. Can't wait for the first conference notes.

  2. Ok, your chess challenge is on! I will land and as soon as I get to Mysore, 8am at Santosha I will take on all challengers.

  3. Such a great energy in this blog, I really love it <3 Thank for sharing all your expirience

  4. I'm nearly there, just a few days until I fly. I really struggle with jet lag so I'm going to try not eating...I would love to meet you. Hopefully I'll bump into you around Coconut Central {*}

  5. Congratulations on making it to Mysore again, Claudia! Well, this post gives us another reason why we should all try to write a book :-)

    James, I wish I can play a game of chess with you in the future (not when you're tired, of course), just so I can test out my own theory of intuitive chess playing (the general idea is not to think too much, just move), and see how I fare against a master like you. I'll probably lose, but I don't care... :-)

  6. What your there! thought Susan was talking about another Claudia. You kept that quiet or have I had my head so far in the sand...

    Have a wonderful trip, how long for this time. God Claudia, so happy your well enough to make it there this year, who'd have thought.

  7. You are in Mysore!! How wonderful Claudia. Seems like every other Ashtanga blogger is there right now. Hope you have great practice and looking forward to reading your reports!

  8. S/F yes that was almost sureal! I am excited about everything, like a kid in playground, only this time is more quiet, third time charm?

    James, you sure? OK, if you really are sure then pack that little chess set you have that is magnetic, OR maybe you know of a place where we can play online, oh yes, of course you know, you blinking programmed the thing! we are ON and I am WINNING! hee hee hee (I sooo wish)

    Loulou, love this naming of things, now Coconut Central, did not have that one! :-) And let me tell you I just woke up after sleeping 11 hours with a slight one hour wake up interruption, this thing MIGHT be working...

    Nobel, yes good idea, your book, can't wait! As per James, you heard him, be at Santosha next week at 8. With him, I would say that the intuitive thing... well, I dont know, let me put it this way. When we went to Argentina 3 years ago we visited the chess club. The young champion of Argentina under 17 was there and they played. James won. he is a ranked master although I know he may not like me saying so, but it is the truth... you are welcome to try just be warned, he moves the pieces at a VERY fast pace... bit overwhelming

    Grimmly, did not know Susan wrote will check, we met very serendipitously, it was sweet. I am staying for a month, we got to get back to the kids, we miss them and they are young. I am not much of a talker before I arrive not hiding just you never know how life comes up, like last year when I had Ramaswami planned and then got sick you know? so not to get anyone's hopes up... so I am also very happy the Lyme disease went away and that I actually could make it! blessing really! I am eternally grateful, again!

    YYOgini many blogers here, many teachers too, a real inspiration, so much dedication and deep practice

    Thanks Carmen! :-)

  9. oh so glad you are in mysore - and so looking forward reading about the adventures ;-) enjoy it ~ ivana

  10. Thanks Ivana, good to hear from you

  11. Claudia, This method DEFINITELY works and it's really smart. I'd add that it helps tremendously to drink way more water than the airlines will allow, and simply accept the annoyance of having to pee. Herbal melatonin at 6pm Mysore time is also a good idea.

    This post sort of inspired me to go deeper into the question of "What is Ahimsa?" Thank you for the inspiration and please know my continuation of the discussion is done in respect and love.

  12. Thanks (OvO) I wonder how you do it to drink SO much water, I seem to not be able to do so and cap out at about 5 maybe 6 glasses for the 12 hour flight, but will try it next time, to sort of force more drink into the body. Cracked me up on the "airlines will allow", as if it was alcohol, ha ha. Come to think of it I wonder now if someone started drinking so muhc... Glad it inspired you, wonder if there will be a post :-) Will keep an eye.

  13. I purchase a 2 liter bottle in the airport, drink as much of it as I can immediately, and then re-fill it from the drinking fountain before boarding. Then I drink the whole thing during the flight. Airline attendants sometimes look at me as if I'd just pulled out a bottle of Jamesons! They definitely prefer for people to drink almost nothing. Between the policy of discouraging decent hydration and the way the air gets kind of dried out and gross in the cabin, even short flights are a set-up for dehydration. I feel like a good amount of the air travel hangover is just from that... though undeniably there is a lot more going on (exposure to radiation, proximity to jet fuel, messing with the body's sense of time) that can't truly be erased.

  14. so 4 litters in total. Far more than what I drank. Will try that on the way back.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.