I have a love-hate relationship with flying. I need it for my work, to see my family back in The Netherlands, but at the same time, I always find getting to the airport, waiting in line, being cramped in the airplane such a hassle and it just stresses me out.
THE RESEARCH BEHIND PLANE MEDITATION
Most of us love to travel, but to get somewhere by plane is usually nothing more than a necessary evil. Especially if you travel economy most of the time, like I do, you have to deal with sitting too close to people you don’t know in a cramped space, the sounds of crying babies and having to crawl over the people next to you just to get to the toilet.
Besides being uncomfortable, some of us suffer of more serious fears when flying and find it hard to relax on an airplane, no matter how long the flight is.
Apart from distracting yourself by trying to sleep, work or binge-watching movies, there is another way to unwind on a plane that’s far more beneficial to you, and that is meditation.
Meditation Tips for Travellers
It’s a misconception that mediation can only be done in a room with a lit candle, while sitting cross-legged on your yoga mat. On the contrary: you can do meditation pretty much anywhere! Here are 5 tips that show you how easy it can be to use meditation techniques on your next trip:
1 – Start Before You’re Sitting Down
Did you know that a lot of airports have special meditation rooms where you can enjoy a bit of peace and quiet time? These rooms are not just for those who pray, they really can benefit anyone. Some airports step up their game and install entire yoga rooms to help you overcome pre-flight nervousness and make sure you board the plane as relaxed as possible.
2 – Focus on Your Breathing
Focusing on your breath is something you can do on any leg of your journey. Whether you’re on your way to airport, in a long security line or waiting for the plane to take off, simply inhale for four counts, so your stomach expands, then exhale for eight counts to let your stomach contract again. If you do this for a few minutes, you will notice you’re feeling calmer real quick!
3 – Focus on Your Posture
Take a moment to focus on how you’re currently standing or, as soon as you’re on the plane, sitting down. Do you have both feet firmly on the ground, a little apart from each other? Is nothing blocking your feet from moving around, like a bag or blanket? Do you maybe want to remove your shoes or belt? Do you wear loose clothing? Is your colon elongated to the top of your head? Are your arms and hands relaxed and free to move? Are your shoulders pointing down? A true relaxing flight starts with you being as comfortable as possible. Bringing a (inflatable) pillow will help also you keep your posture throughout the flight.
4 – Repeat a Mantra
Mantras are a repetition of words that can help take your mind to a more quiet and more focused place during meditation. Think about mantras such as “I am safe”, “I am calm”, or “I am at ease”. Close your eyes and repeat this silent mantra for about 10-20 minutes and remember to focus on your breath before opening your eyes. Bringing noise canceling headphones can help you stay focused.
5 – Consider Downloading a Meditation App
There are a dozen of meditation apps for you to download these days and they really can help to make you feel focused because of the guiding you get. Some airlines even have guided meditation options in their in-flight entertainment systems, in partnership with apps such as the popular ‘Headspace’. For example, Virgin America created guidance videos for travellers that help them find sleep, focus or simply switch off for a while. And British Airways has a whole channel full of short meditation exercises. Delta flights offer the ‘OMG. I Can Meditate!’ series that even include guidance to manage holiday stress, in case you needed that.
As you can see, meditation doesn’t have to be hard and you can do it for just a few minutes to already start seeing results. Next time you’re at the airport, why not put your phone down while waiting to board your flight and take some time to meditate, instead?