Meditation Guide for Frequent Travelers

Meditating on the road can be challenging if you’re feeling tired and overloaded. However, there are some guiding principles and practical strategies to help you remain consistent with your practice while you travel.

Guiding Principles

  1. Add variety to your routine. If being in an unfamiliar place makes it harder to settle down into your habitual activities, turn the circumstances around to your advantage. This is a chance to experiment with new techniques.
  2. Be flexible. Work with whatever you have on hand. Borrow a pillow from your bed to use as a cushion if your Zafu is too fluffy to fit into your carry-on bag. If you usually burn incense, apply a scented lotion along your shoulders and neck for a light touch of fragrance.
  3. Focus on quality over quantity. If you’re suffering from a lack of sleep or your daily agenda is jam packed, go easy on yourself. Even 5 minutes of meditation can help relax and restore you. Pushing yourself too hard can backfire and leave you feeling tenser.
  4. Make obstacles part of your practice. The more you travel, the more you come to expect that things will sometimes turn out differently than planned. If you have an unexpected layover, take a few minutes to relax so you’ll feel calmer as you revise your plans.
  5. Let go of expectations. Traveling can be a valuable lesson if you use it to remind yourself that external conditions are beyond your control. Even so, you can still protect your peace of mind. Practice remaining neutral when flights get delayed or luggage gets lost.
  6. Maintain healthy habits. The mind and body are closely connected, so it’s easier to concentrate when you take care of your physical health. Stick to nutritious foods, daily exercise and adequate rest.

Practical Strategies

  1. Bring a familiar object along with you. You’ll feel more at home if you pack a small item that reminds you to practice. It’s easy to bring a small bell that you can ring to call your mind to attention.
  2. Mask background noises. Noise can be a distraction if you have a hotel room next to the elevator. Keep a pink noise recording loaded on your iPhone or MP3 player. It will sound like soft rain in the background.
  3. Wear eyeshades. Meditation is hard to spot from the outside. If you wear eyeshades, flight attendants and seatmates will assume you’re asleep and they’ll be less likely to start talking to you.
  4. Schedule a meditation session for whenever you wake up. The most disruptive thing about travel may be getting off your regular schedule, especially if you’re crossing into new time zones. By meditating whenever you wake up, you’ll stay on track.
  5. Find a local meditation center. Having some company around may motivate you to meditate. Search online for local mediation centers at your destination. They’re everywhere – from yoga studios to community centers.
  6. Meditate outdoors. Travel is much more stimulating if you get out of your hotel room. Go down to the beach or ask the staff at the front desk if there’s a park or public garden nearby.
  7. Try walking meditation. If the last thing you want to do is sit down again after a long flight, walk around while you meditate. Just focus on your breath or positive thoughts while you adopt a steady and gentle pace.

Traveling enriches your life with new experiences and opportunities. By working some meditation time into your schedule, you’ll have more energy to enjoy all the wonderful things around you wherever you go.

How to Sit Comfortably While Meditating

Learning to sit comfortably while meditating will help you welcome more relaxation and peace of mind into your life. If you’d like to start meditating but feel too uncomfortable to sit for long, these steps will help.

Steps to Take Between Your Meditation Sessions:

1.      Keep limber. It’s easier to sit comfortably if you work on improving your flexibility in advance. Many people use yoga to accomplish this, but any program of gentle stretching will help. Just remember to warm up first to prevent injury.

2.      Maintain a healthy body weight. Meditating can give you one more good reason to shed any excess pounds. You may feel more comfortable while meditating if you keep physically fit.

3.      Breathe deeply. Breathing correctly plays a major role in meditating. Make it a habit to breathe from your diaphragm so your abdomen falls and rises rather than your chest. Let the air flow through your nostrils instead of your mouth.

4.      Practice good posture. You’re more likely to practice good posture on the cushion if you keep track of it even when you’re not meditating. Try to always be aware of keeping your back straight and your shoulders relaxed. Imagine you’re pushing your abdomen gently toward your back so you hold it slightly tucked.

5.      Cultivate a calm mind. You’ll get more out of meditating if you try to hold onto a calm mind all day. If you start your meditation session in a peaceful state of mind, it will be easier to get into position faster and spend more time focused on your objectives.

Steps to Take During Your Meditation Sessions:

1.      Start gradually. It’s great if you’re all ready for the full lotus position, but there’s nothing wrong with making a more gradual start. Sit in a chair if it’s painful to sit on the floor. Sit for a few minutes at a time to begin with, and then increase the time in steady increments.

2.      Position your body correctly. No matter how you sit, keep your back straight and your abdomen tucked under. Pretend your head is being gently lifted by a balloon so you hold it high without straining your neck. If you use a chair, keep both feet flat on the floor. If you use a cushion, cross your legs and bring your feet toward your waist.

3.      Shift positions when you need to. Your ability to sit still for longer periods will naturally increase with time but it’s always okay to shift positions if you feel pain or stiffness. Stand up and stretch or just re-cross your legs placing the other leg on top for a while. Roll your shoulders or gently bend your head toward one shoulder at a time.

4.      Figure out what to do with your hands. There are two options that work well: rest your hands on your knees or rest them in your lap. Any arrangement that keeps your hands supported and out of the way is fine.

5.      Hold your tongue. As you move your focus inwards and stop talking, you may experience discomfort as you become more aware of the saliva in your mouth. One easy solution is to touch the roof of your mouth with your tongue. This naturally inhibits the flow of saliva.

6.      Lower your eyes. If visual images distract you, try lowering your eyelids so there’s just a small sliver of light before you. Keep your eyes softly focused without targeting any single object. You can even close your eyes as long as it doesn’t encourage you to fall asleep.

Meditation can transform your life with spiritual insights and greater peace. Learning to sit comfortably will help you focus on your objectives without any aches and pains getting in the way.