Air travel is all too often a boring experience at best and very stressful at worst. However, it does provide a unique opportunity to practice meditation. Doing so will not only take most of the tedium out of the journey, but also leave you feeling refreshed and positive when you arrive at your destination.
We often use the excuse that we don’t have time or have more important matters to attend to when it comes to meditation. However, when travelling by plane these excuses don’t hold up anymore, and there really is no reason not to relax, meditate and reap the benefits.
You don’t have to be a “trained professional” to do so, either, as there is no “right” way to meditate on a plane. You don’t even have to worry about looking silly while meditating as your fellow passengers will simply assume that you are catching some shut-eye during the trip.
1. It Is A Constructive Way To Spend Your Time
Anyone who has spent time on long flights will know how quickly you can run out of things to do. Browsing the in-flight movies is only interesting for so long, and a good book can help, but more often than not we resort to taking naps or try to do some work on our laptops.
Since all that is required for meditation is that you sit still, you can do it anytime during your flight. Simply relax, close your eyes and then start taking deep breaths. At first it can be tricky to tune out the hustle and bustle of fellow passengers, but with practice it becomes easier.
A trick that works for many people is to focus on a specific sound, such as the hum of the plane engine, while meditating.
2. It Reduces The Anxiety And Stress Of Air Travel
It has been around for ages, but air travel is not exactly a natural situation for us humans to be in. Some people deal with it easily, but many others suffer from anxiety and stress. Meditation is a great way to take your mind off the fact that you are encased in a large hunk of metal thousands of feet up in the air.
Dwelling on all the worst case scenarios will leave anyone mentally exhausted by the end of the flight, so turning to meditation is a much better way to pass time and calm down. It is also a better option than turning to medication or alcohol as it won’t leave you feeling groggy and lethargic.
Some therapists recommend loading meditation tracks on your phone and listening to these during the flight. By practicing to use these before the flight it is also easier to slip into a meditative state while flying.
Some people also find it easier to meditate during air travel by using mala beads.
3. It Helps You To Get Into The Right State Of Mind
No matter what the purpose or destination of your plane trip is, meditation will ensure that you arrive in the right state of mind and ready to face the challenges or opportunities. It will also give you a positive attitude which can be invaluable if the purpose of your trip is business, work or competition related.
It is still possible to meditate even if you don’t have access to a MP3 player or mala beads. Repeating a mantra while focusing on your breathing is also a technique that works well for many people. Repeating the mantra over and over will focus your mind and bring it to a peaceful state.
The Soham, or universal mantra as it is also known, is one of the easiest mantras to use during air travel. Say “so” internally while breathing in slowly through your nostrils and “ham” while exhaling. Make sure that you repeat the mantra internally and not audibly to avoid disturbing your fellow passengers or causing embarrassing incidents.
4. It Is In Your Own Best Interest
Practitioners of meditation already know it, but there is scientific proof to back up the advantages of regular meditation. From increased mental strength and focus to decreased anxiety and worry, there are numerous reasons to take the time out for meditation.
Since, when left to our own devices, we will often find excuses not to take the time out for meditation because it feels like a luxury, plane travel can force us to do so.
From invasive security screenings to jet lag and uncomfortable seats, there are a lot of negative aspects associated with plane travel. However, by practicing meditation you can turn it into a positive experience or, at the very least, make the journey less stressful and more relaxing.