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A Simple Meditation Guide for Frequent (and new) Family 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.
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.
Work with whatever you have on hand. Borrow a pillow from your bed to use as a cushion if your Zafu (pillow, cushion or mat) is too fluffy to fit into your carry-on bag. If you usually burn incense, apply a scented lotion along your shoulders and neck (as well as the kids) for a soft touch of fragrance.
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 will almost certainly backfire and leave you and the kids feeling tenser.
Build Up Your Resistance
The more you and your family travel, the more you’ll all come to expect that things will sometimes turn out differently than planned. That’ll help you and your family develop a strong sense of perseverance you can’t buy. If you have an unexpected layover, take a few minutes to relax so you’ll feel calmer as you revise your plans. Many airports, if not all, have prayer/faith rooms (free of course!) Use these to your benefit as well. In case you have small children, be sure to “role-play” your prayer & meditation time at home so the kids understand what you expect of them when you’re traveling out and about!
Let it go. Let go of all your 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. In turn, you’ll naturally model and teach this to your kids as well.
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.
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 can be as simple as bringing a small bell that you can ring to call your mind to attention or a bracelet or piece of jewelry. Then, you can wear it and remove it as you complete your practice. Girls will especially love this and boys can easily adapt this with another sensible token such as a rubber band or watch etc. (Can you tell I don’t have boys? lol Sorry Mamas)
Blend Out Background Noises
Noise can be a distraction if you have a hotel room next to the elevator or noisy “neighbors”. Keep a pink noise recording loaded on your iPhone, Andriod or MP3 player. It will sound like soft rain in the background. There are plenty of free apps in both stores to help with this.
Some of my favorites are:
- White noise generator
- Relax Melodies
- or THIS soundtrack
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. Bonus points if you also use headphones.
Schedule a Meditation Session (for immediately when 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. The most obvious way to hold yourself and your family accountable is by using an alarm. Need an unconventional way? Use a service like- Focusmate!
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.
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. This is also ideal, if the meditation centers around aren’t kid-friendly.
Opt For 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 (and your family’s) with new experiences and opportunities. By working some meditation time into your schedule, you’ll all have more energy to enjoy all the wonderful things around you wherever you go.