Whether you’re traveling by air for business or pleasure, getting packed, standing in line and the large amounts of people in airports can be stressful. You have only to search online for tried and true ways to minimize stress while traveling, like eat healthy while traveling, make sure to hydrate, maintain your exercise plan and get in lots of walking. And while these are all great ideas, finding a few moments to meditate or simply mentally check out of the hustle and bustle can do wonders for travel-related stress.
Have you considered meditating or practicing yoga at the airport? Are you thinking there’s no place to get away? Think again. Frequent practitioners of yoga and meditation know that there’s no time like the present to go to your calm place. And airports around the world have been aware of this practice for quite a while.
Is He Asleep?
Worried about what other people will think when you seemingly zone out in the middle of a crowd? One of our favorite ways to meditate while on the go, is to pop in our earbuds and use a meditation app or simply find an audio entrainment track or guided meditation to listen to on YouTube. People around you understand not to talk or bother you, and you have an excuse for looking like your zoning out or sleeping. Maybe you’re listening to a self-help audiobook or learning a foreign language. Or, if you’re lucky you’ll be traveling through an airport that caters to mindful travelers with areas specially designed for meditation, internal reflection or a quick yoga sequence.
Many airports have dedicated spaces of solitude. Sometimes the room will be called an interfaith prayer room or a designated quiet seating area, and sometimes it’s actually a yoga studio, but regardless of the name, it is a place for travelers to quiet their mind and reconnect with their spiritual source.
And in the tradition of dedicated quiet spaces, the Dubai International Airport created a Zen garden to encourage tranquil thoughts, Changi Airport Singapore has indoor and outdoor nature trails and gardens, and the Munich Airport has Nap Cabins where you can catch up on your sleep or work quietly on your laptop.
How Do You Meditate?
- Sit comfortably.
- Close your eyes.
- Make no effort to control your breath, simply breathe naturally.
- Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.
- Notice the movement of your body as you breathe.
- Observe your chest, shoulders, rib cage, and belly.
- Focus your attention on your breath without controlling its pace or intensity.
- If your mind wanders, return your focus back to your breath.
- Maintain this meditation practice for two to three minutes to start, and then try it for longer periods.
Here is a list of airports with designated spaces of solitude and enlightenment:
- Albany International Airport, New York
- Albuquerque International Airport, New Mexico
- Baltimore Washington International, Maryland
- Burlington International Airport, Vermont
- Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, Illinois
- Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Texas
- Dayton International Airport, Ohio
- General Mitchell International Airport, Wisconsin
- Minneapolis Saint Paul International Airport, Minnesota
- Mineta San Jose International Airport, California
- Port Columbus International Airport, Ohio
- Raleigh-Durham International Airport, North Carolina
- San Diego International Airport, California
- San Francisco International Airport, California
- Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport, Pennsylvania
How Can You Find The Time?
You may wish to spend two to three hours meditating, but let’s get real. Everyone is busy and sometimes life is paced faster than a James Patterson novel. Unless you pencil in time to meditate or take a yoga class, time to reflect can be pushed to the bottom of the to-do pile indefinitely. An easy way to get in several, beneficial sessions of mediation is to break it up into segments of 10-15 minutes. First session in the morning before you get out of the bed, one on your lunch break, another when you’re stuck in traffic (don’t close your eyes!), waiting in a long line or waiting on a late lunch date and one more before bed.
- Dusseldorf International Airport, Germany
- Gatwick Airport, England
- Geneva International Airport, Switzerland
- Helsinki Airport, Finland
- Kuala Lampur International Airport, Malaysia
- Queen Beatrix International Airport, Aruba
- Schipol Amsterdam Airport, Netherlands
Same thing applies when you’re traveling, one session before you leave for the airport, another one after you’ve checked in, another one on the plane and another one when you arrive. And even if you can’t fit all of these mini-sessions in, you’re bound to get in one or two. And every little bit helps.