Let me preface by saying that in my opinion, there's no "right" way to meditate.
You don't have to be trained or have read any special mystical books, nor do you need to be seated cross-legged on a cushion with perfect posture, nestled in some magical environment.
In fact, it's often in the most unlikely of places and at the most random of times, that dropping into a meditation on a whim can do a whole lot of good.
One of those random places in particular? On an airplane.
Here are four reasons why meditation is a must-do when you're flying, plus a few tips to help get you started:
1. There's nothing else to do.
With longer flights often comes boredom, there's just no way around it. After hours of sitting in one place, we might peruse through the in-flight movies or do some work on our laptop, take a nap or get some reading done.
If we're traveling solo or have a poor Internet or TV connection (not to mention no phone calls or texts), we can find ourselves getting bored real quick.
So why not pass the time by calming and centering your mind? You're already 75% of the way there — you're sitting still and in silence.
Now just close your eyes and take some deep, mindful breaths.
2. Flying can cause stress and anxiety.
A fear of flying and not being in control — not to mention encountering turbulence — can raise your heart rate fast and make you uncomfortable.
So try this mantra in your head:
Say to yourself "I am safe" with every inhale, and "I am calm" with every exhale.
Keep this going for as long as you like and notice your heart rate start to lower and your mind begin to calm.
If you have mala beads, you can incorporate them in this meditation:
Place the mala in your right hand. Beginning from the tassel bead, move along to each next bead with your thumb allowing the mala to slide through your hand. Each time you move to another bead, repeat the above mantra in your head.
By offering your brain these positive thoughts, you'll keep from thinking of worst-case scenarios, and will begin to tune in to the present moment where everything is indeed, OK.
3. You'll get in the right mindset.
No matter where you're headed or where you're coming from, taking time to meditate while you're in transit will give you perspective and clarity about your journey.
Are you going on an exciting vacation? Tune in to how grateful you are for this experience.
Are you nervous about heading to a job interview? Check in with yourself about the ways you're smart enough, capable and passionate.
Heading to a competition? Visualize starting the big game and how you're going to execute that first play.
Traveling takes a toll on your physical body, but also on your mind. So on your flight home, make sure to take a moment to close your eyes and breathe to reset back to baseline, before jumping back into your everyday life.
4. You're treating yourself to self-care.
If "being busy" and "not having enough time in the day" are your excuses for not taking time for yourself (or meditating) on a regular basis, here's your chance!
You know exactly how much time you've got on your hands, so make room for a small chunk of self-care for YOU. There's no way you're too busy to take a few minutes for yourself in some meditation on your flight!
So there you have it, you can meditate anywhere and in a number of different ways: repeat a mantra you wish to manifest, visualize your ideal scenario, remember ways you're grateful, or just simply, to breathe.
And don't worry about looking like a spiritual weirdo to those in the aisles around you, they'll just think you're sleeping.