It’s not always easy to find a good spot to meditate when we’re on the road.
I often keep reminding myself that meditation is not exclusively limited to a calm, serene and quiet location. On the contrary; there may be times when the most unexpected, noisy and crowded place can be exactly the right space for a rewarding meditation practice.
Lively places can invite us to include the sounds, smells and sensations of our surroundings into our practice by either focusing on them or by letting them emerge and pass on in a more vipassana style of meditation.
It is not necessary to sit cross-legged in a meditation and we certainly don’t always need a bolster or meditation cushion. All it takes is some flexibility, open-mindedness and the will to practice – anytime, anywhere.
Here are eight places that make for a great meditation space when traveling:
1. Airports, bus stations and train terminals
Why not spend your waiting time in meditation? Airports, bus stations and train terminals make great spots to get into your own peaceful zone and will make your waiting time worthwhile.
Just grab one of the chairs in the waiting hall or use your luggage as a meditation cushion to sit on and tune in with yourself and your surroundings.
Just make sure you set a timer so you don’t relax so much you miss your trip!
2. Transport vehicles
It’s not only the waiting areas that work well, but the respective mediums of transportation too. Traveling time on buses, trains, planes and even ships makes room for a nice bit of meditation. Lean back into your chair, close your eyes … and travel to your inner world as the outer world passes by.
Museums make for a perfect location to meditate as they are often peaceful and serene spots. Focusing on an object, such as a painting, sculpture or an installation invites us to practice both dharana (intense focus, concentration) and dhyana (meditation, contemplation). You might be inspired by the displayed art and objects as well.
4. Public squares
Any open public area can qualify for a good meditation spot. Use the shady space in the corner of a city square for a seated meditation with open or closed eyes. Find the stillness within yourself as the world drifts by.
5. In bed
Practicing meditation doesn’t require you to be in a seated position. In fact, a lying meditation like yoga nidra is one of the best ways to include it into your everyday routine since you lie down at least daily!
No matter if you are in a quiet hotel room or a more lively hostel, simply close your eyes and meditate away. Nobody else around will even notice your state of meditative bliss.
To be honest, it is sometimes not easy to stay awake when meditating in bed. But if you fall asleep your body will get a little extra rest, which may be exactly what you are in need of in the given moment.
6. Religious buildings
Churches, temples, mosques or pagodas are a natural choice, as they are peaceful spots specifically designed for spiritual and inner contemplation.
You can find them anywhere while traveling, even the smallest of villages tend to have a religious venue of some kind where you can rest quietly and meditate. And you certainly do not need to be religious to enter them – being respectful to the etiquette of the place is usually all it takes.
And on top of your personal meditation practice, you may get an interesting cultural experience too!
Meditate on a stunning mountain top, in a lush forest, on a breathtaking beach, a vast desert or a lively city park. Relax and indulge in the abundance that nature has to offer.
Staying connected with nature in all its beautiful and diverse facets while meditating is a truly wonderful experience and in my personal favorite spot, both on and off traveling!
Retreat centres are the most obvious of places and certainly the best when you want to dedicate some exclusive time to deepening your meditation practice. Pick your choice from a wide variety of retreats such as a silent retreat in Bali or a meditation weekend in an old monastery in Tuscany.
Anything that feels right for you will make for a rewarding meditation experience!
This article was written by Helene. She is a yoga teacher and traveling yogini, taking the practice with her wherever she goes. She teaches yoga and hosts retreats in Europe, mainly in Spain and in her native home, Austria. Helene blogs about her passions, yoga and travel via her project ‘Space for Yoga’ – http://spaceforyoga.eu/en/.
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