Summer is upon us: BBQs, fresh summer produce, long days, and fat chances for travel. No matter if you are heading out for some adventure, taking a well deserved rest, or staying at home, our usual routines are endangered.
This is particularly true for our meditation practices.
Did you finally get used to starting the day with some breathing or other form of meditation? Well, I'm sorry to break the news to you, but chances are you will fall off the wagon (again!) during this time of year. The irregularities of traveling or different schedules just makes it hard to practice.
You would like to stick to it at least enough to pick it back up once Labor Day rolls around?
Here are some sure-fire steps to travel-proof your meditation this summer:
1. Schedule it:
If you have extra time this summer, you might think that meditating will be a piece of cake. Wrong. Time flies and before you know it you can barely remember the last time you did do your practice.
Look at your plans for the week and gauge when meditation would fit in without adding stress to your life. If you normally set your alarm to meditate before work or before the kids wake up, you might not want to do that while vacationing. There is just something so sweet about sleeping in and not having to do anything (not even non-doing).
Some good times: waiting times, like at the airport or on the plane (assuming you don't have kids that are too young to bring their own gadgets). Or after winding down at the end of the day.
To take a minute to think about when some meditation time could fit in goes a long way towards actually doing it. If you travel with somebody, make sure they are on board or -- even better -- do it with you.
2. Nature calls -- answer:
If your trip brings you into nature, make use of that. How often do you get to meditate under a tree in the woods, by a stream, on a boulder or on the beach? There is something innately soothing about nature. Take it all in, with all of your senses. Be here. Really here.
3. BYOC -- Bring your own cushion:
If you sit on the floor at home, bring your cushion or bench along. There is nothing like feeling the familiar seat under your backside for meditation. That shouldn't be a problem if you travel by car, but if you're flying, I recommend that you try out some travel options, like a light folding meditation bench or an inflatable meditation cushion.
4. Have some audios ready:
The mind on vacation is not necessarily more at ease. Often it's even busier or extra sleepy during travels. Listening to guided meditations is very helpful even if that normally isn't your thing. There are many online resources to download guided meditations of any length. Make sure you have them downloaded before you need them, supposedly there are still areas with no WiFi or LTE reception out there.
5. Piggy back it:
It might be easier to stick to your workout routine than to your meditation while on the road. Why not combine the two? Start your workout with 10 minutes of meditation or do a formal chill down at the end. Piggy-backing works really well with staying in bed just 10 or 15 minutes longer and meditating either propped up or just staying lying down. Once you have caught up on sleep, you are less likely to doze off again.
6. Take it easy:
Don't stress it. Even the most experienced meditators I have asked have a hard time sticking to their daily practice while on the road. That goes for both frequency and length of practice.
Travel-proofing your meditation is easier that you think. The motto is, "Do something at least every couple of days." This is enough to keep you going through travel time and to pick up your daily routine once back home.
And don't forget about "informal" practice. Simply coming back to this moment over and over. We choose to be fully present with all of our senses for what we are doing anyways, for example walking on the beach (feel the sand under your feet, the breeze on your skin, hear the waves crashing) or sitting at the camp fire (really watch the fire, feel yourself sitting, maybe looking at your friends, smelling the marshmallows). Feel yourself grounded in the present moment with whatever is happening around you. Enjoy. Isn't this why you wanted to go on vacation in the first place?
In the comments I'd love to hear how you keep your meditation practice alive while traveling.