Why Inflight Meditation is the Ultimate Jet Lag Buster

by Jillian Lavender for Get the Gloss


Fashion week is arguably the busiest time in a models calendar with long casting days, early mornings, late nights and of course plenty of air travel to and from fashion week destinations. Jillian Lavender from the London Meditation Centre and Be Well Collective Expert writes for Get The Gloss on how to positively impact wellbeing by using this in-flight time wisely...

Flying is one of the most demanding experiences for the body. You’re in a pressurised tin can at 37,000 feet, travelling through different time zones, becoming dehydrated and breathing stale air. It takes a toll on your body. So you arrive at your destination, feeling somewhere between jaded and exhausted. Your body’s natural circadian rhythms are thrown off and your digestion is pulled out of balance. We were not designed to function at altitude ‑ no wonder you’re jet lagged!

When I learned to meditate, I was flying long haul a lot – usually from Australia to the States or Europe. They were long trips and I would land, race to the hotel, shower and then an hour later turn up to a meeting or presentation. Then I'd fly home and do the same thing – arrive on the red eye, race home to drop my bags, shower and head into the office to catch up on everything that had happened while I was away. After a couple of years of this, I was drained.

I was regularly coming down with colds and I was propping myself up with caffeine and sugar. I looked and felt ten years older than I was - not good!

Thankfully, meditation changed all that. I was able to meditate throughout the flight and so, at last, I could get good rest while I was travelling.

“It can transform your travel hangover and stop you reaching for caffeine, sugar and sleeping pills - across Sienna Miller swears by it.” Meditation expert Jillian Lavender explains how

Sienna Miller, one of our students at the London Meditation Centre said recently how Vedic Meditation, which she learned with us, transformed her experience of jet lag. “This is going to sound a little hokey, I know,” she said “But I once did a Vedic meditation course at the London Meditation Centre where they advised meditating during take-off and landing. People roll their eyes when I tell them but it works, I promise.”

Another of our students, a senior corporate lawyer, wrote to us recently to share the life-changing effect of meditation on jet lag. She’s someone who flies long-haul every week, as her recent Facebook status confirms: “gearing up for a bit of a travel sprint (NYC today, Amsterdam Tuesday, London Wednesday, back to NYC on Thursday)” and she’s expected to be on form when she arrives. Here’s what she had to say: 

“As someone who lives abroad with a travel-intensive job, I find myself doing a lot of long-haul travel. In order to regulate my sleep during and after trips, I was very reliant on sleeping pills and caffeine.

With meditation, I find that I feel virtually no effects of jet lag and have no need for depressants or stimulants. As a result, I find myself with more energy than I can remember both during and after travel.”

Flying creates extreme fatigue in the system. The deep rest of meditation is a powerful antidote. Rather than gain tiredness, when you meditate on the flight you gain rest and arrive more refreshed. This is why, when flying, we tell our students they can meditate more than the usual programme of 20 minutes twice-a-day. With a long-haul flight, we recommend meditating on take-off and landing, as well as once or twice more during the trip. 

Vedic Meditation involves sitting easily with the eyes closed for 20 minutes morning and evening. With this as your regular daily practice, you’ll recover and adjust to the new time zone very quickly. Your immune system will be stronger and your hormones more balanced by not having stress and exhaustion build up in your body. That way you get the most out of your precious holiday time or deal with work demands more easily and successfully. 

If you don’t have a daily meditation practice, then try this simple breathing exercise to restore inner calm (because as we know, the whole process of travel creates stress. Long queues and security checks are enough to get you worked up before you even get on the plane).

Sit comfortably, close the eyes and breathe in deeply through the nose. Let the slow, steady rhythm of your breath set the pace (we tend to breathe through our mouth when we are stressed). Five minutes of gentle breathing in and out through the nose will settle you down, leaving you more relaxed. Just like meditation, this can be done throughout the flight – especially on take-off and landing and any time you feel tired or fidgety.

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