Do it now: Zen & the art of mind maintenance

Want to sleep better, manage stress and anxiety, or simply feel a bit more zen? There's a reason meditation is being embraced by travellers everywhere

By Sam Lewis
Published 10 Jan 2018, 12:00 GMT, Updated 12 Jul 2021, 15:37 BST
Yoga Safari, Namibia

If you're thinking of making meditation one of your New Year resolutions, you're not alone. According to the Global Wellness Summit, meditation will become more mainstream due to its ability to improve mental health
— one of the biggest wellness concerns.

Master of meditation, former Buddhist monk and co-founder of guided meditation app Headspace, Andy Puddicombe recommends beginning with short, easy-to-learn techniques (see below). He also suggests incorporating it into your routine (for example, shower, meditate; brush your teeth, meditate) and keeping it 'fresh' — approaching it in 'the same way as you do your travels, with an open mind, free from expectation and curious in what you might find.'

The good news for travellers is you don't have to sit in the same place every day for meditation to work. Andy recommends trying it in a cab, on a plane — or even while waiting at the airport.


Get guided meditation from expert, Deepak Chopra, by attending one of his short retreats at California's Omni La Costa Resort & Spa. The resort is Chopra's HQ, and also offers more than 600 rooms, eight swimming pools and 17 tennis courts. From £584 for two days without accommodation.

Guests at The Chatwal in New York can chill out with one-to-one meditation sessions with the 'rock star of meditation' Donna D'Cruz. The Dip into Wellbeing package includes one night's accommodation and the stress-melter treatment at the hotel's spa. From £684 per night, based on two guests.

Namaste offers seven- and 10-day safari adventures in Namibia where guests can participate in yoga, guided walks, massages and meditation surrounded by nature. The six-night all-inclusive price for shared accommodation is from £2,135.

Ananda in the Himalayas offers meditation and silent retreats with an extensive spa menu. They have launched a new retreat with the London Meditation Centre (24-31 March 2018). Seven-night retreats from £3,673.


Focused attention
Gently focus your attention on your breath. When the mind wanders (and it will), simply let go of any thoughts that have come to mind, bringing your attention back to the breath.

Once you realise you've been distracted, and before returning to the breath, mentally 'note' the distraction as 'thinking' — you'll have more clarity about the nature of distraction.

Rather than using the breath as the focus, try concentrating on a mental image instead. Gently picture that image and when you realise the mind has wandered, come back to the image again.

Published in the Jan/Feb 2018 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)


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