I’ve been blessed with lots of travel during the past few years. All this travel has resulted in lots of time spent in airports. Airports can be exciting places to pass through but challenging places to spend extended periods of time in.
Recently I had a three-hour layover in the Los Angeles airport. This layover gave me plenty of time to observe my fellow humans, and myself, as we waited for our flights.
It occurred to me that airports could be an interesting sociological study of human behaviour. How do we individually and collectively navigate line-ups, security systems, food choices and sharing confined spaces? Is our behaviour in airports similar to our behaviour outside in the ‘real’ world?
Personally, I am faced with my impatience in airports. Why do I have to endure security systems? Why do I have to wait to get on/off the plane? I am also faced with judgment of others. Why are they choosing to eat/drink like that? Why are we all tuned into our phones and ignoring each other? Airports also highlight my own intolerances.
Why are those people not parenting their child the way I think they should? Why is that person speaking so loudly? Airports clearly do not bring out the best in me, so I’ve decided to use my reactions in airports as my yoga practice.
From now on, I will do my best to practice the eightfold path of yoga while traveling. I will remember the ethical principles of the Yamas and Niyamas and try to be the kindest, most compassionate human I can be. I will work with Pranayama (breathing practices) and Pratyahara (withdrawal of senses) to help steady my mind and body. When faced with long security line-ups, instead of frustration, I will practice Dharana and try concentrating my focus on a specific point – either internal or external. When I do get the chance to sit down and wait, instead of looking around and judging everyone, I will try to meditate.
I know I will not reach Samadhi at the airport or anywhere else in my life but I’m hopeful that yoga’s eightfold path will help steady me into a kinder, gentler mind and body state.
How about you, have you ever thought about how you conduct yourself in airports?