How to Meditate on Your Commute

While staying safe.

By Lauren McGoodwin
notebook, meditate

“I just don’t have time to meditate.” 

If you’re like me, this is your knee-jerk response to the constant messages that meditation can improve seemingly all areas of life. Countless studies have proven the benefits of meditation to treat stress, anxiety, and the many illnesses associated with both. 

And what I’ve learned through experience is that meditation is a form of self care that is truly accessible to everyone. Yes, even you.

As I said, I had the same “no time” response when I spoke to meditation experts Ashley Graber and Shira Myrow on a recent episode of The Femails. But, I was wrong. Here’s the thing. Many of us are under the impression that if we are going to meditate, we need a yoga mat, a candle-lit room, essential oils, and mood music. But, that simply isn’t true. 

Here’s how I found space for a meditation practice in an unexpected (and formerly very stressful) place—my car. Yes, meditating in my car is my new reality.

Finding your meditation space

Here’s why I had “no time” for meditation. I spend roughly three hours a day commuting to and from my office in DTLA. While I’m actually at work, I don’t have time to dip out to a secluded space (ah, the joys of coworking) or sneak out to a meditation studio. 

Little did I know, I had a roving meditation studio with me every day—my Prius. 

Commuting in Los Angeles can be a downright harrowing experience. Since I’m basically locked into a few hours of commuting on Monday through Friday, I decided to try infusing a little bit of meditation into my vehicle—alongside my audiobooks and a daily call with my mom.

Small Ways to Meditate (Yes, Even in Your Car)

If you still think I’m unhinged for starting a meditation practice in my car, listen up. Here are a few ways you can start meditating in your car—or on the train, bus, or (lucky you) walk to work. 

Just Breathe

Meditation doesn’t necessarily mean you need to light candles and close your eyes. Not to mention that would be extraordinarily dangerous on the freeway. Rather, it’s taking the time to breathe mindfully—even if just for five minutes. 

You actually wouldn’t believe how this practice has helped me. Did someone cut you off? Breathe through it. Is traffic moving at an astoundingly snail-like pace? Breathe. Is the day ahead of you promising to be super busy and stressful? You guessed it, breathe through it. Reclaim this time for yourself. Check-in with your feelings, your anxieties, and your overall mood. 

Concentrated breathing is a great way to start your meditation practice—even from your car. 

Get an App

We live in a bountiful world when it comes to meditation apps. Apps like Evenflow or Headspace are great for starting a meditation practice from scratch. Hook your phone up to your car speakers and get started with basic meditation on the go. 

If you’re a bus or train commuter, an app is a great tool, too. Drown out the noise (and people) around you with a few sessions on your meditation app. 

The amazing thing about apps is that they do all the work for you. If you decided to keep a simple practice, you can do that. If you find that mediation really grounds you, you may extend your practice beyond your four-dour sedan. Try it out! 

Practice Mindfulness

You can also use your car as a place to practice mindfulness. There are debates as to the difference between meditation and mindfulness. While I’m not here to start trouble, I like to view mindfulness as a type of meditation. 

Mindfulness is actually great to practice in your car or on your commute. 

Mindfulness is about taking yourself out of your noisy stream of loud thoughts. Instead, mindfulness is about taking a non-judgmental look at what’s happening around you. How is the sunlight streaming through your window? What color is the sky today? How is your stomach feeling right now? Are you hungry or satisfied? What color is the car in front of you? 

Mindfulness means slowing down and taking it all in. It’s checking in on you and your surrounding. Try this out on your next commute.

camille styles journal

Set Intentions

If you’re still not convinced that meditation is a worthy use of your time, try some intention-setting along with it. 

Take the time to breathe, to practice mindfulness, and to slow down. From there, set intentions for your upcoming day or the night ahead of you. 

What are you going to try differently today?

Are you going to slow down and meditate again today?

How are you going to serve your mind, your body, your coworkers or your family today?

By taking a few minutes to set intentions (not goals!) you can release yourself from the constant stream of pressure and judgment you normally put yourself under. 

Are you going to try out meditation? Let me know how it goes!