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Is “Rawdogging” a Flight as Awful as It Sounds?

To answer these questions and more, we turned to a few experts.

Is “rawdogging” just a place-specific term for meditation?

Yes. Carlos Diaz, who leads the meditation practice at The Ranch Malibu’s new Hudson Valley outpost, defines meditation as being “more present, relaxed, and aware of what’s happening in your body and mind.” To find the beauty, the miracle, in our most mundane settings—and in fact, to watch the flight tracker and develop an awareness of the great lengths you are traveling and places you are passing over, can be grounding: “If this is going to stir something in you where you can fall in love with yourself and your immediate environment, then it’s working. If you’re just doing it to post about it, then you might be touching on some elements but missing the point. It’s about your intention. You can shift from ‘doing’ to ‘being’ and observe without constant action.”

Diaz goes further to highlight the setting of air travel as being particularly conducive to meditation, saying, “You are literally above the clouds and this should help you shift your perspective on life—reconsider how important the little things down below are, how incredible it is that you are able to fly through the air.” It’s a different state of mind—and taking media out of the equation naturally leads to this place.

Will Schneider, host of Men Talking Mindfulness, is similarly excited about the trend, saying, “Think about it like a candle wick meditation, where you watch the flame burn and burn and that’s all you do.” He also expresses disappointment in the mounting critique that the online trend was just another form of “toxic masculinity,” as this is in fact a case of participating men keeping to themselves. It’s worth mentioning that, since the initial flood of male posters like West, ample footage has been uploaded of women doing the same thing. Schneider also counters my point about posting such activity being antithetical to its purpose with, “Social media isn’t going away, but this is one instance where sharing what you’re doing could get someone else to try something new and good as well.”

Don’t be daunted by the prospect of such ceaseless alone time, either. Diaz notes that a common misconception from skeptical or nervous clients is that meditation just doesn’t work for them, that they cannot manually empty their minds. “It’s not about stopping the mind. It’s about observing it without changing it, judging it, or engaging it.”

Can you drink water while rawdogging?

Abstaining from food and water while rawdogging is not necessary, and doing the latter is unwise. Nutritionist Dani O’Brien recommends opting out of this element of the trend. “As a dietician, I would never recommend not drinking water, especially on an airplane which is known to be an externally dehydrating environment,” says O’Brien, “You need water for your systems to work properly, including your brain if this is being done for mindfulness.”


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