New York Times writer Martha C. White writes about the peaceful surroundings a yoga room can provide to stressed out travelers….
Sallie Jo Cunningham wasn’t expecting a good night’s sleep. Waiting for her 12:30 a.m. flight out of San Francisco International Airport to depart, Ms. Cunningham, a business development professional, had resigned herself to a groggy trip back home.
Then she visited the airport’s yoga room, a dimly lit, hardwood-floored oasis of calm.
“I thought it would be a good idea to stop in the yoga room and see what they offered,” she said. The mats, blocks and bolsters were useful, but not so much as just having a quiet place to stretch, practice her flow and unwind.
“I can tell you that I actually did feel quite a bit more relaxed for that flight,” Ms. Cunningham said. “I was glad I had the opportunity to do yoga.”
San Francisco is one of a growing number of airports that are creating rooms for yoga and meditation. Airports including O’Hare in Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth and Burlngton, Vermont all have set aside space for yoga.
Even people in the business of relaxation, it appears, are not immune to flight-related anxiety.
“I definitely have found myself going to the bar and having a glass of wine,” said Ritu Riyat, a yoga instructor and life coach who has used airport yoga rooms. “With yoga, I don’t need to have that glass of wine.”
Burlington added a room for yoga after officials saw passengers flow through sequences right in the terminal. A local studio, Evolution Physical Therapy and Yoga, helped design and stock the place.
“What it comes down to is customer satisfaction,” said Gene Richards, director of aviation at Burlington International Airport.
Most airports, though, are not so accommodating. Dedicated yogis say they often end up practicing out in the open in the terminal.
“It definitely elicits lots of curious looks,” said Jessica Thompson, who co-founded and runs YOGO, a company that makes foldable yoga mats for traveling.
Having a room solves that problem.
“It allows you to do a full flow or deeper stretching without the feeling like everybody is staring at you,” she said, “because they do.”