- By Camille Hoheb TravelPulse
Delayed flights and long layovers can lead to frustration over wasted hours sitting and waiting. Flying can also pose a health challenge.
That’s where yoga comes in, helping to relieve mental and physical stress. Stress reduction is the top reason for taking a vacation, so flying should be as easy and pleasant as possible.
Along with healthier eating options, spas and private napping quarters, yoga rooms offer travelers another healthy amenity at the airport. According to The American Osteopathic Association, there are many physical benefits of yoga including enhanced flexibility, muscle strength, improved respiration and circulatory health as well as improved energy and vitality.
Yoga is the rise with 36.7 million practitioners in the United States. Students spend $16 billion annually on classes, gear and equipment according to the 2016 Yoga In America Study. What’s especially interesting is that those who practice yoga are also involved in other forms of fitness such as running, cycling and weightlifting.
There’s a young, new generation of yoginis on the rise: 37 percent of yoga practitioners have children under 18 years old who also practice.
While flying has become more affordable and accessible, heightened security, crowding, delays and the feeling of a lack of control over your own schedule and personal space all contribute to feeling anxious.
Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that includes meditation, breath control and body postures that stretches and strengthens muscles. Prolonged sitting, especially in tight airplane seats and seating areas decrease circulation and tightens leg, hip and back muscles.
Knowing there is a designated place to stretch, move, meditate or be silent can help passengers be more comfortable and help them feel better while waiting for a flight. Travelers can proactively make their airport experience better by mitigating these accumulated stressors.
With yoga thriving, it’s refreshing to see that airports are addressing passenger’s emotional and physical needs. Now found in regional and international airports worldwide, you can meditate, down dog or just find a quiet place to clear your head in the dedicated yoga spaces before you fly.
10 Airport Locations for Yoga
Eight out of the 10 airport yoga locations list below are free, making this amenity affordable and attractive to travelers who want to fly and feel well.
—Burlington Airport (BTV)
Located on the second floor across from the observation tower
Free studio offers yoga mats, blocks and cushions.
—Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
Terminal 3 Mezzanine Level
Free studio offers yoga mats and a TV monitor showing nature imagery and yoga practices. A flight monitor in-studio provides departure/arrival information.
—Chicago Midway Airport (MDW)
Free and similar to O’Hare, the room offers full-length mirrors, mats, display of yoga postures and images of nature set to a calming soundtrack.
—Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
D40 located between terminals B and D airside
Free and open 24 hours. This fully outfitted yoga studio also connects to the airport walking path and features large panel windows with a birds-eye view of the runway.
—Denver International Airport (DEN)
Concourse A, located near Duty-Free
Paid access: Yoga on the Fly is a private airport yoga studio offering movement, meditation and breathing classes that are 8 to 20 minutes long.
—Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
Terminal 1, near C14 as well as Terminal 2 near D1
Free and open 24 hours. Mats, blocks, cushions, pads and floor-to-ceiling mirrors with TV instruction and fliers to guide travelers through yoga practices. Music and a giant Buddha image offer a soothing atmosphere.
—Helsinki Airport (HEL)
Free and open 24 hours. There are also ergonomic chairs, a book swap, extra soft carpet and free Wi-Fi.
—London Heathrow (LHR)
SkyTeam Lounge in Terminal 4, opposite Gate 10
Paid Access. A day pass through the SkyTeam lounge is required. Yoga mat, video exercises, food and drinks included.
—San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
Between terminals 1 and 2, and also in Terminal 3
Free, open 24 hours. In 2012, SFO became the first airport to offer yoga rooms. Both rooms are located in the domestic departures area.
—Sioux Falls Airport (FSD)
Near the business center
Free. Sioux Falls Regional Airport joins its international counterparts with a small yoga and meditation area where travelers can find a little peace and relax before.
Other airports are experimenting with temporary yoga space and teacher-led classes. For example, JetBlue at JFK launched free yoga for a week in 2016.
If you are interested in making your next trip to the airport less stressful and more comfortable, it’s worth reviewing the airport website for available yoga rooms or other wellness-related amenities such as prayer and meditation rooms, healthy food options, spas, walking paths and gardens.
(TravelPulse is a leading travel authority on the Web, providing consumer travel news and insider tips and advice for an ever-changing travel world. Read more stories at travelpulse.com)