I am never a fan of long-haul travels particularly because it leaves my body aching and my hair in a mess. After years of flying, I’ve come to discover that a short yoga stretch just before takeoff is what I need to counter the effects of being stuck the seat on the plane for hours on end.
For many years now, it has become second nature to me to find a somewhat quiet spot at the airport, roll out my mat and begin practice (in comfortable clothing of course). This has gotten me countless stares, a couple of questions enquiring if I teach yoga and enough awkward glances to last me a lifetime. Needless to say, the airport doesn’t come up on my list of favorite outdoor locations to practice yoga. So to find out that some airports around the world have dedicated yoga rooms had me as excited as a child in a candy store.
Here, I’m sharing with you some airports that have jumped on the yoga bandwagon and made it more accessible to practice!
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
The San Francisco airport is considered the first to open its doors to yoga with a dedicated yoga space opened in 2012. This space, accessible for free by ticketed passengers features a no shoes, no noise and no mobile phones policy in the space. The yoga room is lit with dim lights and painted in a soothing blue hue meant to help travelers relax and find calm. The yoga room is located at terminals 2 and 3 and is open 24 hours.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport (CHI)
Following San Francisco’s move, Chicago O’Hare International Airport also made yoga practice easier at the airport with its yoga room in terminal 3. The move came after a study found that 75% of frequent fliers participate in some form of workout regimen.
O’Hare’s yoga room mimics that of a yoga studio, where it uses sustainable bamboo wood floor and includes a floor-to-ceiling mirror. It also has a dedicated area to store personal belongings. The yoga room is open from 6 am to 10 pm daily.
London Heathrow (LHR)
The idea of yoga at the airport started with a pop-up studio back in 2014 that was so wildly popular, it became permanent. Unfortunately, access to this yoga space is not free for all travelers. To access the yoga room, you will need to book into the Sky Team Lounge at terminal 4, where you will also gain access to an oxygen bar, a wine bar, a wellness center and complementary food and drink.
Hong Kong International Airport (HKG)
Hong Kong International Airport’s yoga room is also part of its Sky Team Lounge, which means that access to it will require travelers to pay a certain sum of money. But just like Heathrow, access to the Sky Team Lounge also allows travelers to enjoy other amenities within the area. The lounge is open from 5.30am to 1am and is located at Terminal 1.
Helsinki Airport (HEL)
Jumping on the yoga bandwagon, Helsinki Airport is also experimenting with providing a yoga room for travelers. Its 24-hour Kainuu lounge is a calm space equipped with mossy green carpet and wooden plank floors that induces relaxation in travelers utilizing it. When first introduced, the airport also organized yoga classes led by experienced yoga instructors specially designed to combat jetlag and exhaustion. While the space is not specially designed just for yoga, it is still a great space to roll out your mat and get into downward dog!
Elaine is a Contributing Writer for BookYogaTeacherTraining.com. She is a rookie yoga teacher whose favorite pose is the Adho Mukha Svanasana as it has helped relieve fatigue in her day to day life.