Some travelers hang out at the airport bars before their flights, but I prefer to hang out in yoga rooms.
Airports have realised travellers who are less stressed are more likely to fly in the future. Yoga is also good for keeping the joints from getting too stiff on a flight, and getting the blood flowing (potentially even preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis).
Chicago Midway International is the most recent airport to open up a yoga room. On my most recent flight from Chicago I checked it out, and it’s pretty awesome.
The room is smaller than I expected – only room enough for 6 mats side by side – but it’s very well done. Next to the door is a bench and a large potted bamboo. On one wall is a large mirror, and on the wall opposite the door is a large TV that rotates through soothing images.
Under the TV is a basket of mats by Gaiam, along with sanitizing wipes. Near the mats is a cubby for shoes, hand sanitizer, and charging ports for your mobile device.
The room isn’t soundproof, but that’s OK. It was a nice, quiet oasis in an otherwise crazy place.
Located towards the entrance of Concourse C (which only has 3 gates), the Yoga Room is easy to get to once you get through security. Near the Yoga Room are restrooms where you can change your clothes if you need to look presentable once you arrive at your destination.
“People have choices today where they’re going to fly. They may choose an airport based on food offerings, they may choose an airport because of an amenity, like a yoga room,” said Rosemarie Andolino, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation, who got the idea for the yoga room after spotting one at San Francisco International Airport.
The yoga room at San Francisco is a 150-square-foot yoga studio, and when it opened, it was the first of its kind. Located in Terminal 2, the yoga room allows travelers a place where they can reflect, relax, and rejuvinate.
“When we began to remodel Terminal 2, one of our goals was not just to bring the glamour back to air travel, but to also make the entire experience less stressful and more enjoyable,” said San Francisco Airport Director John L. Martin. “With the opening of the Yoga Room, SFO has taken another giant leap forward in providing our travelers the opportunity and space to relax and decompress on their own terms.”
The two yoga rooms in Chicago airports cost about $75,000, and are part of a series of efforts to spruce up Midway and O’Hare International Airport, Andolino said. In the past two years, O’Hare has added a few spas and its own yoga room, which has proved popular, Andolino said. Another spa is being planned for Midway.
Also following in SFO’s footsteps, Burlington International Airport in Vermont opened up their yoga room in January 2013.