Downward Dog Before Flying High
Travelers don't equate the hustle and bustle of airports with yoga but now some airports are adding tranquil spaces where practitioners can stretch, meditate and get away from it all.
It's the latest effort to humanize and de-stress the unpleasantness of air travel: Yoga rooms at airports. Burlington, Vt., is the latest of a handful of airports to add the amenity.
"We find that traveling can be stressful so we try to take a little bit of that out," said Eugene Richards, interim director of the Burlington International Airport.
Travelers have found sanctuary in the small but light and airy space with its mossy green walls, bamboo floor, and yoga mats, while waiting for flights or when stranded.
One young family discovered the space after missing a flight to Japan due to bad weather.
"You saved the day for our 7-month old baby," they wrote in a log of visitors to the new room. Other visitors have relished in the quiet space, giving thanks in the journal.
"Wow, you made my day! No you made my month!" wrote a traveler who sometimes does yoga out in the open at airports, usually eliciting stares.
Airports in San Francisco and Dallas also have opened yoga rooms in the last year.
Aside from giving travelers a place to relax and stretch away from busy terminals and food courts, the amenity is aimed at giving the airport an edge with travelers so they'll come back.
The Burlington airport, for example, offers travelers free carts, free Wi-Fi, a yoga room, local food, and rocking chairs, said Richards.
"Burlington's a little different and this kind of goes along with that," Richards said of the new room.
And it gives a plug to the yoga business - Evolution Yoga in Burlington - sponsoring the room, which came together with donations from area businesses, and at no cost to the airport.
But some travelers were perplexed, even amused as they walked past the new space trailing their luggage behind.
"Yoga at the airport? I just thought it was odd," said Charlene Allis of Winooski, Vt., as she and her husband Bruce returned from Florida.
France Larouche, of Montreal, also found it weird at as she traveled from Burlington to Hollywood, Calif. with friends, and spotted the grand opening of the room, with local practitioners doing sun salutes in the second-floor airport hallway. But another woman said that it might be good for a friend who gets nervous while traveling.
"For people stressed like her, it's a good idea. I think it's a good idea," said Magalie St. Denis of Montreal.
Bob King of Seattle doesn't do yoga himself but agrees that the idea is a good one.
"I suppose anything to reduce a little stress while you're at the airport is a good idea," he said.