Harnam doing Bound Lotus at the airport

Air travel is incredibly convenient, but also incredibly difficult. Stale air, crying children, and smelly airplane bathrooms come together to make sure you arrive tired and stressed. The tension continues to mount if you have a layover, knowing you have to endure airport noise and troubles before getting on yet another plane. For yogis, being cooped up in those tiny seats can be worrisome, as we think about our hips and hamstrings tightening up. Some yogis try to do seated stretches, and walk the aisles. Sat Nam Fest artist Harnam has been known to do Bound Lotus in his airplane seat, terminals and baggage claim! Others try to strike some poses in the airport, hoping to find an out-of-the-way place where they won’t stick out or get in anyone’s way. Spirit Voyage’s own Ramdesh Kaur is a fan of finding unused gates to practice wheel pose.  Fortunately the San Francisco airport (SFO) has come to the rescue. As of January 26, 2012 there is a yoga room available for travelers!

Located in the newly redesigned Terminal 2, the Yoga Room will be freely available to all ticketed passengers. Yoga mats will be available, though many yogis will likely be traveling with their own. A cell-phone free, shoe-free zone, the room is designed to encourage quiet and relaxation. Currently the room is decorated in a blue color, and by spring will have artificial rocks reminiscent of a Japanese garden. The lighting is low and warm, contrasting with the bright, cool nature of airport terminal lights. The airport director said that part of the San Francisco airport’s goal in redesigning the terminal and creating the yoga space was “to also make the entire experience [of travel] less stressful and more enjoyable.”

The San Francisco Airport Yoga Room is the first of its kind in America. There is also a room set aside in the International Terminal for meditation and quiet reflection. Yogis, what do you think? Would you spend some time in the Yoga Room on a layover in San Francisco? Should more airports add yoga or meditation spaces to their list of amenities?

Bringing a travel mat is convenient and more sanitary than using a shared mat!

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