Airport Yoga Might Be the Ultimate Cure for Stressful Travel Days — Here's Where You Can Do It (Video)
Airports often leave us frazzled, running from one terminal to another to make our next flight — or regretting the decision to fly at all after a long and uncomfortable security line. So, if you have ever felt the need to do a little deep breathing or stretch into a lotus pose to calm any travel-related stress, we understand. So do airports, which are increasingly offering yoga rooms to flyers — safe spaces where they can stretch, meditate, and relax.
At least six U.S. airports now offer yoga rooms. (And international airports are tapping into the trend, too.) Lauren Biese, yoga teacher and founder of Good Karma Integrative Yoga, says it’s a smart addition to these airports. “Traveling for long hours at a time can not only be stressful, but sitting for extended periods of time can have negative short-term and long-term effects on the body,” she points out. “Having a safe space to unwind, meditate, and move your body could benefit any traveler, but especially those who travel long distances.”
As Biese mentions, taking time to stretch between legs of travel not only calms nerves but can also help fight flight-related health issues, such as rising cortisol levels, muscle cramps, and even blood clots. “When we sit for long periods of time, we tend to hunch our upper shoulders, collapse into our chest, and sink down into our lower lumbar spine,” says Biese. “Many yoga poses help to counter these structural patterns our bodies take on from hours of staying seated.” Plus, yogic breathing exercises and meditation can calm pre-flight nerves.
“For example, when the body is in a stressful situation, we can go into fight-or-flight mode,” she says. “We tend to restrict our breathing, and the mind can wander to the worst-case scenario when we see a flight delay. Yogic breathing exercises and meditation remind us to come back to the physical state of calmness and combat the negative effects of stress.”
If you’d like to practice yoga when you fly, Biese recommends packing a travel yoga mat, which is slim enough to fold into a carry-on. (And these non-slip yoga gloves and socks are another great option for travelers without space to spare.) But many airports with yoga rooms have complimentary yoga mats available — and lots of other cool perks, too, such as videos to guide you through flows and shower rooms, where you can cool off after a workout.
Here are six U.S. airports that offer yoga rooms, and what you can expect in each space.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
San Francisco International Airport has multiple yoga rooms — spaces that are “devoted to relaxation, self-reflection, and practicing yoga,” according to its website. All rooms are free to use, available 24 hours, and accessible only after passing through security, the site says.
Find it: Located in Terminal 1, near boarding area C; Terminal 2, near boarding area D; and Terminal 3, near boarding area E and gate 69.
Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
This airport boasts a 15-by-16-foot yoga room with bamboo wood flooring, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and exercise mats — plus, frosted glass windows keep your flows private from prying eyes. The room is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, according to the airport website.
Find it: Located on the mezzanine level of Terminal 3’s rotunda, near the Urban Garden.
Chicago Midway International Airport (CHI)
Like its sister yoga room in Chicago O’Hare International Airport, this yoga room provides exercise mats, and has “soft earth-tone wall colors [that] create a calming environment for both yoga practice and relaxation,” according to the website. It’s also open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Find it: Located in Concourse C, close to the mother’s room.
Dallas – Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
This airport’s two yoga rooms come with “complimentary practice mats, exercise balls, and stretch bands to use,” plus “20-minute-long instructional videos,” according to its website.
Find it: Located in Terminal B, near gate B1 and in Terminal E, near gate E31.
Burlington International Airport (BTV)
Evolution Physical Therapy + Yoga operates the yoga room in Burlington International Airport. It’s a “calm, quiet space,” with a shower available to use post-workout, according to the airport’s website.
Find it: Located on the airport’s second floor, outside of security leading to the gates.
Miami International Airport (MIA)
Open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Miami International Airport’s yoga room is a “tranquil space,” according to its website. However, the room doesn’t provide mats, so bring your own if you want to practice here!
Find it: Terminal H on the first floor, before security.