Yoga at the Airport | Getting Your Downdog on Before Liftoff via The Washington Post
Everytime we go to the airport, we often find ourselves wishing to take out a yoga mat at the terminal and loosen up before tightening up in the air. Besides the fact that you are practicing in the middle of a terminal, it's way too noisy to find peace.
Luckily the San Francisco airport just announced that they have opened a "Yoga Room", a place to find peace in a chaotic setting. Check out what the Washington Post had to say below.
Last week the San Francisco International Airport announced the opening of its new "Yoga Room,” a peaceful space in which travelers can practice yoga, do breathing exercises or simply meditate. The room, represented in airport directional signage by a pictograph of a seated figure in the lotus position, is located past the security check-in, allowing folks to wind down from that often stressful experience before boarding their plane.
I called Baxter Bell, an M.D. and yoga teacher in Oakland, Calif., to ask about the potential health benefits yoga might provide an air traveler.
“I think it could be of some benefit,” Bell says. “The general tenor of travel these days is so stressful, it’s almost designed to get the blood pressure up and stimulate the fight-or-flight response. Stretching [as in doing yoga] can switch from the sympathetic, fight-or-flight nervous system to the parasympathetic, or rest and digest,” system. That could go a long way toward reducing stress.
Bell says he actually just flew into the San Francisco airport but was so eager to get to his nearby home that he didn’t check out the yoga room, which the airport press office says is the first of its kind in the nation. “I would be surprised if many people chose to pop in before going home,” he said. “But it’s a good antidote for the first part of a travel day, which is getting into the airport.” A yoga interlude in a designated room would also be useful “during a layover,” when it would be “such a great place to chill out.”
Chilling out is all well and good, but might there be any non-stress-related benefits to practicing yoga at the airport? Bell, who also writes a blog about yoga and healthy aging, supposes that doing some yoga might offer a bit of protection against deep vein thrombosis, the development of blood clots that sometimes occurs when people remain inactive during long flights by “getting the circulation going.” But he thinks walking up and down the aisle during the flight itself, or doing the seat-bound exercises some airlines recommend on seat cards, might be more beneficial in that regard.