airport travel yoga

Finding OM Away From Home

Published on May 3, 2013

Have you ever traipsed around an airport terminal in search of a discreet corner for Sun Salutations between flights? Do you shudder at the thought of coming face-to-face with hotel carpeting during Down Dog? Then take heart, because it’s easier than ever to plan a summer getaway without getting too far away from your daily practice. Hotels and airports, recognizing that what’s good for you is also good for business, are rolling out the yoga mat to welcome enlightened travelers.

Last year San Francisco International Airport debuted its Yoga Room in Terminal 2, garnering plenty of positive PR in the process. Two more airports followed SFO’s lead: At Dallas-Forth Worth International, you’ll find a brightly lit, screened space near Terminal D with mats and a continuously playing yoga video. The yoga room at Burlington International Airport has a bamboo floor, mats, and classes led by a local studio, Evolution Yoga. Expect more airports to catch on to what yogis have long known—stretching and de-stressing are the perfect antidote to air travel. (Besides, we’ve already taken off our shoes to get through security, right?)

EVEN Hotels, a new branding effort by the hospitality industry giant InterContinental, is using social media feedback to create wellness hotels featuring Zen design style, healthful food options, and in-room workout spaces. (The first is slated to open in NYC in 2013.) Several other chains, including Westin, IHG, and Hilton, already have locations with in-room yoga videos and mats on their list of amenities. But the Kimpton boutique hotels are counting on Mat, a cute (and maybe a little creepy?) yoga buddy, to know what yoginis really need.

Hipster hostels, like Berlin’s Plus Hostel, are also getting into the yoga groove with free classes for guests. Of course, whether your lodging choice is luxury or low-rent, as long as it offers Wi-Fi, you can access yoga videos on your iPad or phone. And if hanging around a hotel room isn’t your idea of mindful travel, look into a class-finding app like Yoga Local (for NYC and other major U.S. cities) or Mindbody Yoga, which helps you reserve a class spot from your phone so you can mingle with the OM-town crowd.

Though many find it difficult to maintain their yoga and meditation routines while away from home, the travel industry seems to be listening to the needs of weary traveling yogis. So who knows where all this enlightenment might lead? It may be a while before we see airplane seats replaced with meditation cushions, but yoga-on-the-go is finally more accessible than ever.

What’s your favorite way to keep up your yoga lifestyle when you’re traveling?

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Kathleen Bryant Avatar
About the author
A former teacher and forever student, Kathleen Bryant swapped her running shoes for a yoga blanket in 1992, when she joined her first Hatha Yoga class in the back room of a local crystal shop. After earning a 500-hour teaching certificate from the International Yoga College, she taught anatomy, asana, and other subjects at 7 Centers School of Yoga Arts in Sedona, AZ. Kathleen is especially interested in the therapeutic aspects of yoga and continues to learn from Rama Jyoti Vernon, an amazing yogini who inspires her students to integrate yoga philosophy and mythology with contemporary life. An award-winning author, she has also published a children’s story, a cookbook, and books that focus on Southwest culture, travel, and natural history.
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