AIR TRAVELERS CONNECTING through SFO now have a place to recharge their bodies. No, not a new Starbucks. In the departures area of San Francisco’s international airport, an old storage area has been turned into a yoga space for travelers.
The room was designed in the newly remodeled Terminal 2 after a passenger suggested a yoga space to the airport director. Measuring 150 square feet, the mirrored room has mats and chairs for travelers to use at their leisure. Shoes, food, and cellphones are not allowed, and silence is encouraged.
Best of all, the yoga room is free to use. For travelers on long layovers, the space is a great spot to kill some time and wake up the body. Even non-yogis can use the space for stretching tight muscles after hours of sitting on a plane.
It bears pointing out that the airport shower facilities, which some yogis may need post-practice, still cost. Don’t go too hard in there.
Being the first airport yoga space of its kind, there was no standard yoga icon to put on signs in the terminal. San Francisco Airport had to design its own yoga pictograph of a human figure in a mediative pose.
Terminal yoga is not an uncommon sight in North American airports. Personally, I dig seeing confident folks downward-dogging in a public space. But while my body loves a postflight stretch, I’m far too shy to do a sun salutation in front of my co-passengers. I’ve never had the balls to do anything but a hurried pigeon pose in the handicapped stall. Surely, my fellow timid yogis will appreciate a designated space to stretch.
Still, I can foresee some problems occurring.
The space is only big enough for a handful of travelers to practice comfortably. Matador editor Eileen Smith shared with me her first foray into the SFO yoga room. Only one other traveler was there at the time, but the close quarters made it tough for two strangers to practice privately. “I had wanted to do some yoga, but felt I would be disturbing her by working at a different pace.”
Also, with no TVs in the room, exercising travelers can’t follow changes to their flight schedules. The combination of dim lighting, quiet, and jetlag may have some participants dozing off in their corpse pose and losing track of time.
At least they’ll have stretched enough to sprint to the gate.