This week I traveled to the University of Texas at Dallas for their annual conference on Values in Medicine, Science and Technology. Thanks, Matt and Magda, for continuing to host such a great event!
Since I live in Boston, attending the conference requires air travel.
Sometimes planes are not so appalling uncomfortable, but mostly they are. They are stuffed to the ceiling with people and baggage, with ergonomically disastrous seating for (almost) everyone. I wrote about it awhile back– Fat Flying: the Holiday Air Edition
Then there are the inevitable flight delays. According to some information I found online (what I got without clicking on a site, just asking “how many planes are delayed”), 11.74% of flights were delayed in November of last year. My 8:50pm flight to Boston was delayed about an hour (the departure time kept changing, which did not inspire confidence about ever leaving the airport).
Given that I had a lot of time at the airport, facing 4 hours of sitting on the plane and having sat at the conference that day, I decided to keep exploring (or at least cruising around) the airport. I made it to the end of terminal D, and spied this intriguing sign:
So left I went. The area was not your usual terminal scene, with shops and gates and people milling around. There wasn’t anything– just several people-moving motorized carts parked and waiting quietly along the wall. One was still on duty.
I kept going, and soon spied this sign:
Oh boy! Could this actually be a place to do yoga? Turns out it is!
This was perfect– it was set up in a practical and relatively low-cost way, while at the same time perfectly well-equipped for people who want to stretch or move a bit. Here’s what it looks like from the inside:
A woman was there when I arrived. I set up my mat and got on my hands and knees for some cat and cow stretching, then on to other gentle movement. They have wet wipes there for cleaning the mats before and after, and also a guest book to keep track of visitors and solicit feedback.
The other woman left after a few minutes. We spoke briefly– her flight had been canceled and she was stuck at the airport for 5 hours. Ugh. She was thrilled to find this place. So was I. Before I left, another woman showed up and started moving into warrior poses. I smiled to her, and she said don’t forget to sign the guest book. So I did, praising the place lavishly.
WHY DOESN’T EVERY AIRPORT HAVE A SPACE LIKE THIS?
I found an article about 5 airports that have yoga rooms. There’s one, for instance, in San Francisco, that I visited once.
A friend told me about a lovely yoga room at Chicago’s Midway airport that she visited. However, the sweet little Dallas yoga alcove, in a quiet hallway near the cart parking, shows that authorities can make a little effort and create quiet and happy spaces for people to move, to stretch, to rest and relax and endure the difficulties of modern travel.
I’m going to write/contact the folks at my local airport (Logan in Boston) to ask them to get moving on this. I encourage all of you to do the same.
Have any of you encountered yoga or movement spaces in airports? I bet there are more than 5 of these places around. Any outside the US? What about Canadian airports? Let us know, and I’ll compile a list and post it.