I have to admit the first thing on my mind when I arrived at Frankfurt airport last Thursday evening was a glass of dry white wine. It had been a whirlwind 36 hours – up at 4:30AM the day before to fly to Frankfurt, back to back meetings for two days with colleagues, work to deal with in London and then home again. On top of it all, I wasn’t feeling so great.
But something caught my eye as I made my way to the gate: a cartoon-like programme talking about YOGA at Frankfurt Airport. Really?…. I had read about it this before as a new trend at airports but I had never seen it myself. I’m used to prayer rooms, meditation rooms etc…(Geneva is really great) but never yoga rooms. Until NOW.
Geneva Airport Meditation Room
By this stage, my curiosity got the better of me and all the thoughts of taking the edge off with a glass of dry white were replaced with an urge to discover something I had never experienced before…to my excitement, only a few yards down the corridor, I saw a sign pointing to ‘Yoga’.
What came next can only be described as surreal. From being tired and looking for respite – to being transformed and energised, I could hardly believe my good fortune.
The Frankfurt Airport (Terminal 2) ‘Yoga Room’: one fully equipped mini studio with an amazing picture of a Buddha, a pleasant ambience of light which is arranged to be calming and ‘strengthening’ with warm colours on the wall, a mirror to help you with your alignment, and some atmospheric lounge style vibes to accompany your practice. I was almost in yogic heaven, and all to myself too.
I also liked that they provided disinfectant, which I think is a sign of a considerate yoga studio – I can’t always say the same about every studio I walk into. At this point, as if I didn’t know this already, I knew that yoga was really part of the mainstream collective consciousness.
An hour passed and I completed my usual improvised yoga practice. After a long day in the office and with a short flight back to London, it was the perfect antidote to a hectic 36 hours. I also had a little fun with my yogi selfie stick (aka the ‘iphone’).
The downside was that the shower facilities, which were across the hall from the yoga room, were not attended and in any case, were only available for 6 Euros (despite this being advertised as part of the ‘yoga at Frankfurt Airport experience ‘). I guess in hindsight, it’s a small charge to pay for the luxury of having a yoga ‘studio’ by the gate.
The next morning, I was ready and engaged again – if more busy globe-trotting executives could engage in an effortless yoga practice before flying, then the levels of performance in the work place could only increase – after all, a tired body means a tired mind.
Indeed, it is said that through yoga, we can reach the mind. An alert mind can only mean better productivity, combatting fatigue, brain fog and other debilitating symptoms that can come with work travel. For pre-flight, it may also calm any associated nerves for those who have a fear of flying.
Other airports to reportedly have a dedicated space for yoga include:
- San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
- Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
- Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport (CHI)
- Burlington Airport (BTV)
- London Gatwick Airport (LGW)
- London Heathrow (LHR)
- Hong Kong (HKG)
- Helsinki Airport (HEL);
- Jet Blue at JFK Airport (HEL); and
- Miami International Airport (MIA)
As yoga becomes increasingly popular, I expect that list to expand over time.
So there you have it. My first yoga practice at an airport. I am fortunate that I have a dedicated regular practice. For others who do not and find the thought of practising by themselves totally strange:
- my favourite online yoga programme, Yogaglo has an app as well as the UK’s leading online yoga programme, Movement for Modern Life; or
- if you search on You Tube, you can find a plethora of free yoga videos (with variable quality).
Frankfurt Airport proclaims that there are screens in the rooms with videos of different practices, but I must have missed them. I’m not surprised, this really should be an option for travellers to make yoga even more accessible.
As Frankfurt Airport says on their brochure:
“Use our yoga rooms to bring your body, mind and breath in harmony. We hope that the yoga will have a calming and harmonising effect and we also wish you a safe trip.”
For the yogis out there, what are you waiting for next time you travel? Just remember to bring your yoga gear, to avoid having to improvise with your swimming trunks. 😉