Flying these days is a stressful activity but now Canada’s Vancouver airport has joined a growing roster of international airports offering a facility to counter that turbulence – a space for yoga.
Vancouver International Airport is rolling out the yoga mats on July 15 for a pilot programme on offer till August 26, available for four hours on Friday afternoons to passengers using the domestic departures terminal. The programme has been launched in partnership with YYoga, which runs more than a dozen yoga centres across Canada.
Kim Halowski, manager of sales and services, Vancouver Airport Authority, said: “This offers departing passengers a tranquil space where they can engage in a self-guided practice. Passengers can use the space to practice their own yoga flow, meditation or simple stretching.”
Though this is the first such yoga facility at a Canadian airport, it is part of a trend that encompasses many Western airports. While the airport in San Francisco lays claim to pioneering the concept in 2012, many others in the US have adopted it, including large airports in Chicago and Dallas, as well as smaller ones in Burlington, Vermont and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
European airports too are on the bandwagon: Frankfurt opened yoga rooms earlier this year, while travellers can also find them in London and even Helsinki.
While this is a pilot programme that runs through the summer, passenger reaction will influence what the Vancouver airport authorities decide for the future. “Once the pilot programme is complete at the end of August, we’ll evaluate the response and take a look at whether there is an opportunity to offer it on a more regular basis at (the airport),” Halowski said.
Unlike having to buy extra leg space, this facility will be gratis, as Halowski said, “A YYoga instructor will be on hand to welcome passengers, answer questions, and suggest poses and stretches that are particularly beneficial during travel. Pre-registration is not required and there is no fee to use the space and yoga mats will be provided by YYoga.”
In a statement to mark the launch of the programme, Berk Kansu of YYoga said, “Yoga can offer tremendous benefits to travellers. It can help passengers feel relaxed and centred and help them move to their next destination in a refreshed, calm way.”
The trend of yoga spaces available at several airports globally didn’t escape the attention of those in Vancouver, as Halowski said, “We have heard about other airports offering yoga programmes worldwide. We felt this was a great fit for us with YYoga as they are also a well-known Vancouver brand – and Vancouverites definitely love their yoga!”