If you’re planning to travel this holiday season, there’s a way to put that layover time to good use: a private yoga session.
Airports have vastly improved wellness offerings for travelers, including spa services, massages and healthier food options. Showers and gyms have come to some of the privileged private lounges. So now, instead of killing time during a layover by reading a magazine, watching YouTube videos or eating whatever catches your jet-lagged eyes, you can use that time for some personal, private mental and physical restoration to unwind and de-stress.
While yoga in an airport is not new, one airport in particular is upping its game, offering bookable private yoga instruction to flyers, through a new program called Yoga on the Fly. Denver International Airport (a hub for many layovers and connections) is home to a private yoga studio, the first of its kind, located in Terminal A. The official opening of the studio was November 6, launching in time for Thanksgiving and the winter holidays, to help combat some of the stresses that go hand in hand with air travel. It is expected to run for 90 days and will be open Sunday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Avery Westlund and Elizabeth Feinstone, both frequent flyers and yoga instructors, came up with the idea for Yoga on the Fly as a remedy for the toll that travel takes on both the body and mind.
“A lot of people struggle with the chaos, scheduling challenges, missed connections and lack of control during travel, which often results in frustration, anxiety and exhaustion,” said Westlund, on Yoga on the Fly’s mission and the intentions behind the program’s development. “Further, carrying around heavy bags and sitting for long periods of time, not to mention flying itself, can lead to stiffness, poor circulation and general discomfort. Yoga is well-equipped to alleviate much of this mental and physical tension, and our studios and classes provide that respite.”
These two wellness pundits have over a collective decade of teaching experience and are RYT 500 certified (a graduate degree in the yoga world). Westlund has a master’s degree in forensic psychology and Feinstone has one in public health as well as a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, “a critical combination to the design of the program,” Westlund said.
In the case of travel and well-being, a little can go a long way. Westlund explained: “A bit of privacy, guided movement and deep breathing can work wonders in a short amount of time. When you create space for people to invest in their own wellness during travel, they not only feel better themselves, they’re also more likely to be kind to those with whom they interact, which is beneficial for everyone.”
Once you arrive, you’ll be greeted by an on-site wellness advisor, who will personally help you select the best combination of classes to suit your physical and travel needs. Advisors will track your flight information so you can rest and relax without feeling stressed about time, flight changes or urgent needs during your session.
Denver is known as one of the most health-conscious areas in the U.S. Its airport is the sixth busiest in the country and the first to offer this private yoga experience. There are plans for expansion by Yoga on the Fly, with additional airport locations, teachers, languages, formats and fresh content in the works for 2018. Westlund said, “The airport is home to over 30,000 air travel employees, all of whom we hope can find a bit of an escape with our studios,” giving your flight attendant a chance to be restored as well.
“Yoga on the Fly offers a serene sanctuary travelers can escape to prior to takeoff—whether that’s a quick session preflight or a much-needed reset during long layovers or delays–to mitigate muscle aches, anxiety and more,” Westlund said. “Our goal with Yoga on the Fly is to help you arrive at your destination feeling your best self.”
This holiday season, that child’s pose might be the best addition to your carry-on. Namaste, travelers!
As a 13-year cancer survivor, Sara Quiriconi fell in love with yoga for its self-healing properties and has been practicing yoga since 2008. Graduating with honors and a BFA in Boston and succeeding as an Art Director and design professional, she left the corporate world in 2013 to commit to educating others about the benefits of wellness and traveling.