SFO unveils world's first (?) dedicated yoga room within an airport

Officials at San Francisco International Airport today unveiled what is said to be the first dedicated practice space for yoga in any airport, anywhere in the world. I'm not surprised to see it's in SFO's newly revamped Terminal 2, a swankily-designed space where Virgin America is based, and some really fantastic food vendors abound.

So much of the the blog/press coverage of today's SFO yoga room launch is cliché-ridden, scoffing at yoga as "woo woo" and so on. But I think it's a great, practical idea. I practice yoga, and when I'm waiting between long-haul flights in an airport, I'll often try and find a discreet, out-of-the-way spot to do a few poses before I'm crammed into my flying cattle pen. Gentle stretching and exercise before, after, or between plane flights makes good health sense.

I do hope this is the start of a trend at other airports around the world. One caveat: the idea of using their provided sticky-mats grosses me out. I'd definitely BYOM (bring your own mat).

More: SFist, MSNBC, SF Examiner, CBS.

(Photo: Shutterstock)


  1. I was wondering about that – just flew through SFO this weekend for the first time in years.  The new terminal is quite swank.
    It’s worth noting that the yoga room is right next to the TSA Grope Zone; perhaps there’s some sort of synergy they were hoping to exploit.

  2. I guess since I’m already barefooted…

    Now the tough choice- the bar or yoga, bar or yoga, bar or yoga?

  3. Yes! I’m glad someone is putting this idea into practice. I was just thinking about this when I took a 12 hour flight recently. It would have been nice to do some yoga in a studio immediately beforehand (rather than the stretching I managed to do at the gate before boarding).

  4. I like the stock image. That guy just used his laptop to order the deaths of 1000 third-world children, and now he’s meditating to consume their souls.

  5. and you’ll inevitably be stuck next to the guy in the photo, using his laptop and talking on his cell phone while doing yoga.

      1. I wasted five minutes trying to come up with a Sanskrit name for that asana, but failed.

    1. That’s why you’re better off flying through ATL or PHL and ponying up for a private room at MinuteSuites.  I’m not 100% sure, but I’ll bet there’s enough room to do yoga (or whatever else you want).

  6. SFO has long been a proponent of humanizing the Airport environment.  SFO also features a world class exhibition environment and is the only accredited museum in an airport.  SFO Museum features approximately twenty galleries throughout the Airport terminals displaying a rotating schedule of art, history, science, and cultural exhibitions.  Check it out.

      1. Schiphol also has a rather nice meditation room next to a bunch of comfy-looking chairs where you can take a nap. 

  7. As a means of preventing deep vein thrombosis and shaking out some travel stress, this makes great sense. Plus, it’s a great way to make sure your kids get a good run of activity in *before* the ride starts.

  8. I’ve been there!  Arrived SFO early for a flight home, so I took 10 min to stretch and breathe.  It’s a small room, but serenely lit.  I was quite grateful for a few minutes of peace during a travel day.  Also, I love the icon on overhead signs:  silhouette  of buddha meditating.  

    1. Hold on there. Isn’t Buddha a symbol of Buddhism, a religion? Now it’s being promoted in a public place? In San Francisco? I am shocked. I am outraged.

      1. Yeah, it’s not like there’s a 103 foot tall cross sitting on top of Mount Davidson or nuthin’.

      2. I know you’re snarking.. Just FYI though
        Some forms of Buddhism are only a philosophy on the way to live : no worshipping, no elaborate temples or believing anything based on “faith”, or picking overlords based on “reincarnation”. Just meditation and introspection. Temples are mostly for the monks to live and give talks, not as place to pass around the donation pouch to put in one more chandelier.

        Buddha was a guy. So it’s just a guy, the best guy there was at meditating. So it’s just like plastering the Air Jordan Jumpman at a basketball court :D 

        1. Okay, I’m busted. Of course I don’t give a crap about religious stuff in public places. Can’t understand why anyone does. Liquidation Sale sign and picture of Buddha meditating is all the same to me.

  9. Great, here in Addis Ababa we have instead 2 prayer rooms (one for each gender) … at least they have really free wifi, which was very unexpected (as the internet here is generally bad / expensive) 

  10. Hi Xeni,

    i have been practicing yoga before flights right at the gate for years… I almost always have the flight crew ask about the yoga once we are in the air… on time a pilot asked if i could demo a headstand at 40,000 feet, so he could take and iphone pix.  I know that i look forward to flight delays of 90 minutes to 1 hour so i can practice… flying after a full practice is the BEST.   BTW anyone know if they are charging for use of SFO yoga room or is it free?

    Xeni as you know i have been practicing yoga since the days at MouseJockey and am so happy that you are reporting on Yoga too… YEAH!in Gratitude and Namaste,Arthur Klein http://yoga.arthurklein.com

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