British Columbia

Vancouver airport introduces free yoga Fridays

YVR introduces pilot project that offers free yoga before passengers take flight

Passengers offered free chair and child poses before taking flight

Starting Friday, domestic passengers can breathe through terminal tree poses before taking flight, with a new pilot program offered by YVR (Vancouver Airport Authority)

Before taking a seat on your next flight, how about a chair pose in the airport terminal?

Starting Friday, Vancouver International Airport is offering a space for passengers to practice self-guided yoga before boarding.

The pilot project, which is part of the airport's existing Take-Off Fridays programming, will run once a week throughout the summer.

Passengers are looking for a variety of wellness options while they travel, said Kim Halowski, a manager with the Vancouver Airport Authority.

"We've got a yoga floor, the wooden floor you find in traditional yoga studios, with mats and then there are partitions around it to create a bit of privacy."

The program is being implemented by Vancouver-based company YYoga.

"Yoga can offer tremendous benefits to travellers," said Berk Kansu in a news release, the marketing manager for YYoga.

"It can help passengers feel relaxed and centred and help them move to their next destination in a refreshed, calm way."

First in Canada

The concept of yoga at the Vancouver airport was first brought to YVR by Carleigh Oude-Reimerink, who researched the idea as part of her Master's degree in Planning at UBC.

"It's something I am deeply passionate about," Oude-Reimerink said. "I'm really excited to see it come to life."

The idea came from her own personal experience of travelling and feeling stressed, she said.

She surveyed YVR passengers directly, as well as searched online for other passenger experiences from across the world.

"A significant number of people have a fear of flying and that gets heightened around security checkpoints."

She said yoga helps put those fears at ease. In addition, it physically relaxes people before they sit still for a five or six-hour flight.

From her research, Oude-Reimerink discovered approximately a dozen airports that have space dedicated to yoga for passengers, but Vancouver airport is now the first in Canada.

Program extension

If there's a lot of interest from passengers wanting to extend their limbs, then the airport may extend the program to accommodate them.

Halowski said YVR might consider offering it in other parts of the terminal as well.

The yoga will be self-guided, but there will be a YYoga instructor on-hand, who can instruct passengers on different poses and stretches that are specifically beneficial before flying.

The opportunity for pre-boarding lotus's and warriors will be offered every Friday between July 15 and August 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for domestic flight passengers.

Yogis and yoga newbies can find the space across from Gate 46 in Terminal C-Pier.

Domestic passengers can engage in pre-boarding downward-facing-dog near Gate 46, shown here. (YVR.ca)

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