I didn’t notice the sign until the second-to-last day of 2013. I was waiting to board a flight from San Francisco to New York, and throughout the fall months I had read countless articles on how the city of my birth had changed, due to rent wars, tech takeovers, and an influx of twenty-first century pioneers in North Face fleece and sandals. I was under the impression—confirmed just that week by the sight of the newly arrived and quite conspicuous wealth in the city’s formerly down at heels downtown—that Northern California was a center of industry. That this had also been the case when I was growing up was beside the point; something about this bubble was different, worth paying attention to, and I was prepared to notice every slight difference in narcissism between the city I was from and the one I had moved to. It was in this state of mind, as if on cue, that the sign in SFO’s Terminal 2 revealed itself to me, plainly announcing that there was a room, over there, specifically for doing yoga in the airport.
There it was: San Francisco, as presumptuous, health-conscious, and at my service as ever. Later I learned that, while it was the first to open a yoga room, SFO was not the only airport with this amenity. Dallas-Fort Worth, O’Hare, and Burlington International all had yoga rooms; San Diego had commissioned a mediation space designed by a Seattle-based artist; and Helsinki and Dubai had Zen gardens, all for the purpose of bringing some relaxation to the harried, traveling masses. Yoga and meditation, taken out of the context of the home or a private studio, were now starting to be like Wi-Fi and electrical outlets: a given. These are rights, not privileges.
I’m not the kind of person who would get excited about this. I am the kind of person who would mock those rooms and the people using them, and who would later worry while airborne about the effect sitting in a tight space for so many hours will have on her spine, which she was once told was abnormally curved by a doctor who accepted a Groupon. Continue reading >>