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O'Hare travelers with layovers can lie down, stretch

FitnessAlternative MedicineTransportation IndustryRosemarie S. AndolinoO'Hare International Airport

Air travelers may always have to manage long lines, layovers and the stress caused by a flight delay.

Those at Chicago O'Hare International Airport, however, now have a place to escape. A new yoga studio inside Terminal 3 offers a quiet space to meditate, stretch and take a deep breath.

"We've essentially created an urban oasis at the airport," said Rosemarie Andolino, commissioner of the Chicago Department of Aviation.

A mirror covers one side of the bamboo-floored room, while a tinted window on the opposite end creates privacy and lets in natural light. A television on the wall plays calming music to peaceful scenes. Outside, near a sign that invites passers by to "find your inner peace at our yoga room," a screen allows passengers to look up their flight information.

The room, open from 6 a.m to 10 p.m. daily, does not come with an instructor — just mats and disinfectant wipes. Travelers may use the space for free.

The small studio, located on the second level of the rotunda, is meant to serve the 67 million passengers who travel through the airport every year, half of whom never exit security, according to Andolino. Several airports have opened yoga studios in their terminals, the first being San Francisco early last year.

Andolino said no tax dollars were used for the project, which didn't cost much because the space was available. The rotunda at Terminal 3 has been underused since the Sept. 11 attacks, she said, when nonpassengers were no longer allowed to use the conference rooms.

The rotunda at Terminal 3 is now being redesigned around a theme of green and healthy. Next to the studio, an urban garden grows vegetables that are used in airport restaurants and sold at the airport's fresh market below.

"It's just another offering," Andolino said of the yoga studio.

At the opening ceremony for the studio Tuesday, five yoga instructors demonstrated positions before a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Peggy Moore, 63, owner and teacher at Eb & flow Yoga Studio in Wicker Park, expects that passengers will enjoy practicing in a beautiful, green environment. She, however, doesn't need a room. She rolls out her mat and does yoga whenever she can in airports, she said. Moore said that other passengers could do the same.

"Yoga is everywhere. It's not just in a yoga studio. It's not just in a special room," Moore said. "It's being at peace and letting my mind connect with my body."

mmrodriguez@tribune.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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