Wellness is one of the hottest global movements right now. Evening workouts have replaced after-work drinks and mindfulness is the new black. As it permeates every aspect of our lives in a bid to make us healthier and happier, it makes sense that we should embrace this lifestyle shift in the travel journey.
But while yoga and meditation might be great ways to pre-empt the stress and strains of long-haul travel, you’d get a few odd looks if you were to fold into a downward dog or emit a loud ‘om’ while waiting to board.
Fortunately, you won’t have to. Cathay Pacific has long been on a mission to help its customers travel well, and in January the latest manifestation of that quest arrived in the form of: a yoga and meditation studio in The Pier Business Class Lounge.
It’s the first of its kind at Hong Kong International Airport. ‘Designed in partnership with the Pure Group, The Sanctuary by Pure Yoga is the perfect place to stretch, relax and rejuvenate body and mind before our passengers fly,’ says Elaine Lee, Cathay Pacific Head of Customer Experience, Ground Product. ‘Channelling the global movement towards health and wellbeing, this new addition enhances the typical lounge offering. Where travellers are often found tapping away on laptops or propping up the bar, now they’ll also be encouraged to meditate and relax before they board.’
The 700-square-foot space has been curated by health and fitness experts from the Pure Group, which the airline launched a partnership with in January 2018. Five zones accommodate three forms of yoga and two types of meditation.
Beginners can start with the Gentle Yoga zone, taking a spot on one of the yoga mats provided and following the onscreen instructions from Pure Yoga teachers. All of the exercises are designed to improve circulation, enhance joint mobility and provide relaxation for a comfortable, restful journey. More advanced yogis can opt to move to the Private Yoga space and complete their own routines. Speciality chairs have also been provided in the Seated Stretching zone, with instruction boards to guide people in body stretches while sitting down – much of which can be easily replicated in the air.
In the Audio Meditation area, four cushioned pods are equipped with noise-cancelling headphones and iPads. Users can listen to guided meditation prepared by Pure Yoga’s experts to help soothe nerves, dissipate stress and get travellers in the right frame of mind for an enjoyable flight. Meanwhile, the Gazing Meditation zone – also known as Trataka yoga practice – helps to centre the mind and create a feeling of calmness while also improving focus, memory and visualisation skills. Comfortable cushions face a wall adorned with a series of graphics. Instruction boards teach visitors how to focus their gaze for an extended period of time until they enter a more peaceful mental state.
Pure Group’s Regional Marketing Director, Gary Wise, comments, ‘Yoga and meditation have amazing benefits that can help still the mind and refresh the body wherever you are. Our partnership with Cathay Pacific allows travellers to feel happier and healthier throughout their journeys.’
The Sanctuary by Pure Yoga is open to travellers who have access to The Pier Business Class Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport, including Silver, Gold and Diamond Marco Polo Club members. Business class and first class passengers of Cathay Pacific can also enjoy the new offering.
For those without lounge access, there are still plenty of ways to benefit from Cathay Pacific’s ongoing wellness initiatives and partnership with Pure. Onboard, passengers will find six videos on the inflight entertainment (IFE) system. Narrated by Pure instructors (in English, Cantonese, Mandarin or Japanese), the videos show how to perform a series of simple yoga poses and meditations.
Cathay Pacific Entertainment, Platforms and Connectivity Manager, Simon Cuthbert, says: ‘We all know that sitting still for a long period of time can be uncomfortable. The need to get up, move and get your blood pumping is important during a flight. Yoga is an innovative way to do this. There is a series of exercises that can easily be done from the aircraft seat, while other moves are suitable for after the flight in your hotel.’
The audio system also has content from Headspace, which guides passengers through a series of meditations, a spoken word programme This is the Captain Speaking by pilot and psychologist Miki Katz targeting those with a fear of flying, and Chinese-language mindfulness exercises by Hong Kong’s New Life 360.
Back on the ground, the partnership with Pure continues. Marco Polo Club members can take advantage of a range of exclusive benefits, including complimentary access to Pure Fitness centres, discounts on joining fees and automatic upgrades.