I love saunas. I love them so much that in 2010 I made up my own Sauna Yoga Program, so I could spend hours in the hot rooms and cold plunge pools.
Surprisingly the program went really well for another two years but then my desire to travel sneaked in, so I “surrendered” the program to the wonderful staff there at the wellness centre.
“Wait a minute, yoga in a sauna? What are you doing in there? Does anyone faints? Are you actually naked in there and stretching? Are you crazy?”
I got so many hilarious questions when I started the program, always trying to prove to people how nice it is to meditate in a warm place. But since we live in a free country, here is my reply (wrapped up into the words of Mark Manson:
“You don’t have to prove anything to anybody, including yourself. “
I’ll let you know when I’ll switch the airplane seats with sauna benches again, so you can join me at the program and test it by yourself. Let the official sauna yoga routine stays a secret and for today let me share with you 3 things I do in public saunas and nobody knows I’m doing them:
1. TURN YOUR SWEATING INTO A MEDITATION
I cannot think of a place that naturally “forces” you to relax and at the same time makes you stay fully aware better then the sauna does. I usually sit crosslegged (any sitting position is good), keep a towel over my thighs, place my hands on the belly below the belly button, close my eyes, put the tip of the tongue on the roof of my mouth (taoists say this is great to produce saliva, which is a natural “youthfulness booster”). I gently inhale (count till 4) and gently exhale (count till 6) – simple breath focused meditation. After 21 repetitions the sweat is pouring down and I feel like a Zen Queen.
2. TURN YOUR SWEATING INTO A BLESSING
Instead of checking that sandy clock on the wall every five seconds, why don’t you close your eyes and do this instead: sit comfortably, place your hands on your knees (palms facing down), lengthen your spine, close your eyes. You’ve got ten fingers (hopefully) so while pressing one by one down, think of 10 things you are (profoundly) grateful for. People will wonder while you smile, but nobody can enter into your head so keep on counting and smiling.
3. TURN YOUR SWEATING INTO A SPA
This ritual needs a bit of (home) preparation. Before entering a sauna, apply your favourite hair mask on the hair then wrap your hair into a towel (I usually make this towel slightly (coldly) wet). It feels amazing having your head cooled down while body is heated. I usually make my own hair mask at home before deciding to visit a spa centre. (1 table spoon of organic coconut oil + 1 table spoon of raw honey – mix it into a tiny glass jar). I try to find a sauna that is not so busy, so I can lie down. I really hate if the hair mask starts dripping into my eyes, so wrapping the head with a towel and lying down turned out to be the best solution for me.
Hope you received some new ideas for your next spa day.
How do you spend your time in a sauna? Just sitting/lying down or do you also have some crazy secret rituals like I do? Let me know in the comments!