As a relatively recent occurrence, Sauna Yoga is becoming increasingly popular. Even though it may sound almost crazy to do anything in the sauna besides sitting and trying to handle the heat, fans of yoga and sauna have decided to combine these two. The results of this unusual combination were astonishing; the health benefits are numerous as the whole body and metabolism activate and improve their performance. So, in case you were wondering how people actually do yoga in the sauna, then let us help you. In the following paragraph, we will try to explain what Sauna Yoga is and how you can practice it safely.
What Is Sauna Yoga?
Sauna Yoga, as a term and practice has been invented by Tiina Vainio in 2010. The meaning behind Sauna Yoga is based on yoga and mindfulness, as well as Tiina’s personal experience with stress. Therefore, the concept of Sauna Yoga is based on having a quiet space, free from external stimuli and stress-triggering factors, where a person can relax. It is important to mention that Sauna Yoga is actually a modified version of the regular yoga practice. It had to be changed into some lighter moves and yoga practices due to the heat and humidity in the sauna. To avoid any harmful and adverse effects, Sauna Yoga is usually based on exercises that are suitable for the sauna environment. There are classes of Sauna Yoga that are based on regular yoga practices, but those are usually for those who have advanced in this concept.
How to Do Sauna Yoga?
A session of Sauna Yoga should last between 30 to 60 minutes. It is based on the idea of excessive and vigorous sweating by doing multiple poses. The poses of Sauna Yoga are basically the same as in the regular yoga: many even claim that it is much easier to do yoga in the sauna than it is to do regular, unheated yoga. It is much easier to stretch muscles in the sauna, so Sauna Yoga is easier, more effective and can be done by anyone, of any age. However, Sauna Yoga has several rules and principles on how to do it, so let’s look at some of the most important;
Setting the temperature
When it comes to Sauna Yoga, it is important to emphasize that the temperature is usually lower than in the regular sauna session. Therefore, it is extremely important to set the right temperature, which would usually be 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity. This way, the yoga session in the sauna will still be effective, but will also help avoid any adverse health effects, like lightheadedness, nausea, and headaches.
Wearing the right clothes
Because you’re going to sweat a lot in the sauna during the yoga session, it is important to wear the right clothes. When we say ‘the right clothes’, we don’t necessarily mean the expensive sports and yoga gear. What we mean is actually the clothes you feel comfortable in, and clothes which will allow you to sweat a lot. The right clothes should be made out of cotton or similar materials that won’t become heavy and baggy once they get wet. You can also choose to wear little clothing, but if that makes you uncomfortable, make sure to find the right , natural-material made clothes.
Bringing the right gear
When it comes to Sauna Yoga it is important, and always recommended, to bring the right gear, which includes a mat and two towels. Because you’ll be sweating a lot, make sure to bring your own mat instead of renting one at the gym. You should also bring your own two towels. One towel will be useful to soak up the sweat from the mat, and the other one you would use to keep the sweat off your face and eyes. You should not, however, wipe the sweat off of your body, as you might end up producing even more sweat.
Learning to breathe properly
For Sauna Yoga, proper breathing is the key to surviving the heat, humidity and excessive sweating. It is really easy to let the heat in the sauna overwhelm you, and you can actually forget to breathe normally. So, it is important to stay focused on breathing; it is recommended to breathe through the nose, in and out, and avoid breathing through the mouth. By breathing through the mouth, you might increase the adrenaline, which will, in turn, increase your heart rate, causing stress and anxiety. The breathing should be comfortable, relaxing, easy, and completely effortless. If it’s difficult to breathe properly in the sauna, you can try the 80/20 breathing; this means that you release 20 percent of the air through the nose, and then use the rest 80 percent of air intermittently throughout the duration of a pose.
Staying hydrated and nourished
As mentioned above, Sauna Yoga is going to make you sweat excessively, which means you’re going to have to drink plenty of fluids and nourish your body. This does not apply only to the period before the session; you must stay hydrated and nourished throughout the whole day, before the session, as well as after the session. However, make sure not to drink or eat anything at least 15 minutes before the session starts, as full stomach might restrict you during the exercises. A water bottle, however, should always be handy in the sauna. Also, you can’t really eat junk food or food that doesn’t provide proteins, healthy fat, and vitamins. Make sure to eat healthy meals, and avoid filler food, like snacks and fast food.
Sauna Yoga can be a rather challenging experience for those who are just starting out. However, after a while you will start seeing all of the benefits Sauna Yoga has to offer; from detoxification, weight loss, better flexibility to pain relief, you will start feeling like a new person. However, before trying out Sauna Yoga, make sure to consult a medical professional and ask for advice on whether you should do Sauna Yoga or not. Sauna Yoga is known to cause dizziness, lightheadedness and serious headaches, therefore, make sure to consult a doctor prior to joining a Sauna Yoga class.