Regular yoga practice brings a whole host of benefits to the mind and body, from mindfulness practices to slow stretches to heart pumping flows.
If you’re a seasoned yogi or have a newfound love for time on the mat, boosting your yoga practice with additional healthy habits can take your asanas to the next level.
In this blog, we talk about how sauna time is a great compliment for yoga practice and can help you reach your goals — whether that’s perfecting a new pose, expanding mindfulness, or just feeling healthier overall.
Elevate Your Practice with a Sauna Boost
From your head to your toes, the benefits of sauna are far reaching. Here are four bodily benefits of sauna to help supplement your yoga routine.
- Say goodbye to muscle tension
Working in front of a computer, sitting at a desk, and stress are all factors that can wreak havoc on muscles.
Saunas provide an environment that’s prime for alleviating muscle tension. The concentrated heat increases oxygen and nutrient-rich blood circulation, ultimately helping your body restore its oxygen-depleted muscle tissues.
- Further your flexibility
Don’t we all wish we could be a little more flexible? Dreaming of the day when touching our toes wasn’t so difficult?
Yoga is a big help when it comes to improving flexibility — especially yin yoga where you typically hold seated postures for longer periods of time than you would in other types of yoga classes. But even with a consistent yoga practice, you may need a little extra help to further your flexibility. This is where sauna time comes into play.
Muscles relax best when heat is involved and tissues can warm up. With the increased temperature, muscles are soothed and have a greater ability to stretch.
One study done by Michele Olson, PhD, a principal researcher at Auburn University’s Montgomery Kinesiology Laboratory, had 12 volunteers sit in an infrared sauna for 10-15 minutes. They were then asked to do typical stretches — like hamstring stretches — in the sauna. The same 12 people also were asked to relax in a standard gym environment (which is usually around 70° F) for 10-15 minutes and then complete the same stretches. The results from the study showed stretching in the sauna led to a 205% improvement in flexibility.
- Calm your mind As any yogi knows, mindfulness is an integral part of practicing yoga. It allows time to focus on the present moment, connect mind and body, and lean into the beauty of stillness.
Savasana, the final resting pose of yoga, gives you time to practice mindfulness in any class you take. Take that restful state up a notch to restorative yoga class where the practice is all about slowing down and welcoming mindfulness.
If you want to expand your mindfulness practice in yoga class or on your own, sauna is a great resource to utilize. Use the time you have in the sauna to work on intention setting or connecting with your body by closing your eyes and taking soothing, deep breaths.
Should You Sauna Before or After Yoga? There really isn’t a right answer here. When you decide to go depends on your personal preference and what feels best for your body.
A sauna session can be a great warm up for a yoga class like Kundalini or restorative, but if you’re doing a class that’s more rigorous, like Bikram, you may want to save the sauna to re-energize your body after a tough class.
Combine the Benefits of Sauna with Yoga at Sauna House Why not have the best of both worlds? At Sauna House, we offer a private, souped-up infrared sauna upstairs where you can have your own space to work on your yoga practice and enjoy the benefits of sauna too.