Sauna Q&A / Jan Seepter

Should you exercise in the sauna?

04 Jun 2021

Q: Is it healthy to exercise in the sauna? How about yoga or other types of exercise?

Bikram Yoga practice suggests that 40 C degree sauna and 40-60% humidity is the perfect combo that allows for your muscles and ligaments to relax, enhances the toning and stretching of ligaments and joints, enables oxygen-enriched blood to reach every cell, and helps to achieve the maximum effectiveness of asanas. The flexibility of the body increases even further in the sauna, while enhanced sweating boosts metabolism. Therefore, a well-ventilated and moderately hot sauna is perfect for conducting different yoga practices.

At the same time, it is important to take notice that physical activities in the sauna should be limited considering the loss of liquids and electrolytes (especially Na+, K+ and Cl-). Such a loss calls for the consumption of compensating liquids like mineral water (or sports drinks) that should be consumed with small sips while keeping the drink in the mouth for a few seconds before swallowing - for the essential minerals to start digesting.  At the same time, consuming liquids with no minerals only enhances sweating and might cause discomfort and even muscle cramps. 

It is not recommended to do yoga in the sauna in case of low blood pressure, as in the heat blood vessels dilate and blood pressure drops even further. 

The golden rule of sauna - that you should always pay attention to your well-being - also applies to training. If you listen to your body, you can enjoy great flexibility and increased effects of asanas without discomfort. 

I have met different people who practice meditation and yoga in the sauna during my 32 years of experience with sauna rituals. They have all brought out that the effects of yoga and meditation in the sauna are faster to come and results more concentrated. 

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