After about 10-15 minutes on the sauna bench, we start to take inventory of our situation. And a low bench layover may soon be in our future.
Sweat is surely flowing. We throw another good shot of water on the rocks and take in the löyly: “aaaaaahhh,” (and no better word for the feeling). We are fully in this moment, soft light, gentle penetrating dense peacefulness. The heat on our skin is only a beginning. Because we are in a sauna with good lämpömassa, we are experiencing dense penetrating heat, deep within our bodies. And this makes all the difference.
Being in the moment is also about being in the moment about planning for our next moment, especially while getting blasted on the sauna bench. If Eckart Tolli were with us, we could get his thoughts on when it’s time to leave the hot room. But buddy Clint says “the time to leave the hot room is when the idea of an ice cold lake plunge is about the best idea you’ve ever heard.”
Whatever our clean rinse cool down methods are, be it lake plunge, cold plunge tank, snow angel, bucket rinse or a combination thereof, for many of us, especially those of us north of 55 years old and the 45th parallel, it is important to keep ourselves on level ground when going from hot to cold.
The low bench layover
When it’s time to leave the hot room, we climb off the upper bench, and before exiting the hot room, we may sit on the low bench for a moment. It could be to adjust the fire in our sauna stove or to reach for our SaunaShoes. This layover serves another purpose, a mental purpose of collecting our thoughts and psyching ourselves up for the other temperature extreme awaiting us outside our sauna hot room door.
For some, the low bench layover is a time to partake in 5-10 Wim Hof breaths. “Fully in… let go.” For others, it is a body core check in.. “am I hot enough to make it all the way down to the lake for avanto?” Or “I’m going to sit in the ice bath for 3 minutes, am I ready?”
Scott Carney calls the space between stimulus and response “The Wedge.” A low bench layover puts us in position to expand the wedge.
It’s ok to be a Low Bench Larry. Good sauna is about listening to the core, not the skin. The low bench layover is a great way to ease into hot/cold thermogenical goodness, especially in winter, with big temperature extremes.