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Does your sauna have a soul?

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During my recent 50 saunas in 12 days tour of Finland, as I was catching up with my scorekeeping with Jarmo Lehtola, I ask:

“So, yesterday I was in three different saunas at Finnish Sauna Society, do I count that as one, because it’s one place, or three?”

“You count that as three. Every sauna has its own soul.”

As we build our own saunas, or hire others build our saunas, it is to our benefit when we allow for the soul of a sauna to present itself.

The stove (kiuas) is the heart of a sauna. The stove beats, circulating heat and energy into our hot rooms. Our benches and walls are our creation, the body of our saunas. Those of us who bring our saunas to life introduce custom elements to our saunas that help give them character and a relationship to ourselves. Examples may include sauna elves, or a custom made sauna door handle, or a sauna stone or two from a special place of past voyages.

Every sauna has its own soul.

Many of us consider our saunas to be spiritual spaces. When we sauna alone, we connect with the spirit of our saunas. We don’t have to philosophize about the metaphysics of matter and energy because we understand that we, as humans, are energy and our saunas are also energy. On the sauna bench, we share our energy together, as one. Two souls relating to each other as living organisms.

No guru, no method, no preacher. Just you and I in Nature.

As iterations of “sauna” push their way into the marketplace, (infrared cabins, poor ventilated health club toaster ovens, power sauna, stationary bike sauna) it may become more difficult to feel the soul of a sauna. Yet just as “stillness speaks”, we are always in a position to help:

  1. Liberate the soul of existing saunas
  2. Create moments where the soul of the sauna can be heard and felt
  3. Build more soulful saunas

#1 can be achieved, even in health clubs, via lobbying against the “don’t throw water on the rocks” signs, and for their investment in better stoves with more rocks, better ventilation, providing for cool down zones outside in Nature, as well as understanding where the dots go in the word lämpömassa.

#2 can be achieved by curating good sauna gatherings where folks “behave in saunas as if in church.” Another way of saying it is that in sauna, generally, people are very cool and respectful. Like at a yoga class, if someone “comes in hot” and is loud and obnoxious, generally, the good of the room wins. Nowhere is this more evident than in sauna. (If particularly challenged, one can consider Marty’s Law of Reverse Cycling, or maybe just a healthy dose of water on the rocks).

#3 can be achieved, perhaps the easiest, by applying many of the principles (both building and philosophy) rambled upon within this website. As we enjoy the journey of our own sauna builds, we can start to feel the soul of our own saunas, so joyful and pleased to be created for our wellbeing. A sauna hot room holds no judgements based upon economic status. We are welcomed by our sauna to a spiritual place, together. Shhh.. quiet. Can you hear your sauna speaking to you? Can you feel its soul? Of course you can.

Every sauna has its own soul.

Come into the world
And you go out of the world

But in between
There’s you and me

Alone, Trampled by Turtles.
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