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Sauna Talk: Anya and Dan from the Banya House

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Today on the Sauna Talk bench, we visit with Anya and Dan Bondarenko from the Banya House. Dan is Latvian, with Ukrainian family heritage. Anya is 100% Ukrainian. Her town has been completely destroyed from the Putin invasion. Anya is a nutritionist, with a focus on plant medicine.

We gather in their outdoor backyard sauna….. er.. banya. The Banya House, Prior Lake, Minnesota. The design, size, and structure is comparable to the 612 Sauna Society Sauna, a sauna that I had a big hand in building. So, I was very comfortable in the Banya House. The heat is kick ass, as is the spiritual patina, as is the fabulous Latvian style pirtis venik treatment.

Sauna Talk with Dan and Anya
Sauna Talk with Dan and Anya

In this episode, we learn the difference between sauna and banya. The answer? Spoiler alert: it’s not that different! That said, we detail the nuances. And the difference lies within the two biggest measures of hot room climate: temperature and humidity. Where some orthodox sauna preachers claim the importance of tall ceilings and the löyly pocket, we get a very different approach of good hot room climate with Dan and Anya.

Anya and Dan Bondarenko with venicks, at the Banya House
Anya and Dan Bondarenko with venicks, at the Banya House

Sauna in nature is bigger than all of us. And with banya, we bring nature into the banya. Nature plays a big part in Slavic banya. Essences, teas, vennik / whisks are all front forward with banya climate and culture.

Anya and Dan in front of their mobile banya, Prior Lake, Minnesota
Anya and Dan in front of their mobile banya, Prior Lake, Minnesota

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