“Stokeyard Outfitters in Minneapolis held a New Year’s Day open house at its Sauna Village to allow the public to try out its mobile sauna trailers. Clockwise from top, Sophia Pham squealed as she made a snow angel after coming out of a sauna with friend Alexandra Cooper, in the dark suit; Jason Kaasovic poured water on the back of his 6-year-old son Vuk, as they basked in the sauna; and Cooper breathed in cool air as she emerged from the steam bath.”
The closest place to pick up a paper in my neighborhood is Bobby & Steve’s Automotive on the corner. I was sitting in their waiting room with a big smile on my face from the article above when my mechanic walked by and asked what I was smiling about. He sat down next to me and I spent the next few minutes trying to explain the photos above. Just as I was starting to get self-conscious that I was rambling, and realizing that perhaps his question was less one of real curiosity and more of courtesy—a courtesy now costing him a significant portion of his lunch break—he interrupted me and said, “I have such pain in my hands from this work. Do you think sauna would help.” His eyes were serious. It was the pain speaking now.
“You know, we don’t pay attention to our bodies here. We work so hard and we really don’t think about how we move. I’m 50 and I feel like I’m 100.”
I shared some of the recent studies about the health benefits of sauna and my own personal experience. He responded with a slow nod and I shook his hand, as I’ve done many times. He has the kind of grip you’d expect of a mechanic but with his confession I could somehow feel beyond his strength—the cost of it somehow equally present as he crushed my skinny fingers.
Sauna and the ripples of Thermaculture that it creates has a way of humanizing us to each other—on and off the bench—and I love how these moments find me where I least expect, like reading the paper at the gas station.
A few details that the article above left out: We’re working hard to make more consistent and affordable bench time available this year, starting with programming at both our current locations:
- The Sauna Village will now be open ALL WEEKEND! We’re expanding our regular hours to include Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 5 – 8 p.m. and Sundays from 11am – 2pm. Reservations are now available here.
- Join us Sunday morning January 12th at The Hewing Hotel for a new monthly wellness immersion experience, including a guided HIT workout, yoga, sauna steam recovery and light bites provided by Hewing’s award-winning kitchen. Click here to learn more.
See you on the bench—or at Bobby & Steves ; )
- John Pederson (JP)