This evening I went to a posh gym located on the 35th floor of a skyscraper in our town. This gym has a big spa zone, and so I tried each facility after the training. The spa as well as the training rooms were not crowded, probably because it was Friday night and people go for drinking or dining out. This gym has the largest sauna I have ever seen, though I have been to those in the gym in Japan and the US, only once or twice a year. But I was the only person in the sauna while there are always 2 or 3 persons in the large jacuzzi nearby.
The reason I sendom go to sauna is that I could not stand the heat for so long, so I have never been to any sauna in Scandinavian countries even though I visited these countries so many times. But this evening, I tried to test myself against the heat of sauna, probably because I wanted to get more endurance (will power). Strangely, soon I found myself sitting in the sauna room alone with a zen meditation position by folding my legs, and keeping deep abdominal breathing. It occurred naturally as I have been meditating these days on a regular basis, and I did not care how I would look like in the room, even though once in a while one person entered the room and left. Interestingly, with meditation, I could stay in the sauna room much longer and I could stand the heat better than usual.
There was one problem. When I was breathing out the air through my nose, I gradually started to feel intense heat in my nose, as if it is burning inside. So I started inhaling/exhaling through my mouth. But inside of my mouth and throat also got heated gradually, and I gave up, left the sauna room, and jumped into a big cold bath tub right out of the sauna room. Then I found a mist sauna (low-temperature steam bath popular in Japan these days), and started mediation in the mist-sauna room. Vjala! It works! It was much more comfortable to meditate in the mist-sauna room. My nose, mouth, and throat were not burning any more.
After a while, I thought about Hot Yoga, which is also popular in Japan over the past few years. And I was wondering if there is anyone else who does meditation or yoga in sauna or steam room in the gym. I have seen a Japanese man doing zen meditation in sauna bath about 3 years ago (in other gym in Chiba City where I live). That was the only time I have seen mediation in sauna. I was so curious about it, so I googled it, and found that there are many people who practice Yoga (including meditation) in sauna. The above Youtube video is one of the examples.
Anyway, I feel very vigorated and energized after zen meditation in the mist sauna this evening, and I am working late tonight (and writing this blog article during the break). I guess hot, humid, and sweaty environment adds physical detox effect to meditation which is otherwise largely mental exercise. I will keep trying this meditation in mist sauna for mental and physical detox. I will write an update in a few weeks how it goes and how it affects my life.
Posted on Friday 29 June 2012