Should You Use A Sauna Before Yoga?

Should you use a sauna before yoga?

Saunas are deeply relaxing, so should you use a sauna before yoga? A sauna before yoga will relax muscles and cause dehydration, leading to a poor yoga session.

When I first started doing yoga, I learned that there were two groups of women; those who regularly used the sauna before the class and those who used it after. So, should you use a sauna before yoga? The answer varies depending on what you want out of your class.

The “before” group insisted that the steam from the sauna increased their heart rate, effectively giving them the advantages of “hot yoga” without actually having to do an entire class in a steaming hot room. They claimed that they also felt more relaxed, putting them in a better mood to do a class.

The “after” group insisted that saunas were essentially a way to get clean after a workout. Doing one beforehand didn’t make any sense.

What Does A Sauna Do?

What does a sauna do?
The heat from the sauna will force muscles to relax

A sauna exposes the human body to high temperatures and steam. The body’s response is the same as it would be if a person were to go outside on a hot day; the body will immediately take steps to cool itself down. This means our heart rate increases, and we start to sweat. At the same time, the heat from the sauna will force muscles to relax.

If a person’s goal is to lose weight, then it’s generally a good idea to increase heart rate. Using a sauna before yoga might help accomplish this, but the truth is that there are much better ways to lose weight.  

Risks Of Using A Sauna Before Yoga

Saunas will dehydrate you, which can be dangerous if a person plans to do an intense workout afterward. Check out our explainer on does hot yoga help you lose weight.

Going into a workout dehydrated can be extremely dangerous. As a person pushes their body to its limits, being in a state of dehydration will increase muscle strain and exhaustion. This is one of the big reasons why personal trainers insist that their clients always drink water before and after their workouts.

Of course, some people will insist that the actual danger is fairly low, especially if the yoga session in question is a low-impact class. While this may be true for some people, the truth is that if the yoga class is being done at such a low intensity that it is completely safe to do while dehydrated, then it’s not enough exercise to really contribute to weight loss. The same is true for anyone looking to do yoga to promote muscle tone.

Saunas For Relaxation

Saunas for relaxation
Make sure that you have plenty to drink in between the sauna and the yoga class

If, on the other hand, a person is taking a yoga class to promote their spiritual well-being, then a sauna might not be a terrible idea. Because the steam can help muscles to relax, there are some people who swear by taking a sauna, then going into a low-intensity yoga and guided meditation class.  

If you choose to do this, make sure that you have plenty to drink in between the sauna and the yoga class. This will combat the dehydration but leave your muscles feeling relaxed. Our list of the best yoga quotes about breath might also help you relax.

FAQs About Using Sauna Before Yoga

How long should a sauna be before a yoga class?

Ideally, your sauna session should be between ten and thirty minutes. Start with short sessions until you get used to them.

Should I have less or more steam in a sauna before a yoga class?

Less steam will mean less dehydration, and you’ll still get all the benefits of the heat helping your muscles relax.

Are there any benefits to doing a sauna after yoga?

Using a sauna after yoga will force your muscles to relax, helping some people who may have overextended or strained their muscles. Some people also like to use a sauna to get clean after a class.