There is nothing more relaxing for aching muscles and steaming brains than a lakeside sauna! The lakeside sauna of Varala Sports Institute (in the picture) is in our use on saturday evening.
Sauna has a long history in Finland and the earliest saunas date back as far as 2000 years. The sauna was a sacred place where both body and soul were cleansed.
The sanctity of the sauna meant that people had to behave calmly and no screaming or swearing was allowed.
The word for the hot steam in the sauna, ‘löyly’, means the life-force or life-soul in Finno-Ugric languages. The word is associated with 'breathing', 'steam' and 'life itself'.
A "vasta" or "vihta" is a bundle of fresh birch twigs that you gently whip yourself with. It sounds strange, but it makes your blood circulate even better and feels fantastic on your skin!
A few notes about the sauna...
How to Sauna
For Finns, the sauna is a sacred place where both body and soul are cleansed. The sanctity of the sauna means that people should behave in a calm and respectful manner. There’s nothing quite as true to Finnish culture than bathing in a hot sauna followed by a dip in the lake. However, we do understand that you might have some concerns about bathing in a hot box with a bunch of strangers. The same rules apply in the sauna as in our other venues.
Who can go to the sauna?
Generally anyone can enjoy the human baking oven, but if you have health conditions such as heart problems, asthma, open wounds or the flu, you should avoid going to the sauna. If the sauna feels too hot you can stay on the lower levels of the seats - “lauteet” - and make sure you cool off enough.
Do I have to go naked?
We have gender specific saunas at the venue and while swimsuits are optional, please don’t feel obliged to go naked. Wearing your swimsuit or a towel is perfectly fine. There is nothing sexual about the sauna, and us Finns have seen our fair share of human bodies in all shapes and sizes so there’s no need to feel shame, just be who you are. In return we ask that you do not stare or make comments on others in the sauna either.
When you leave the sauna to go swim in the lake it would be a good idea to slip into your swimsuit, as public nudity can be frowned upon, and there might be other people in the area.
What do you do in the sauna?
Just sit back and relax. Bathing in a sauna with others can also be somewhat of a bonding experience, and as the saying goes more important decisions are made in saunas than in meetings.
It is also a custom to throw water on the stove or “kiuas”. The act of throwing water on the hot rocks and the steam that follows is called “löyly” which means the life-force or soul in Finno-Ugric languages. The word is associated with 'breathing', 'steam' and 'life itself'. Anyone can throw “löyly” whenever they feel like it, but please be aware of the comfort of others. Nobody likes a roaster.
Remember that you will be sweating a lot in the sauna so it is crucial to stay hydrated. Drink a lot of water during and after going to the sauna. You are also free to enjoy other refreshments such as beer and cider, but please don’t litter. There will also be showers so make sure you wash off before and after your sauna experience, so you can arrive nice and fresh to the evening dances.