Sauna Before or After Yoga and Stretching (Pros & Cons)

There are many different ways to incorporate a sauna into your routine; how and when you do so can make a world of difference. Is it better to sauna before or after yoga and stretching?

It’s best to use an infrared sauna for 15 minutes after yoga and stretching to promote muscle recovery, limit dehydration, and improve flexibility. If you’d rather use the sauna pre-yoga, limit your time inside to 5 minutes and opt for a steam sauna. While there are pros and cons to both orders, always consult your physician first.

Keep reading to learn if it’s better to use the sauna before or after yoga, about the pros and cons of each, and which type of sauna is the best to pair with stretching!

Is it better to use the sauna before or after yoga?

Learning your yoga studio just finished their in-house sauna is music to anyone’s ears. However, should you get there early and use it beforehand or be the first one out of class to snag a spot after?

Generally speaking, it’s better to use the sauna after your yoga session. This will help reduce next-day soreness and promote recovery, help your muscles dispose of metabolic waste, aid in weight loss, and encourage your body to release endorphins. Spend no more than 15 minutes inside to limit the risks.

We’ll dive more into the details below.

Using the sauna before yoga

Yoga is considered a low-impact workout, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Those expert-level poses are no joke. Could using the sauna before your class actually help you perform better?

There are both pros and cons to using the sauna before yoga. Using it prior to your workout can prevent muscle stiffness and warm your joints to limit injury. However, if used incorrectly, you risk heat stroke, dehydration, and even physical damage. 

It can be tricky deciding whether or not to take a sauna session before performing yoga. Let’s discuss the pros and cons.

Pros

There are some benefits to using the sauna before doing yoga. What are they exactly?

It’s a good idea to use the sauna before yoga because it:

  • Stimulates blood flow and prevents muscle stiffness (especially during cold weather exposure).
  • Helps joints move more freely during postures.
  • Aids in injury prevention.
  • Increases body temperature, heart rate, and metabolism.
  • Assists in overall flexibility improvement.

These are all reasons why yoga instructors might recommend using the sauna before your workout.

Cons

On the other hand, what are the cons to using the sauna pre-yoga class?

It’s a bad idea to use the sauna before yoga because it can:

  • Negatively impact your workout performance when too much time is spent inside.
  • Put you at risk for injuries like heat stroke, dehydration, and muscle damage.
  • Lead to health complications like heart attacks or passing out.
  • Prevent you from holding poses as long due to muscle fatigue.

For these reasons, it’s incredibly important to limit the time you spend inside the sauna to 5 minutes or less. That way, you get the pros without all of the cons.

Using the sauna after yoga

Next-day soreness is one of the worst parts of beginning a new workout regimen. Could using the sauna after yoga help improve the recovery experience?

It is typically recommended that you choose to visit the sauna after yoga. Doing this helps your muscles release toxins and recover more quickly, lowers cortisol production, and increases human growth hormone production. The risks only come into play if you use the sauna incorrectly. 

Always consult your doctor first if you have any medical conditions that could be exacerbated by going to the sauna after your workout.

Pros

What are the explicit pros to using the sauna after yoga and stretching?

It is advised to use the sauna after your workout because it:

  • Improves next-day soreness.
  • Helps your muscles release lactic acid and other metabolic waste.
  • Promotes weight loss by keeping your heart rate up. 
  • Allows you to get deeper into your stretches for improved recovery.
  • Relaxes your mind and enhances the release of endorphins.

Overall, adding the sauna into your routine post-yoga will help you achieve your fitness goals more quickly!

Cons

However, there are also some cons to using the sauna after your workout. What are they?

It’s not recommended to use the sauna after a yoga session because, if you overdo it, it could: 

  • Raise the chances of dehydration and heatstroke (due to increased blood flow during exercise).
  • Decrease your body’s ability to recover and build muscle.
  • Prioritize weight loss over muscle gain (and prevent you from putting on lean muscle mass).

That’s why it’s important to hydrate before, during, and after your workout and spend no more than 15 minutes inside.

What kind of sauna should you use before or after yoga?

All types of saunas have benefits unique to their design. Which one is best suited for pre- or post-yoga relaxation?

Use a steam room for 5 minutes or less before yoga because it has high humidity and a lower temperature, keeping you safe from heat exhaustion. Use an infrared sauna for 15 minutes after yoga because it will heat your body from the core and penetrate your muscles more deeply.

Applying these guidelines to your yoga plus sauna routine will yield the best results and prevent you from hurting yourself.

Traditional sauna

Traditional saunas are the hottest, but are they the best for pre- and post-yoga?

If your only option is a traditional sauna, use it after your workout. Spend 10 minutes inside while maintaining your hydration levels and performing light stretching. Using it before your training can put you at risk for dehydration and muscle injury.

A standard sauna wouldn’t be my first choice to use when doing yoga, but as long as you don’t push your limits, it can still make a great addition.

Infrared sauna

These saunas are notoriously efficient. Although, are infrared saunas a perfect match for before or after yoga?

Infrared saunas are best suited to be used for 15 minutes after your yoga class. They’re effective at raising your body temperature quickly and are a great way to help you stretch after a workout. This will promote muscle recovery, lower your cortisol levels, and help improve flexibility.

You can use them before your class; just make sure to hydrate. Infrared saunas have little to no humidity and will get you sweating immediately.

Steam room

Steam saunas are the perfect balance of moisture and heat. Does your yoga instructor think so too?

If you want to sit in the sauna before yoga, the steam room is your best option. It’s slightly less hot than the other saunas, and the high levels of humidity will help to cool your body down a bit. That way, there’s less risk of dehydration or fainting during your workout.

Spending 5 minutes or less inside will protect you from the risks we mentioned above.

Should you use the sauna before or after general stretching?

This article has covered the ins and outs of using the sauna with your yoga routine, but what about regular old stretching?

Physicians all over the globe reiterate the importance of warming your muscles before working them, which is why it’s recommended you use the sauna before general stretching. Sitting inside for 5 minutes will help to loosen muscles and joints and improve blood circulation. This practice will limit the risk for injury down the line.

You can opt to stretch while you’re inside the sauna or after you complete your session. It’s entirely up to you! Not only will a higher temperature allow you to get deeper into your stretches, but it will also stimulate the repair of micro muscle tears inflicted by your workout.

To sum things up, opt for 15 minutes in an infrared sauna after yoga to yield the best fitness results and prevent injury.

If you’re performing general stretching post-workout, step in the sauna for 5 minutes first to help you get the most out of your recovery routine!

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