Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Little Steam Room Etiquette Please!

I sometimes have to think a bit about whether or not I should blog about certain subjects because I know there are people out there who read this blog that see me in a professional light. Today's blog is a questionable one, but I can't resist because the hair on my arms (at least what I can find) is still up.

One of the big draws to the local athletic facility where I work out is the steam and sauna rooms that are attached to the women's locker room. The men have both in there locker room as well. I'm drawn to this place because of the pool and because I grew up using this facility (including some day care programs when I was 3 and 4 years old). So there is a bit of nostalgia going on here.

I'm not a sauna or steam room kind of person and I wasn't sure why until my recent experience in the steam room really nailed the hammer on the head. I thought I'd start treating myself to a steam when I got out of the pool to relax a bit and sweat out some of the chlorine from my body. The winter air has been dry and I also figured some moist heat would be good for my skin. I put in one of my longest swims in a while and was looking forward to a relaxing steam. I felt a bit tight so couldn't be a better time! So, into the steam room I went with my bathing suit, flip flops on, a towel to put beneath me, and my water bottle. Of course, it was dark and steamy in there. I noticed a figure to the left side as I walked in so I sat on the right side bench, closed my eyes and tried to get into a relaxing zone. The steam started to gradually ease up (just a little) and the women across from me said; "It's really warm." Well, I opened my eyes for a split second and there she was literally butt naked because she in the yoga plow position. It wasn't the nakedness that shocked me, it was the plow position. Okay, that's not cool with me but apparently she seemed to feel totally relaxed doing her stretch routine, naked, with no towel on or underneath her. What was more frightening was that I knew her (not well, but has been an acquaintance for years) and would never guess that she'd be in THERE doing THAT. I went back to focusing on my breath but it did not last long because the suction sound of water under what had to be her butt as she moved snapped me out of my zone. I decided that I was out of there after she transferred into a seated quad stretch. What was next? The pigeon pose? A headstand? I was waiting for the "ooooohhhhmmmmmmss" to begin.

Look, maybe it's me that has the issue. Obviously it is. I recall using the steam room in the past and having the same kind of experiences (however there were no yoga poses) and feeling, well ... a bit uncomfortable. Clearly my issue. Folks, we are not in the privacy of our own home so I don't really want to know what you might do at home if you had your own private steam room. This is a public place. Can't we all just sit there, covered with a towel at least, and sweat? The stretching room is just down the hall from the locker rooms. Maybe take a steam and then go there to work on yoga.

I've been a bit on edge this week. Not sleeping, working a lot, trying to squeeze in some of my own workouts and not refilling my own "chill" tank enough. Looks like the steam room is out for me as a form of relaxing. Gee, I don't dare try the sauna!