By Jess in Minneapolis
Last Thursday night, my friend Meggan (of the Yoga Garage) and I took a yoga class at the Salt Cave Minneapolis.
You’re probably wondering what is a salt cave, and why would one do YOGA in it? Well, you can do yoga in some unique locations, right? Gorilla Yogis have successfully demonstrated that!
But I didn’t really know much about a salt cave either, until recently. A few weeks ago, I found myself chatting with a yoga instructor at a party. I asked her where she teaches, and she mentioned a couple different places, including the Salt Cave Minneapolis. She told me a little bit about it and its potential health benefits. I was intrigued, and looked it up online to see if I could check it out for myself.
The Salt Cave Minneapolis is not a cave per se; it’s not underground. Nope, it’s just a nondescript small building located at 48th and Nicollet in south Minneapolis.
As for the proclaimed health benefits of the salt, this is what the website says:
“The Salt Cave is a one-of-a-kind place designed to promote and support relaxation and general wellness. The walls and floor were constructed by hand using more than six tons of pure Himalayan crystal salt, and the air in the cave is treated by a specialized halogenerator, which infuses the air with a dry aerosol containing tiny particles of pharmaceutical grade salt. Clinical studies have shown that when people inhale this type of salt air, it can help to stimulate the natural ability of their respiratory system to reduce inflammation, fight infection, clear blockages and reduce discomfort. Visitors typically spend each 45-minute session relaxing in a comfortable zero-gravity recliner. Alternately, special group sessions might include yoga/meditation or storytelling for kids. In all cases, the primary source of respiratory benefit is the inhalation of the cave’s specially treated salt air.”
Below is a list of conditions that have been shown to respond to salt cave therapy. Visitors with a chronic or specific health condition are advised to direct specific questions about salt therapy to their physician as needed.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)*
Frequent bronchial and/or sinus related issues*
Frequent ear infections
Weakened immune system
Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis
Now, I don’t really suffer from any of those conditions. Well, like many of you, have my fair share of anxiety and fatigue, of course…but I suppose I was trying out the salt cave for preventative health reasons. The instructor also mentioned that the salts are good for your skin and hair, and can help you ward off colds during this season.
I would like to ward off colds! I like yoga!
The Right Fits is all about fresh new fitness experiences, and my friend Meggan is a yogi, so I figured she would be the perfect friend to pair up with the Right Fits for this unique experience. We signed up online for one of the Thursday 7 pm classes. Each yoga class holds only 6-8 people- very small.
Each session costs $30, which I understand is expensive for a 45 minute class, but you’re getting more than just yoga. You’re getting all the benefits of the salt cave. (Let me point out that the class ended up being an hour, rather than 45 minutes)
I had called ahead to see what equipment we needed to bring, and the instructor said that yogis often bring their own mats, and then put their mats on top of the ones provided in the cave, lest your personal mat gets covered in salt.
I wasn’t sure how warm it would be in the studio, so I arrived with layers- long yoga pants and a tank top covered by a long-sleeve top. The temperature turned out to be pretty cozy, somewhere around 76 degrees, so I felt okay in my tank top. We were allowed to bring water bottles into the room, but I didn’t really need it. The instructor also had Kleenex available, as she said several students often get runny noses during their first time in the cave, though I only noticed a little bit of the sniffles.
The space was smaller than I expected, and the four of us filled up the room.
The salt cave had a pinkish hue, and was filled with rock formations made of Himalayan salt. The floor was covered with tiny salt rocks, and the yoga mat definitely got pretty salty. In fact, my clothes were coated in a thin layer of the salt by the end of the class. The generator- err, halogenerator, gave off a quiet hum, and peaceful flowing water sounds were piped through the room.
The instructor’s same was Tara, and she looked like any other yoga instructor in Minneapolis. Fit, strong, confident, covered in a little bit of salt! (Actually, I recognized her as an instructor at Pure Barre.)
This particular yoga class wasn’t really an athletic style yoga, but more of a meditative vinyasa flow. It was very peaceful and soothing. We held each pose a little longer than normal, and really focused on deep breathing of the salty air.
We began the class like any other, in child’s pose. As we started, the pharmaceutical salt was blown through the air, and I could taste the saltiness as I focused on my ujjayi breath. The deeper I breathed, the more I could feel it in my lungs. The salt particles are so, so tiny though, that you can’t see them and even the salty “taste” was minimal, yet I felt like I could feel it cleaning my lungs. We continued on through a vinyasa flow style class, and the 60 minute class flew by.
The uneven salty ground did make some of the poses a little more challenging, similarly to practicing yoga outdoors in the uneven grass (like at Meggan’s Yoga at the Lake in the summer). I had to dig in my heels more and ground myself into the mat. Not a bad thing!
Meggan and I both left the class feeling soothed and a bit more peaceful, after both having very stressful days at the office.
I don’t know if I’ll make Salt Cave Minneapolis yoga a part of my regular yoga routine. However, if I’m coming down with a cold, it might be a good way to get in some meditative yoga while warding off the sniffles! Dustin is interested in joining me as well, so it won’t just be a onetime event. It was a pleasant and interesting experience, and I do plan to return.
You can “like” the Salt Cave Minneapolis on facebook, or check out any of these articles for more information:
City Pages Article: http://blogs.citypages.com/dressingroom/2012/07/salt_cave_opens_south_minneapolis.php
Watch this news segment on Kare 11: http://www.kare11.com/news/article/982898/14/Minnesotas-first-salt-cave-offers-healing-benefits
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