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Six ways to stay warm and chill out this winter 

Turn up, wind down, bliss out.

click to enlarge Pure bliss at Sauna Nova Scotia - MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON
  • Pure bliss at Sauna Nova Scotia
  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

Sauna Nova Scotia

Sauna Nova Scotia’s Erica and Devin Brook built their mobile sauna with Nova Scotian winters in mind. And after spending some time as a roving, wood-fired source of self-care and socializing, they’ve parked in Musquodoboit Harbour, teaming up with Worthington Place Oceanside rentals, meaning if you want to turn your sweaty session into a full-on retreat from the city, you can. “The approach we take with sauna is an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors in the winter time, so location really matters to us. Having this spot on the water is a great aspect of that. We want to encourage people to get out and explore different parts of the province even in the winter. Being able to stay warm when you experience that is an essential,” says Erica of SNS’ new home, where you can enjoy a 90-minute hot-cold cycle via a private sauna session (for a group of up to eight) or pair it with an overnight stay. “That experience, going through those cycles, is deeply relaxing. It does practical stuff like soothing aching muscles, but it also causes you to stop, relax, put away your cell phone and be present,” says Erica. “It’s detoxifying, good for your skin and relaxing. The whole reason for sauna is to spend time with people you like and just relax, that’s really the main benefit.” saunanovascotia.com

The Floatation Centre
No light. No distractions. Nothing to scroll through. Just 10 inches of warm, seriously salty water, your brain and your body. A 75-minute float in one of the Floatation Centre’s sensory deprivation tanks—yup, 10 inches is enough to float in—gives you way more than that cozy, womb feeling—it can provide the same benefits of up to six (SIX!) hours of sleep, all the while detoxifying, helping with chronic pain, reducing stress and increasing circulation. Plus, when do you get this kind of uninterrupted alone time for creativity, reflection or just being? If you’re looking for serenity, now, chances are you’ll find it in the tank. thefloatationcentre.ca

Yogassage
Saturday mornings at Moksha Yoga are an excuse to slow the heck down. Registered massage therapist and yoga instructor Kelly Wadden’s Yogassage classes are taught in a cozy heat (not the usual sweat-fest) with just six students, a teacher–who leads the class through a series of poses–and an RMT who’ll provide adjustments and some massage (about 12 or so minutes per student which, PS, can be claimed). “You’re holding each posture for five minutes to slow the momentum of your day, physically or mentally,” says Wadden, Yogassage’s founder. “Self-care is something people tend to put on the back burner. It’s cool because when I get to do the class and be the student, there’s a cool correlation when the student is drawing attention inwards to themselves and then having the power of touch, it highlights the fact self-care should be top priority.” She suggests booking a spot in the class at least a week in advance, or if you’d rather do the private thing, book a solo or semi-private Yogassage through her newly minted East Coast Wellness Clinic on Brenton Street. ecwc.ca

Spirit Spa
Yes, the downtown location of Spirit Spa offers everyday ways to treat yourself, like the freedom of a new haircut or a fresh facial, or something more therapeutic like Thai massage, reiki, a salt stone massage or a head-to-toe detox wrap. There’s a wide variety to choose from and there’s added value here that can make your treatment feel like more of a retreat. Indulging in a spa service at Spirit also gives you access to a private steam shower, as well as the neighbouring hotel’s pool and hot tub, so you can take a little extra time to unwind. Your robe awaits. spiritspa.ca

Steam Space
“Why can’t a steam room be more of a social norm and a way to hangout with people?” It’s something Josée Cloutier asked herself years ago, a question that spawned both her intensive research into bathhouses around the world and the beginnings of her own business. The current iteration of Steam Space is a Siberian, wood-fired steam sauna tent, an intimate backyard set-up that offers a social space to detoxify and connect with nature through various stages of incremental heat and then cooling. Cloutier calls it “elemental, raw and direct.” Right now, Steam Space is accessible via private bookings for small groups or special events, as well as a semi-regular Steam Club drop-in, and offers body-work add-ons like cupping, sea scrubs and tree leaf massages. “It’s like getting a forest car wash,” she says. “You’re basically getting hugged by a tree.” But this is just the beginning for Cloutier, who’s looking for a more permanent location to evolve the business and accommodate more people. “I feel like we really need it with our climate, Nova Scotia is so ripe for it. But it appealed to me to start this way, especially looking at the root of sweat bathing,” she says. For more information, or to book a steam, find Steam Space on Facebook.

SOS Yoga
In the same vein as Yogassage, RIO’s SOS (or Stone Out Stress) classes have limited space for you and your pushed-to-the-limit body to bask in, so you’ll have to book your spot way early if you ever want to make the cut. SOS helps yogis of all types release the weight of the week in a collaborative way. Stretch it out big time as you settle into deep, yin postures that you’ll hold while an angel (your instructor) straight from heaven (RIO) places hot stones on your bod. It’s a surefire way to loosen up, slow down and say see you later to some toxins. Find RIO’s full schedule at riopilatesyogastudio.ca.

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Vol 26, No 12
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