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While we have plenty of food- and alcohol-centered social customs (see: “Want to grab a coffee?” “Let’s do lunch.” and “Meet us for Happy Hour!”) there’s now a healthy, rejuvenating way for you to relax and connect — with friends, or with yourself — steaming, plunging, lounging and soaking at the newly opened Asha Urban Baths. Whether your new year’s resolution was to be more mindful, take better care of yourself, try new things, or spend more time with your friends, a trip to 27th and X Streets will fit the bill.

Sometimes when a new place opens, we’re robbed of that elusive element of novelty or surprise by people (over)sharing on social media, but not at Asha; no phones allowed. But since we don’t have a strong bathhouse culture here in America, we here at City Scout got special permission to snap some pictures and we thought to put together a little how-to guide to help you navigate the most chill place in town. Here’s some know-how to help you look like a bath pro.

WHAT TO BRING:

  • Your bathing suit
  • Your ID. You trade in your ID for a locker key when you check in.
  • Money. Take a look at the price list on the website to figure out how much to bring. (Note: You pay at the end of your experience).
  • Optional: two towels. Since you use one towel to sit on in the sauna and steam room, you’ll likely want to have a dry fresh towel for when you shower off at the end. Conversely, you can pay $3 to rent two towels.
  • Optional: shower shoes that you don’t mind getting completely wet. Alternatively, a pair of shower shoes is included in the price of your day pass. city-scout-magazine-sacramento-asha-urban-baths-27grid2city-scout-magazine-sacramento-asha-urban-baths-29

While you’re welcome to use the spaces in the order you’d like, there is a suggested flow to the hydrotherapy — or a circuit, so to speak — so as to reap the full benefits (lower blood pressure, feeling more present, opening up energy blocks, using internal heat to relax muscles and relax mentally):

  1. Start with a rinse off in the open showers to your right.
  2. Warm up in one of two rooms: the wet steam or the dry sauna (or both!)
  3. Rinse off any sweat in a smaller open shower so as to “respect the waters.”
  4. The fun part: Take the cold plunge. Walk down the steps into the cold pool. That it’s smaller than a jacuzzi won’t bother you as you’re not likely to spend much time in there! Though a bit jarring at first, it’s a high you just might find yourself chasing throughout your visit, and if you really want to get a jump on your to-do list after the baths, end on the invigorating cold plunge and head out into the world.
  5. Soak in the big warm pool (treated with a super high-end filtration system that uses a natural form of chlorine — salt).
  6. Repeat!

Amenities and add-ons: One of the ways that the Asha team is able to commit to their mission of making the bathhouse experience accessible and sustainable is to cut back on splurges we tend to associate with spas — and with good reason. Owner Cori Martinez wants for folks to treat Asha Urban Baths more like a mainstream, integrated part of their lifestyle instead of the $400-Calistoga-special-treat approach. So while you won’t find robes, hand-crafted mocktails, or luxury lotions, you can BYO-amenities and take part more often, arguably getting more bang for your buck. city-scout-magazine-sacramento-asha-urban-baths-34grid3city-scout-magazine-sacramento-asha-urban-baths-37

  • You can park in the lot or on the street (the baths portion of Asha is the front building; the back building is the yoga studio)
  • A minimalist locker room to lock up your things and change. Plastic bags for your wet suits and a hairdryer are provided.
  • Water with lemon essential oils (explains why you might see a film on the surface of the water). Just jot down your name and time on your cup, fill ‘er up and stay hydrated throughout your visit.
  • Lounge chairs. Both inside the space and out on the “porch,” you can take a break from the hot-cold-hot circuit and just…exist. Bring a book, meditate, quietly chat with your friend(s), or just stare off into space.
  • The front desk sells some snacks and juices that can be enjoyed out on the front porch.
  • The front desk also sells some special add-ons like essential oils and Turkish-made mits for using while in the steam room or shower.
  • Yoga and massage services. Now that Asha moved (from their old space on 20th and J/K Streets, they have more studio space for workshops, different kinds of yoga like Reiki and girls’ classes, and open meditation, and massage — and all with less environmental noise than before).

grid1Still feeling a bit hesitant or nervous about what it will be like? Some tips:

  • If the fact that the baths are co-ed unnerves you, remember that hotel hot tubs, public pools, and the beach are all co-ed spaces too, and we’ve grown accustomed to that dynamic.
  • You can prepare for the experience by perusing Asha’s helpful website.
  • There are “Bathhouse 101” pamphlets sprinkled around the space for you to read up on how-tos and some bathhouse history.

How often are you at peace with strangers? Likely not while hurriedly awaiting your floor on an elevator, or averting eye contact on public transit, or while willing the customers in front of you to move faster in the self-checkout line. But at the newly opened Asha Urban Baths, you might find yourself in just such a situation — paradoxically alone together, having retreated into your own thoughts (or lack of thoughts!) alongside your fellow Sacramentans. As their motto goes, “Join the revolution; slow down.”

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