A Day of Retreat at Asha Urban Baths
I was having one of those stretches at work where I was feeling stressed, overwhelmed, overworked, and burned out. I hit a point where I needed to step back, take a break, and relax. I requested a couple of mental health days off and looked around for stuff to do to facilitate said relaxation. I scheduled a series of "treat yoself" activities - a hair appointment, mani/pedi, and a face wax, because what is more relaxing than ripping off the top layer of your face. I wanted to find a place to get a massage, too.
After some diligent yelping, I found Asha Urban Baths, an old-world style wellness bathhouse on 27th & Broadway, at the southern border of downtown Sacramento. This place opened in 2016 as a "center for healing and rejuvenation." I was intrigued, especially since it was only a mile away from my house.
Asha offers a warm soaking pool, cold plunge pool, sauna and steam rooms, as well as private massages and yoga classes at the Asha Yoga studio (different building, same property). Obviously, I wanted all of this. That's where their Personal Day of Retreat came in! Included in this package:
Bathhouse + Yoga + Massage – ($140)
A 50-minute full body massage
A class at Asha Yoga
Unlimited time at the bathhouse (including in/out privileges for the day)
A local fresh pressed juice
I filled out a form to request a day for myself. After that, in order to guarantee my spot, I registered online so they had my payment info. A couple of days later I received an email detailing my day's schedule. Here was the plan for my Friday:
12:00 PM, Yin (Retreat Yoga) - Yoga House
2:00 PM, 50 minute (RETREAT) (Massage) - Jessica
3:00 PM, Soak, Sauna, Lounge (RETREAT) (Bathhouse)
I was super excited! Come Friday, I was so ready for my Day of Retreat. The front desk had snacks like cookies and granola bars, and provided single deodorant wipes and face masks by EO. After checking in, I put my stuff in a locker. Their women's locker room is cute but pretty small - more than 3 people made it pretty cramped. I headed outside to the yoga studio where I checked in for the class. When the person at the front desk asked if I was there with anyone else for the Day of Retreat (which I guess a lot of people do, and were doing that day), I replied that I was there on my own. She and the other person both looked up from what they were doing and said, "...Good for you!!!" in a weird, sad, tone. I mean, it wasn't a thing for me until they said that, and I was super aware of the other couples thereafter.
There were only 6 of us in the yoga class, which made the class very intimate. The instructor, Melissa, was very accommodating and reassuring when I told her I didn't have much experience practicing yoga. She focused on stretching out our bottom halves, which was at times, pretty intense. There was someone in the class who was having difficulty and started giggling, and Melissa, in true yogi fashion, said, "Stretching out our hips can be an emotional experience. Feel free to laugh and let it out." A+.
After the class, I had some time to kill. I grabbed my ~local fresh-pressed juice~ that was included in my package and enjoyed it out on the front porch.
Jessica came to get me right at 2:00 and we went into a private room where we discussed what's been bothering me lately. The room was nice and cozy. There was a diffuser going (there were diffusers everywhere around the bathhouse), salt rocks on display - the vibe was very relaxing and soothing. The massage room isn't too far from the pools and showers, so I heard the showers turning on and turning off periodically throughout my massage. The massage itself was fantastic. Much needed. Jessica was communicative and consistent. It ended up being more intense than I was hoping for, but exactly what I needed.
Right after my therapeutic massage, I changed into my bathing suit, trying to remember all of my junior high moves of modesty in a locker room. I then headed out to the bathhouse with a book. Asha suggests a specific order to experience the different pools and rooms in - all the while, rinsing in between each step. If I remember correctly, it's:
Steam or Sauna
Repeat as necessary
It was my first time ever in a steam room. I lasted probably 4 minutes before leaving because I am apparently a huge wuss who can't handle some steam. I opted to skip the sauna since didn't know what a sauna was, lots of people were filing in and out, and the room was dark and scary. I later learned it was dry heat, which, I don't know if I would have fared any better with. I rinsed after the steam room and went for the Cold Plunge. It was about the size of a small jacuzzi tub, and the instructions encourage you to go all-in - head down under. I made it about as far as my chest, for probably 30 seconds, before desperately needing to climb out. It was refreshing and woke me up, but man, so so cold. Definitely re-energizing, though.
After another rinse, I was ready for the warm soaking pool. I was lucky because I had it mostly to myself. I grabbed my book and enjoyed a solo soak. A couple people came and went while I got a few chapters into Crazy Rich Asians. This part was definitely my favorite. Uber relaxing, soothing music, warm water, I even think the light was being controlled? My massage therapist encouraged me to practice some stretching once I was in the soaking pool, so I worked on that for a bit. I didn't feel the need to repeat any of the previous steps. I was too comfortable. I soaked for about an hour, and then laid in one of their loungers and read for another 45 minutes.
Everyone I encountered at the bathhouse was very kind and polite. A couple of people came through the house every once in a while to push water off the floor. That was appreciated, since it was getting pretty wet in there and water was pooling up.
They provided fruit-infused water in the bathhouse. The showers had EO bath products, which was nice. They encourage you to bring your own toiletries if you want. I did, but didn't end up using them because it was too much of a hassle to go back and forth between the bathhouse and the locker room. Plus, the EO products smelled so lovely. Outside of the locker room, there was a co-ed sink/vanity area where I applied my skincare and body lotion after my final rinse. I purchased a Zeal Kombucha (locally made in Sacramento) on my way out.
Overall, the yoga class and massage were more intense than relaxing for me, but I really enjoyed both. They felt cathartic after a long stretch of tension and stress. The warm soaking pool was my favorite and definitely the highlight of my day. That was the big relaxation experience I needed. I would like to go back with Ian or some friends because I kind of felt self-conscious doing the experience alone, but that was probably my anxiety. Also, I'm not used to spending that much time out alone. I really did enjoy my experience at Asha Urban Baths, and I look forward to coming back! Single visits are $25, which I think is pretty affordable for a "once every couple of weeks" kind of thing. I'd love to bring Ian back so we can relax and de-stress together after a long week of work.
Have you been to Asha Urban Baths before? Or a bathhouse, for that matter?
By the way, if you're looking to take a couple of days off to relax or re-energize, I highly recommend the Friday - Monday long weekend. A lot of people take Thursday & Friday off, or Monday & Tuesday... but by taking Friday & Monday off, you get 2 consecutive 4-day work weeks, with a 4- day mini vaca in-between. Five stars, would take again.