It's for reasons I won't disclose that I had no access to shorts when I went to Othership, a sauna and cold bath vibey immersive experience. A wise friend told me, however, that no one would care if I just wore my underpants and, furthermore, it would be good for me to get out of my comfort zone. A lack of shorts, she added, sounded a lot like an excuse for spending another night alone eating french fries in a sport's bar. Walking in, I felt edgy but the smile in the sauna I received from a stranger was disarming and the entire experience, a sensory disruption between hot and cold in an elevated environment amongst likeminded, openminded, explorers, felt good—felt amazing.
Othership was opened in February, 2022, a COVID success story built on social connection, that's not just a gym or a nightclub, but kind of combines certain elements of both things. The basic premise is healing and owner Robert Bent wanted to start Othership to create transformative experiences. "As a society, we’re starting to think much more about how much our state of mind impacts not only our physical health, but day-to-day life," he said in a release announcing the opening. Sitting in his sauna while a guide added minerals to the coals and blew them on me with his towel, I blurted out: "What an amazing day I had!"
Here's the thing. Before I went to Othership, my day wasn't actually that good.
Cold plunges have become all the rage this season, and the baths at Othership were certainly cold. I felt my heartbeat speed up upon descension but, again, the same guide from the sauna helped me breath and stay calm and I kept thinking about the mantra from our spring issue: Let that shit go. Let it all go. I closed my eyes and breathed and took in the cold and didn't worry about what I was wearing or who was out there and what, quite frankly, was going to happen—not now, not tomorrow, not ever. I just lay in the cold until the gong chimed, and then pulled myself out, accomplished, and stepped back into the sauna—free of the bullshit I drag around.
In the sauna, go figure, I got another smile. It was like: the world is confusing and judgmental and confounding, but in this secret, tucked away oasis in downtown Toronto, none of that matters. I closed my eyes and lay back on my towel, it didn't matter what came before or what would come after. For the time being, transported, everything was OK.
Othership, founded by Harry Taylor, Amanda Laine, Myles Farmer, Emily Hunter and Robert Bent, is located at 425 Adelaide Street West and has an app for users outside of Toronto. They also host social evenings and guided journeys, and for more information see othership.us.