Adventure, Wander Breathe It In: Salt Caves Offer a New Kind of Spiritual Practice These cool, quiet spaces make for a relaxing and meditative environment, and proponents of salt caves claim there are health benefits, too By Elizabeth Crisci I have always found immense benefit in seeking new experiences. I believe when we step outside of our usual patterns, we open to growth. You can step outside of habit by biking to work, traveling someplace new, taking that cooking class you’ve always wanted to, or checking out a new physical or spiritual practice. As part of my lust for fresh experiences, I recently attended a relaxation session in a salt cave. Salt caves are rare in the United States, but are becoming more abundant. These salt rooms or caves mimic the naturally occurring salt caves of Eastern Europe. Some are laden with lounge chairs and flat screen TVs, others more medical in nature, and others still provide a more zen-like experience encouraging meditative quiet among small groups of people. As a part of my practice of experiencing new things, I made an appointment and brought a friend along to the Saltana Caves in Ridgefield, CT, a short drive from my home. We skipped the coffee and headed to our session mid-morning on a Sunday. The salt room itself was a soft, glowing pink and just a bit cool. A small group of us each found a zero-gravity chair and a blanket and settled in for the 45 minute relaxation session. A short recording came on expounding on the benefits of halotherapy (breathing salted air). Enthusiasts claim that salt therapy can heal ails from eczema to asthma. While there have been very few studies done on the benefits of halotherapy, there is much anecdotal evidence and a tradition of using salt caves for healing. My experience of this session was deeply relaxing. The room was cool but comfortable, and I appreciated the silence and quiet space for meditation. There was an almost tangible quality to the air in the salt room that felt similar to being at the beach, except clearer. My friend said she tasted salt the entire time; but, as a long time sufferer of asthma and allergies, she did feel some relief from the clean, salty air. With only one experience under my belt, I can hardly claim to be an expert on salt caves. I can say that I plan to go back and explore this curious self-care practice again. My session was an opportunity to relax, meditate on my breath, and observe subtlety within myself. My experience was only heightened because it was new. This is the benefit of new experiences; they bring us back into focus, and bring us closer to ourselves. Photo courtesy of Saltana Caves. — Elizabeth Crisci is a yoga teacher and artist in Fairfield County, Connecticut. She is the creator of Love by E, handmade gemstone mala and jewelry. She teaches in workshops, special events, and trainings in the Northeast in addition to a range of regular, weekly classes. She teaches smart and accessible yoga designed to make you feel good. She loves every minute of her work. You can find her writing and her teaching schedule on her website.