- Hello, how are you doing?
ONDREJ: Actually, we created an international project “RESTART SAUNA WELLNESS (RSW)” where we connect the people, companies and associations strike by closing due to Coronavirus.
YVAN: Actually, I am doing fine. I work and in my free time when needed, I get in touch with Ondrej for a talk. We stay in contact with the people who follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
At this moment, there are no sauna activities so we try to be creative in what we do.
- Let us travel in time. Your lives before SaunaWizards?
ONDREJ: It was time when I was recruit in sauna world.. I had a part time job as sauna master in one small sauna company in Czech. The rest of time I was focused on art career in several theatres in Prague. Just a few people in our country had knowledge about sauna trends in the world. I was excited by the magic of sauna. I was hungry to learn a lot. The sauna is part of my destiny.
YVAN: I do sauna for some 35 years now. Before SaunaWizards there has always been sauna in my life. Many years I did visit saunas as a visitor. „Mens sana in corpore sano” a healthy mind in a healthy body has always been something important to me. Doing sports and then visiting saunas did help me to achieve that…
- The beginning.. What was the need to create SaunaWizards and why?
ONDREJ: I think that every story or wish to do something needs people with common vision or passion. We missed something together in our local saunas and we had a strong wish to create. The idea of connecting different people from different parts of the world was like a giant task. We realised that without an audience like sauna people there is no place for sauna art. Therefore, we are motivated to bring to people the best that we can. Humans just need stamina and faith. You cannot buy it by money…
YVAN: I think the idea did start some 5 years ago, but as it is now in the structure of SaunaWizards, it is some 3 years. The reason and the need to create it came on request from the people in the sauna. Let’s say our followers. People did ask more and more, how can we follow you? What is your next destination? In what sauna you will make aufguss. For us now, it is a good way to stay in contact with our followers..
- There is some exclusive story behind SaunaWizards name, how did you created it? We wish to hear it ☺
ONDREJ: It is very simple, but find the name lasted more than half a year. One day I had a talk with my friend Jiri Marek who is a professional illusionist and has shows in theatre and on TV in Czech Republic. When I explained to him our goals of the project we realised that what the actors, musicians, illusionists and sauna masters do is magical. That is why SaunaWizards.
YVAN: SaunaWizards name? That was a difficult one. For many months we did brainstorm together for a name. I remember that even during an aufguss weekend with a group of some 20 people we did talk about possible names. With a lot of fun and drinking some beers, we found many names. However, not a name we did like. I think after six month Ondrej contacted me and proposed the word SaunaWizards. It is a combination of two words – sauna and Wizard. The word wizard is standing for what we bring in the sauna. It can be a classical or aufguss show with special effects. So in our thoughts we bring Magic in the sauna. A kind of „healthy“ Wizards. We did agree very fast that our name would become SaunaWizards. We still like our name a lot. In addition, our motto is „Feel the Magic in the Air“. 😉
- Your first event. It was Farris bad – 2017 March? Is the most important one?
ONDREJ: Farris Bad is a very important place for our adventure. There was a time where our thoughts came true. We make a travel book from every sauna adventure on our official web www.saunawizards.com, where we describe our experiences. Every step is important. Every client is important. Every event stays in our hearts.
YVAN: All the events are important to me, from the smallest to the biggest. It is always something special. However, one thing very important is the audience, the people in the sauna. At that moment, they come to see you, and that always gives a very special feeling! My personal first event was in 2013. Some 7 years ago and I did many events so far. However, with Ondrej, yes that was 2017 (Farris Bad, Norway) our first event together. People can read about the complex and the experience we had during that weekend www.saunawizards.com.
- You made many artistic sauna performances. Which one was the most difficult?
ONDREJ: This year we had a premiere project “LOTR” on Tolkien’s trilogy Lord of the ring motives. Preparation was intensive and technology has been found in pc programs like sound, light and costumes. The text and choreography discussed by phone and video call. We had just two days to make try-out in sauna in Norway. Then you have to be concentrated on a high level.
YVAN: All artistic aufguss are in one or another way difficult. Sometimes it takes months of preparations before I am satisfied. It is about the topic, music, storyline, use of essential oils, costumes, light scrips, solo or team aufguss, material, training… The more years you are inside creating that kind of artistic sauna performances, the higher you put your goals. It just needs to be good. Sometimes you need to do it alone and sometimes you make it in a team. Personally, I like to work more in a team. You work then on something together. Team does not mean it is easier, sometimes it is even more difficult. However, at the end you are happy when you can create something together. You can share the passion.
Every aufguss is different, so it always gives a different feeling. Some stay important to me during the years. Solo is my aufguss „Typical Belgium weather“. I’ve been doing this aufguss for more than 6 years and I can still do it with the same passion as the very first time. For the team there are two sessions that are special to me. One is our „Untraditional Banya“. You need to be inside to know what it means. Second is our aufguss „The Minions“. The fun we have in a team with that aufguss gives us every time so much positive energy. Both sessions we perform only during events.
- New things that you want to learn and include into your programme?
ONDREJ: The program is addictive for every one of us. Everyone has a high education in a special one procedure. We are learning from each of us. Yvan and I have a special untraditional banya procedure. It is a unique physical and mental procedure full of fun.
YVAN: What we want to bring more and more to our events are several different sessions.
Classical and show aufguss, smoke rituals, scrubs, meditation sessions, singing bowls session, banya… What we want to bring is quality in every way the people in sauna like the most. Times are changing, so we are changing. Each one in our team specializes in one of the procedures and we share that passion and try constantly to put ourselves on a higher level of knowledge and help each other to achieve that level.
It is a process of many years.
- Where are you getting inspiration from?
ONDREJ: I am looking for inspiration from inspirational work of people around me. One day is a book from my favourite writer, a movie from my childhood or nice smell of essential oils. I am trying to develop myself day by day like a human. I transform my needs for sauna and that helps me and my surroundings to feel good.
YVAN: It is my passion. It comes spontaneously. I like and work with herbs. I hear a song, see a movie, talk with friends and the inspiration comes. A bigger problem is time to create it all. However, is so much satisfaction to create new projects? Every year we plan a big new aufguss. This year it was Lord of The Rings. We loved to perform after a long time of preparation. For 2021, we have the topic also. That is still a big secret ☺
- From 2018 March 23 Farris bad event in social media appeared your very cute friend and SaunaWizards symbol – bear. Why bear? What is his name?
YVAN: SaunaWizards bear. He is cute, he loves sauna, is clever, loves food, water and coffee 😉
He has no special name. He is SaunaWizards bear. He is our symbol that gives advice to people that are visiting saunas. For example, sometimes he says it important to sit on your towel in the sauna with your full body, also the feet. He is also a big fan of using a sauna hat in the sauna!
ONDREJ: We try to bring sauna specialists on our SaunaWizards tour every year. It is not only about Yvan and about me. It’s teamwork. The success of the project is edict on everyone in the group. Most of them are our friends. And new talented sauna masters who are not scared to taste hard sauna-master job during a sauna tour. I used to travel with theatre on international tours like (South America, China and Africa). I would like to involve this experience to our project SaunaWizards. The SaunaWizards are like laboratory. It is the tool to explore new ways, sauna technologies and wellness services.
YVAN: I would say it is about friendship(s), professionalism, teamwork, goals,…
Some 7 years ago, I was a guest sauna master in different wellness complexes all over Europe. Sauna masters, wellness managers, friends,… did see my aufguss during national or international competitions or championships and they did ask me, or in a group with some other sauna masters, to go there for a weekend and bring aufguss at their complexes. At one day, Ondrej did ask me if he could join me on one an event weekend that I had planned for the future. I did say yes and together we did make a first aufguss weekend together at Farris bad in Larvik, Norway.
That weekend was a success and together we did agree to do it once more in another country. It did not end with two times. Now almost 4 years later, we did many events together in different countries. Whenever possible we take new sauna masters with us on tour. Therefore, it is not about us anymore but about a team who share common ideas.
- How does it feel to participate in SaunaWizards events?
ONDREJ: SaunaWizards events has a wide list of tasks. We build our philosophy on professional access to clients and audience. It also includes happy feelings from our satisfied guests. Good things bring good feelings. The feedback from our guests is the energy for our project. It’s the basis of sauna theatre.
YVAN: Always looking forward to the next event and also putting a maximum effort.
We want to bring it well, with passion and good preparation. Therefore, that needs a lot of preparation.
Very important for our concept is the passion in what we do and bring. Also for the friends of sauna masters who join us on tour.
- Which impact SaunaWizards has on you?
ONDREJ: The SaunaWizards give me a new motivation to try something new and cross my borders of the comfort zone.
YVAN: It did change my life. Making new goals, lifetime learning, real friendships, new horizons, believe in yourself, passion. It is a healthy passion.
- How does your free time look like?
ONDREJ: I am trying to stay fit by doing sport activities like running, swimming, pilates and kickboxing. I love listening to podcasts while driving and when I do some usual home cleaning.
YVAN: My free time? Home, gardening, cooking, sport, a good movie, music, reading and learning about plants and everything that makes and keeps us healthy…
- How do you start a daily day?
ONDREJ: I love hot chocolate. So it’s my energy boost for the day.
YVAN: In the morning, I need my coffee. After the coffee all is possible…
- Why is the sauna and all its culture important?
ONDREJ: I am part of sauna culture. I would like to just share my experiences with everyone. When and if our ideas will work it will be great. I learned from the beginning of my career that sauna is historically a social part of many human cultures. The sauna is a place, where we are on the same level. No masks and no roles. We are humans and that is all.
YVAN: I think saunas are a very healthy free time spending place. For me it has always been like that from the first time I did enter a sauna. Last year’s sauna culture is more and more something that is growing and we share more and more international information between different countries. There is still a lot that we can learn from each other in this global wellness world.
- Your plans and dreams?
ONDREJ: We started like no name sauna masters. We are independent non-commercial project of volunteers. Therefore, collaboration with bigger projects and companies would give us more chances to find some potential supporters, who would help us to make our dream real. Everything needs time. YVAN: Doing the same events and performing as we are doing now. Very important is keeping the passion in what we do. Explore more and discover more. So far, we did travel and make our events inside Europe. In the future maybe look further and bring the sauna aufguss passion more global.
- Your wish!
YVAN: Stay healthy and happy. Feel the Magic in the Air.