Other good (better!) resources:
High Benches (3 levels)!
One of the first things an observant visitor will notice about saunas in Finland (and elsewhere) is they almost universally have at least 3 benches or levels above the floor. This gets the foot bench or foot platform above the Cold Zone (approx lower third) which is critical to even head to toe temps/steam and avoiding the dreaded ‘cold toes’.
Many of these foot benches/platforms are not above the stones though. With some high tower heaters this is not as important for even temperatures (so long as above the cold zone). One thing they found though is that these still weren’t as good of an experience as higher benches. Thanks in part to research by Lassi Liikkanen they’ve learned that the problem appears to be that the steam still doesn’t go down below perhaps 8” above the top of the stones so saunas’s like these that were growing in popularity are becoming less popular.
Note also the fresh air supply vents directly above the stoves. Most (or all) of those with electric heaters will also have a mechanical exhaust from below the platform.
In Finland you’ll never (or extremely rarely) see people spread out like this. They’ll all be sitting on the upper bench where the good even heat and humidity is in the löyly pocket. You will see people sitting on various levels in a German Aufguss but that’s different than a sauna.
For Hot Yoga some slide away benches like this might work. Each does have a vertical along the back for rigidity that becomes a skirt for the bench above.
Russian Banya Ovens:
A Banya ‘oven’ is somewhat different from a sauna stove. Two key differences are that a Banya oven produces constant steam for higher humidity and radiant heat is more accepted or even expected.
Traditional banya ovens such as this one are typically quite large. This results in a more even and comfortable radiant heat on bathers.
Modern electric banya ovens are much smaller and somewhat similar in size to sauna stoves. Note that similar to the traditional banya oven, the stones are not exposed. There is a tank that can be filled with water to produce constant steam and there is also an option to pour a ladle of water in to a cup on top that produces a burst of steam.
These are designed to allow for some radiant heat but not as much as the larger banya ovens since they are smaller and more point-source. These look somewhat like a heat storing sauna stove but these are designed to radiate heat rather than store heat for long periods.
A couple of sections of traditional and modern banya ovens.
Below is a newer banya oven that is somewhat of a cross between a regular modern banya oven and a sauna stove. It includes a pipe for constant water to the lower stones but also has an open stone cavity. Bathers can turn the water off and instead throw water on to the stones for more of a sauna-like experience.
This oven design looks like it will produce much less radiant than most Banya ovens I’ve seen. This perhaps to allow for a more sauna-like experience than a typical Banya oven with greater radiant will allow.