With the stresses of life on my shoulders and the rapid pace of existence, I walked into the Yoga facility where I would experience my first “float” as they call it, and I felt entirely out of place. The pressures of daily life, the thoughts speeding through my head, and the loud music I play at the gym, I’m not accustomed to a relaxed environment and the yoga facility was eery in a way. Not being used to the quiet and a serene feelings it gave, I felt as if I did not belong here. The smells of relaxing fragrances and a peaceful calm of the gentlemen at the front desk set the tone for what would be an amazing experience inside the tank.
The owner of the Yoga facility gave me a tour of the facility, a breakdown of the floating experience, and would show me exactly what I had to do. A faint light of amber color with a very minimalist style decor, much like a room for meditation, the float room is beautiful and the effects of the beauty are felt right away as you begin to relax before you even get into the tank.
When you go to float in the tank, the first thing you need to do is take a shower to remove as much of the body’s natural oil as possible. Once the shower is over you head over to the tank and step inside. The tank looks like a coffin. White on the outside with a greater height in the front where the door is as it narrows down towards the feet, still roughly 2 or 3 feet tall at the back end. Smooth, no decor, with a door that you enter as you step in with one foot followed by the next. As you stand in the tank you can feel what seems like warmth but is actually skin temperature. The water feels almost slimy and thick as it’s filled with over 800 pounds of Epsom Salt. When both of the feet are in the tank you squat down and gently sit in the water. The high salt content makes you float instantly when you let the pressure go so you need to be slightly careful as you close the door behind you.
Once inside it is as black as the room appears when you go to sleep at night and close your eyes. In fact, when inside, you can open your eyes and close your eyes and tell no difference. Open eyes is like they are not even open. The first of many tricks the mind plays. As you close the door and lay down you float and in the beginning, or my first time, you move back and forth a lot before settling into a peaceful stillness.
The first time I was in the tank my muscles reacted in violent spasms that were uncontrollable, signaling my tense muscles letting go of the stress held within. Since you wear earplugs to prevent the salt water from getting into them you really can’t hear much of anything, but there were a few sounds I heard. Every joint in my body was cracking as I moved to find out what position I’d like my arms to rest at. You can either put them straight down to the side, on your chest with fingers locked or unlocked, or you can extend them over your head. My first time inside the tank I couldn’t decide. As I moved constantly the joints cracked more and more and the spasms became quick and frequent.
Many people float to release stress, some go to heal injuries, others go to detoxify, and a few go for the meditation like state you are in when you let go inside the tank. For me, I chose to go to release stress, heal my knee, and visit my spiritual self. Again, during the first time, I could not let go of my mind and thoughts as I tried to just be one with myself and meditate. I kept thinking about the spasms, the cracking, did I or didn’t I hear something, was someone going through my wallet and phone as I was inside, was there a camera watching me float naked, was my time up? Time goes right out the window when inside the tank. The man told me I had 70 minutes and once the time was up the water would begin to move. I should have clarified what he meant because as I floated and moved, the water moved, and every few minutes I thought my time was up because it was moving. When the time is through it’s like a hot tub stream of pressure that is unmistakable for the end of the float session.
Even though my mind was going 100 miles an hour inside the tank and I felt like I couldn’t relax, my body told me different as I exited the tank. After my first session I felt like I had slept for 8 hours and I had this calm peacefulness to my mind and body. Outside I noticed the cars driving here and there and how I knew exactly what the driver was thinking. He or she was rushing to get to where they had to go with a mind full of the future, but in that moment I was different. The only thing I cared to think about was how awesome right here and right now felt.
The second time I went floating I was very anxious to get inside with my plan of letting go completely with nothing running through my mind. How silly. When you’re all alone in a dark chamber with nothing to do besides stay still it is extremely hard NOT to think. My mind continued to fly through the thoughts of the past, present, and what I perceived the future would be. And then something weird happened. The water started moving notifying me my time was up, but.. Did I fall asleep? I had to have, I thought at the moment, but only until a couple days ago did I realize I wasn’t asleep but I was in the deepest meditative trance of my life. Once I got out and took a shower I felt angry, like someone waking up from a 10 minute nap who truly needed 40 minutes. But if I wasn’t sleeping, why was I angry?
This last time in the tank a week or so ago was definitely the best time I’ve had inside. My body was ready for the float, no spasms, no joints cracking, no nervousness or planned expectations. Just me, my deprived senses, and the now. A couple of moments from the past were replayed in my head as I drifted through space and several “aha” moments about my career, my purpose, the gym, and my family were shown to me through what I believe has to be my subconscious mind. Glimpses of things not to do and what really lies beneath the surface of who I am. Lost in time, floating through space, stress free and ultimately limitless in thought. Again it felt like a brief moment inside I may have fallen asleep but it was the trance you to seek when meditating or floating. An escape from everything in reality with visions of the true nature of self. No lies, no conformity, no laws or regulations. Just you and your spirit self floating into the fray, growing, bonding, enjoying our destiny as it should be enjoyed.
Floating is no longer about relaxation or stress relief. It’s more, it’s about finding my true inner self and bringing it out to live the existence it’s been fighting 31 years to live. There is something much more than our ego inspired lives and it’s hiding right under our noses. We feel it. We fight for it and become emotional over it without even truly knowing what it is. Inside the tank, you feel the truth behind all of it.