It all started with this idea that maybe if I went and floated in a sensory deprivation tank, I would be able to calm my mind.
The stress, anxiety and self-deprecating thoughts would somehow float away while I lay there naked in the dark.
I know, it seems weird and maybe a little TMI, but it turned out to be an experience, unlike anything I’ve ever done.
Let’s break it down. What is floating and why should you do it?
I went to Float Space in Kelowna to float for my first time. Like I mentioned above, I had been wanting to try it, but I was always a bit scared because I can be claustrophobic and being still with my thoughts alone for an hour seemed a bit too real for me.
Float Space says floating (or Floatation-REST (Restricted Environmental Stimuli Technique/Therapy) is achieved by super-saturating around 10-inches of skin-temperature water with enough Epsom salt that you can float effortlessly on the surface of the solution.
And yes, you really do float.
I didn’t think I would float because I never ever float while I’m swimming. I’m more of a sinker. But, surprisingly, once I let my arms go by my side, my body was floating effortlessly. It felt like the magic was beginning.
I arrived the evening of my float never being inside the location before and as soon as I opened the door I felt this calmness drift over me. The sound of the ambient music floated through the space like it was coming from nature. I was the only client at the time, so I spent some time looking around the lounge area at the front before I was greeted by Will, an employee at Float Space.
Will was extremely kind and helpful. I told him I had never floated before and I wanted to try it because at the time I was taking my social media detox and I needed to calm my mind.
He told me he actually deleted his social media a long time ago and we discussed the changes that living without social media has on a person. We also touched on how meditation and yoga go hand in hand with the feelings that floating gives a person.
Will took me to my floating room, which was Room 2 – Oasis Float Tank, I do believe.
He explained to me that I had to take a shower before floating and had to rub this pre-float soap over my body. Then, he showed me what I was going to do once I was in the tank. He turned the lights down and left the room.
This was the beginning… I was alone with my thoughts and my racing mind for one hour. It doesn’t seem like a lot… One episode of a TV show, or a couple chapters of a book, but in the silence, alone, I thought every minute would drag on.
I undressed, showered and slowly stepped into the tank. The water was skin temperature, the tank was dark and I used my hands to guide me into the middle of the tank. I let go, tilted my head back like Will told me to do, placed my hands above my head and started to relax.
After a couple of minutes, I got used to the darkness, the quiet hum of nothingness and my mind ended up turning off. It surprised me that in that moment, it was like my mind knew I needed to take a timeout.
I shut my eyes and I started this silent meditation and started to slowly drift into a sleeping state. That’s common I’m told. If you’re tired and you’re floating, it’s easy to fall asleep. You obviously need to sleep if your body is telling you to shut your eyes.
When I woke up from this sleeping state, I did for a second feel claustrophobic. I forgot where I was because I felt so at ease and sleeping came so natural to me that when I woke up and realized I was floating naked in a huge covered tank. In that moment, I felt like I needed to get out. I needed to see a bit of light.
For a couple of seconds, I struggled to find the opening of the tank. But once I found it, I allowed myself to open the tank, see the light and then I closed it again.
I managed to fall back into the floating zen again before my time was finished.
In the end, it felt like I was in there for an hour, but the hour also seemed to pass by in the blink of an eye. I stepped out of the tank once I heard music and my water started to turn over like it does in a hot tub.
I showered again and dressed. Once I stepped outside of the room, the waiting room was packed full of people waiting for their turn to relax, shut off and be together with themselves.
I said goodbye to Will, put on my shoes and walked out back into the busy, loud city we live in.
While I was floating I felt like I was spinning clockwise extremely fast. I wasn’t of course because when I would open my eyes, I was in the exact same spot as when I shut my eyes. Apparently, this is normal. Since my senses were dulled, the darkness and my brain were creating their own stimuli.
In my hour of floating, I experienced the deepest meditation I’ve ever done. I felt raw, vunerable, yet so at ease and peaceful. It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve ever floated, you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Now when the world seems to be going too fast, or the noise is too much for my ears, I crave getting into that tank, undressing and allowing myself to be still. The stillness is something I’ve grown to need.
Have you ever tried to float? I would recommend each and every one of you Kelowna residents to let your walls down and step into a float tank at Float Space. Your mind, body and spirit will thank you.