I just had the most delicious, relaxing experience. I floated for 90 minutes in a warm bath held up by over 800 pounds of Epsom salts and my breath. This experience was brought to me by Halcyon Floats in Roxborough, http://www.halcyonfloats.com, a sensory-deprivation float tank spa. I seized upon this opportunity via a Groupon and it was well worth the drive and the numerous Groupon emails following my purchase.
Here are some of my experiences, and if at all intrigued, maybe someday, you will get your float on too. First of all the 90 minutes flew by. It really felt like 30 to 45 minutes. The end of the session was signaled by melodic, soothing music flowing into the tank, with its volume slowly increasing. I harbored a little fear going in as I am not keen on small spaces. With only two tanks at this spa, the attendant was able to give us individual attention and instructions on how to float, which eased my anxiety.
I guided my body into the tub slowly, keeping the low lights on until I could get my bearings. Then came the moment where I turned off all of the lights – complete darkness. Only once, a little well of fear rose up in me but otherwise, I was calm. For me, it was a very physical experience. I didn’t go too deep into a meditative state but think with continued practice, that could be the case. Hey Rome was not built in a day. Think back how we came into our Restorative practice. So my attention was on the sensation of not holding my body up and that every breath that I took created enough vibration to gently move my body and the water surrounding me. That was so cool! To notice that nothing in ourselves stands alone, one part of our being affects another part of our being and even the surrounding environment. This is our energy at work.
I tried different arm positions to find the best one for me. With arms overhead, I didn’t feel the area of tension in my shoulders and neck but I wasn’t completely comfortable. I changed the arms to my side and that is when I noticed those areas. With the rest of the body relaxed and my thoughts quiet, those places of unrest had a chance to show themselves. I then tried the neck pillow and that is when I felt my knots unravel and I had the deepest experience. I think that I may have drifted off to LaLa land a few times but felt completely safe in the 10″ of water. Several times I found myself drifting into one of the walls following maybe a body movement or a deeper breath. The tub is an ample size, with the dimensions of 5 ft. by 9 ft. and a 4 ft. clearance above you.
At one point, I heard something drop into the water (turned out to be the water bottle used to wash out any salt in the eyes). I didn’t know what it was but I imagined that it was a snake or an eel but I really didn’t care, as I was so relaxed. I really was able to stay present to what was going on and not drift to chatter in the mind. Thoughts rose and fell away like the waves of my breath and the gentle warm waves of the water.
How did I know that I was relaxed? Well, visualize a Friday evening drive on the Schuykill Expressway and the Blue Route. That just spells stress and steering wheel griping. I did not experience that at all. I kept sending my fellow commuters love and driving along whistling a happy tune. I was alert, calm, at peace. Thumbs up guys!
Seated Centering with Thumbs
Benefits: opens the hips and groin facilitating blood and energy flow to the urinary tract, digestive and reproductive organs. Relaxes the back and releases tension in the neck. Centering for transitioning to your practice.
Props: bolster, 3 blankets or blocks (firm cushions and pillows are always an option) and one extra blanket for warmth.
Legs up Wall Variation
Props: 1 bolster, blankets, neck roll
Benefits: drains fluid from the legs, releases pelvic floor, chest and shoulder opener, back of legs get a gentle stretch.