Have you ever thought about trying sensory deprivation? Well, two weekends ago, I finally got to experience it. It was scary, relaxing, and exhilarating all at the same time. This is my story of trying a flotation tank.
As a regular student of meditation and lover of all things odd, I have wanted to try out a flotation tank for years. This year, my fiance got me a gift card for my birthday. While working full time and running a business, I both desperately needed some relaxation but also have a hard time finding time. So finally, 3 months later, I made my way to the flotation center on a Sunday afternoon.
When I got there the place was in a strip mall next to various shops and restaurants. I walked inside and the young girl at the front desk greeted me by name. She was in a cute outfit with a flow-y top and I thought, wow, what a cool place to work. It smelled a bit of chlorine or some other chemical- I looked it up and apparently some spas use chlorine or bromine and “ozone” or UV light to cleanse after use.
She led me inside and gave me a quick explanation of how it all would work. It was 2:30 when I arrived, then I got a ten minute explanation, a 10 minute shower, 60 minutes in the pod, and a final 10 minute shower. I stood looking at the “pod” which was basically a big white acrylic pool with a lid and two metal bars that could open or close it. Her introduction was probably more like 2 minutes or less because I had no questions and just wanted to get going. She told me about the “help” button, the button to turn on the light and the squirt bottle in case I got salt in my eyes.
When she left I hopped in the shower very quickly, took off my jewelry, and got into the pod. And yes, you do go in NAKED. It is really up to you but if you’re comfortable with it, I highly suggest it. They say it is better for the full meditative experience.
I closed the lid and turned off the light. I will admit I got a little freaked out and had to make sure I was not locked inside. Once I tried the handle a few times and it never failed to open, I begin to feel more comfortable.
When I first got in I was amazed at how easily I could just float around in there. I’m pretty short so I could just spring off from one wall to the other. Who said it all has to be about relaxation? Sometimes adults need to act like children and let loose. So once I was done being a mermaid, I started to try to meditate.
It was incredible, how effortlessly your body was suspended in the water. I was having trouble not stiffening my neck, as the girl warned me I might and then I remembered I was supposed to have ear plugs in. I got out and put them in. I got water in my eyes a few times and it burned! I tried spraying them but ended up going to the sink and washing them out. It happened twice until I fully relaxed and kept my head steady. I laughed it off.
As I relaxed, I began to really feel connected to the water. It was hard to tell where I stopped and the water started. I touched my skin and it was slippery and oh so smooth. I felt like a magical, powerful being in her element.
The nature music started, which meant I had extra time because the girls explanation didn’t take up too much time. The nature music lasted for a few minutes and then it went quiet. I found myself coming in and out of meditation but not trying to force anything out of the experience I was just there to witness myself.
Overall, the journey was beautiful. I do not normally sit for a full hour of mediation but this was unique and different. I felt so at peace and calm.