One hour of floating in a dark tank full of extremely salty water. Why the heck would I do that? Why not!? I first heard about this practice from my favorite morning talk show Good Mythical Morning. They tried it on their show and it seemed interesting. An hour of depriving your senses. I did some research and found that these tanks are specially designed to minimize sensory stimulation. The water is salted with epsom salt so that you float on your back effortlessly. The water is kept at your external body temperature so that you don’t feel warm or cold. The air in the tank is gently circulated to maintain a comfortable environment and it is pitch black so you see absolutely nothing. The idea is to lay there motionless for an hour and do NOTHING!
A couple weeks after doing my research I found a deal on Living Social or Groupon for half price for a Yoga Studio near my work. Perfect! Let’s do this!
I arrived late and in a rush because I was cutting into my session. After filling out a waiver I used the restroom to make sure I didn’t have to worry about digestive sensations while depriving my senses. I then got a brief orientation which described what to do if I got salt in my eyes, how they would alert me when the hour was over which was gentle music in the water for the last 5 minutes. I was also instructed to take a shower before and after the float.
I had done my research so I didn’t really have any questions so I was left in my private room took a quick shower, climbed into the tank and closed the door. Now what? Just lay there. Find a comfortable position and let yourself settle in.
For the first few minutes I tried to relax and I tried to focus on breathing and letting my shoulders relax. After about 5 minutes I started to notice my breath. It was abnormally loud. Like really loud. I wasn’t breathing hard. I was really calm and relaxed but the only thing happening in the tank was me breathing so it was very noticeable. Very, very noticeable. So I started to just listen to my breathing which is a popular meditation technique for becoming present.
I lost track of time but I will say that at one point I got bored and broke from my motionless state and tried sitting up. It was amazing that I could lift my upper body out of the water while still floating. I would estimate that for the last 10 minutes I was pretty much ready to get out but I just waited for the relaxing music to start. It wasn’t that I wasn’t enjoying the experience but I was ready to get home.
I think this practice is needed in our society of overstimulation. For example, as I type this post I have 2 browsers open with 3 tabs each. One browser is playing a netflix video! You are likely in need of some sensory deprivation. Do you “need” to float in a tank to deprive your senses? Probably not but it definitely works.