Oasis tank again. Though it was easier to relax this time, I’ve decided I prefer the Deep Ocean tank. It will be interesting going back and comparing the two styles, now that I am more comfortable with this wonderful therapy. I felt like I relaxed much more deeply in this tank, my deepest float. But, the feeling of the edges on my feet in this style tank really bugs me, in a disturbing way that disrupts my float just enough for me to make a decision. It is the strangest thing to notice. I think it’s a combination of being incredibly aware of any touch sensation in the tank and then my feet being simultaneously highly sensitive and desensitized from years of dance; two times during this float, I jolted to alertness at the feeling of my foot touching the flapping edges in this style tank. I prefer the smooth edges of the deep ocean tank, decidedly. The feeling of calm afterwards is consistent with both styles of tanks for me, but if I have to choose, it’s the taller one I prefer for the overall experience. I was glad this wasn’t a longer float. After each time my feet touched the edge I was slightly disrupted, I simply allowed myself to move around a little, played with movement, got myself to the top part of the tank, near my head and found stillness again. When moving, I love how slowly you can move in this state. A couple times, because I was moving so slowly, I felt as if the water had more density to it, like it became more of a gelatinous fluid than water. Fun playing with movement in this float. And, then the stillness and just my heartbeat moving the water…I love that place. At the end of this float I found myself meditating in an interesting position: hands over head, palms together; feet together as well, legs in a diamond shape. I tried to maintain this position with as little effort as possible. Fun. Lovely.
FLOAT 3, May 23, 2013:
Very different float…..many contributing factors.
I went to my 11 p.m. float right after a milonga, a formal tango dance. I danced for nearly two hours, with little rest. I am always super keyed up after tango, and wondered how this would be, right afterwards. Purposefully experimented with the timing of my float in this way. I think I was hoping it would be a nice contrast – the frenzy and passion of tango followed by the nothingness in the tank. In truth I was restless for a long time into this float, and in moments throughout. The longer float time felt long, too long almost. But, there were other factors too…
This was my first float in an Oasis tank, supposedly wider, definitely not tall like the Deep Ocean tank. My initial reaction upon seeing the tank was not pleasant. It’s reminiscent of a space pod, long enough for a human, and with a hatch style door that has to be closed as you climb into the tank backwards. Even though the spaciousness felt the same once I was in the darkness and ears submerged, I had to remind myself not to think of the smallness of the area I was contained in. At this point I think I prefer the more spacious, taller tank, but I am still willing to give the space pod more trials. Constant reminding to relax during this float. Often, gentle pulling of my hair to relax my neck, release tension.
The first hour, it seemed (difficult to tell time in there), was full of tango song after tango song in my head. Songs from the previous night’s milonga, songs my mind is most familiar with, song after song. I liked this, found myself smiling about it. I had several moments of wanting more of my leg muscles submerged in this float, which is not easily accomplished when you’re so buoyant. So, I found myself turning at the waist to submerge one thigh at a time. You can’t roll over, it’s amusing. I also noticed, you can’t really turn your head. Although somehow I did get some saltwater in my eyes this time. Not sure how, but I seemed to have awakened at one point and realized my eyes were open. And, then as I opened them wide, they were stinging. I wondered what time it was. I wondered if I could wait until the music started playing…I sat up and waited a few moments, closing my eyes and opening them. Every time I opened them they stung a little bit more. I found my way to the door and pushed it open. There is a nice salt lamp that glows amber in the darkness of this room. I only used this light to shower off my face, my eyes. I resisted the urge to check my cell phone for the time, wanting more so to be submerged again because despite the differences of this float experience, the calm was already ensuing. Once I was back in, it didn’t take long at all, not even a minute to be near motionless, to be so still. I drifted again….my body wanted to sleep now, but there was a lingering restlessness in this float. Despite the restlessness, I was able to find timelessness. I was able to soar through space. My mind did find the nothingness eventually. And yet, for all that I enjoyed in this float, it also felt long….
Upon waking, or coming into realization, the last time there was a clear voice in my head that said, it’s time to get up, your body is done. Intuition was loud and clear. I sat up and didn’t hesitate much in getting out, carefully of course. The return to gravity dictates slow and careful movements. After slipping off the salt I did rummage through my purse and checked my phone. Sure enough, my time was up and my music began. Funny. Trippy.
FLOAT 2, May 20, 2013:
Float number 2 was clouded somewhat by an injury I sustained yesterday. It was still wonderful and highly therapeutic, but I was aware of some certain differences in this float, again though, having to do with the heightened sense of feel…
Some background: Sunday morning I was doing some gardening and a fairly low rock wall collapsed underneath my footing and though I mostly got out of the way, I didn’t get away before a small boulder bit my ankle – ouch! Must have hit a nerve on the bone because it was numb and immobile initially. After some TLC to the surrounding muscles and bones from my loving partner and myself, it felt fine and I walked on it a bit and determined it could wait for ice (in retrospect, it probably would have been better to ice it right away, but whatever – it was clearly in that rush of adrenaline mode coursing with endorphins), so I kept working on it. It really did feel fine until….I stopped moving. Then it just wanted to be immobile and up and iced, so I did. I was looking forward to my early morning float.
I woke with a better ankle, but it was tender. Another Deep Ocean tank. I do like this style, but am excited to see the Oasis style too. Washed off and rinsed my hair, turned off the light and happily entered the darkness, the quiet. Once again noticing I don’t like my head near the boarder, which is probably another reason I like floating with my hands outstretched above my head. Without gravity, the whole spine elongates, it’s lovely. Since my last float, I’ve been keenly aware of gravity, particularly if my arms are above my head when I’m lying down. I definitely did not sleep this time. I think because I was focused on the healing process in my ankle, my awareness was heightened. I kept finding places in my body to relax. I still thoroughly enjoyed the flying through space feeling, the complete weightlessness, the still, the quiet, only my heartbeat. But, it felt too short this time. When the music began to play, I wasn’t ready. I reluctantly sat up, reminded myself to be glad for the session and began the post float cleaning ritual.
Now that it’s later and some time has passed today, my ankle is remarkably better I can see why athletes – dancers – would especially cherish this therapy.
And, now the ensuing calm….
FLOAT 1, May 14, 2013:
Whoa. What a great experience! I just finished my first float and it was lovely. I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly my muscles relaxed in the buoyancy of the water. Time is insignificant in there but it seemed I felt a full body release within just five minutes, and I smiled. Being cut off from sight and sound made me accutely aware of my other senses, smell and feel. There is little smell in there so feelings were very hightened and I allowed myself to explore the tank with my hands and even with my feet sometimes. Because it was my first float and I wanted to make sure I could relax into it. For me, this meant knowing where my boundaries were so I could then forget about them. I recently had the wonderful opportunity to sleep in the forest for several hours and I was wondering how this experience would compare. I loved how contrasting the experience was. In the forest, in Nature, I was incredibly stimulated, even though I was relaxed. In the tank, there is no sensory stimulus, except for the body awareness of course, but that goes away after some time and I imagine as one becomes more familiar with the sensation. I enjoyed this juxtoposition and was mindful of it for some time while I was in there. I experiemented with different hand positions (at the suggestion of the very helpful staff) noticing how my body position changed slightly. I loved floating with my arms outstretched over my head. When there is gravity, this is not a comfortable position to lie in for too long because it stresses the shoulder joints. But, in the buoyant water, it was incredibly comfortable and I loved the sensation of flying through space even though I was barely moving. At one point, and this is where time became completely irrelevant, I did become incredibly still, and all I could feel was the way my heartbeat moved the water underneath me. I could feel the water moving on my back to the rhythm of my heart, and smiled… I loved the sense of connectedness to my self and at the same time the feeling of being very small and insignificant – the same feeling I’ve had when at the edge of vastness – the ocean, large landscapes of the Earth that have existed long before humans. There is a connectedness to the Universe feeling in that space. I loved the sensation of not knowing whether my eyes were open or closed, and then at some point I thought my eyes had adjusted to the dark, but it was only my mind’s eye producing a picture of the ceiling. It looked like I was in a space ship, or something; I could see a pattern on the ceiling, but there is no pattern on the ceiling in the tank. And it seemed there was a luminescence coming from beneath me, or around me. This also made me smile. Once I realized it was something my mind was producing it slipped away and became dark again and I was flying through vast areas of space. The luminescence came and went for the rest of my float. I really enjoyed that. I slipped in and out of dreams, it seemed, but I don’t know if I ever really slept. Difficult to say with the obliviousness of time. I’m looking forward to my subsequent floats…