Written by: The Intern
Wondering about what to expect floating in a sensory deprivation tank for the first time? Whether it was from watching Altered States or coming across a Joe Rogan video, they piqued your interest. As an intern here, I've had the privilege to float a few times in the centre. This article is from my own personal experience that I want to share with fellow first time floaters. Besides the obvious things, such as the fact that you'll be isolated from everything, there are certain experiences that you should expect and know about to make your floating experience more comfortable :)
- Welcome all the thoughts that will come rushing in to your head.
You may experience jitteryness. But that's okay. If you've been thinking about going in the float tank for a while now, I'm guessing you have tried meditation. I'll be the first one to say I could not sit still meditating. Being someone who's 20, raised in this generation of social media and being bombarded with distractions, sitting still without your smartphone by your side, trying to quiet your mind was a hellish experience. Floating, compared to meditation, was a better experience for me because I could not take anything with me in the tank. For once, you have an experience where you're completely cut off from the world.
Your mind may start to wander, get into a daydreaming zone, where thoughts start flying in, and feel a little jittery. You'll ask yourself, "why do I have so many thoughts in my head?". This is perfectly fine. I'm no scientist, but I interpret this wandering as thoughts my mind has pent up inside a pressure cooker, and they're finally being given an outlet to express themselves. In fact, there's an article in Psychology Today that day dreaming promotes creativity. Whether you're an athlete thinking about the pressures of the next game, a researcher worrying about grant proposals, a freelance designer wondering what skills you can add to differentiate yourself, a mom trying to just deal with the day-to-day pressures of raising kids, or maybe just simply wondering what's for dinner, we are all human beings that go through many ups and downs which contribute to all the thoughts you have.
In the 4 times I have floated so far, acknowledging the anxiety and welcoming the thoughts has been key to going to the deeper phase of the float session. It's when the water stops feeling like water, and feels like the closest thing you'll experience to floating in mid air.
2. Stretch and Loosen tension in the body and find your breath.
If you know you have any tight spots, stretch and massage them out. Toronto Float Tanks does offer a Thump and Float, where they use a thumper massage machine that really helps loosen your body. My third float was where I was put through the thumper, and also instructed to find my breath by breathing deep into my body. The third float was by far the most unique float I've had so far, and I believe the breathing and the massage played a big role in that. If you take Yoga, or do dynamic breathing exercises, I recommend you engage in those activities prior to coming in for a float, as it will enhance your floating experience.
3. Don't expect Life's Answers to Come Flooding In.
I know, especially if you've heard a lot of Joe Rogan's experiences on float tanks, you're probably hoping to meet some kind of deity, or your life's mission in the float tank. I was hoping this would happen to me. You must understand that with anything, including floating, there is a learning curve of sorts where you have to ease in to the experience, just like anything else. Joe has a float tank in his house, which he says he's been using once a week for years now. He's had a great amount of time to really ponder and think about his life in the tank. If you're looking to find more about yourself, expect to invest more time in tank after your first float.
Personally, I have had one unique moment that I didn't experience prior to my float. Out of nowhere, my mind asked, "why do I crave for attention at this very moment and what is causing it?". I have asked questions like this about myself, where it was different was I did a deeper mental analysis where I could quickly pinpoint, "aha, this is where you cause trouble for yourself". It may seem trivial that this is the question that came out of my floating experience, but it marked the beginning process of breaking down this ego that I wasn't as aware about.
Just wrapping up this article, to enjoy an optimal first float session, embrace the thoughts that come into your head, relax your body through stretching, massage, and breathing and lastly, don't expect miracles to land on your lap.
Happy Floating :)