As John Kirwan says, I am an ‘active relaxer’. What this means, is that I prefer, or have simply gotten into the habit of ‘doing’ something when I have a rare, precious moment of downtime. Relaxing usually does not involve anything comfortable like a couch or a bed – most often it’s my computer stool, it only includes a book occasionally, it never includes yoga or meditation………..in fact, re-reading this, I’m not sure if I ever actually relax anymore!
That can’t be good for a person right? To never actually allow yourself the freedom to do nothing, to forget the time, to not worry about the schedule, the kids, rushing from here to there, lunch, dinner, permission slips, washing………I feel even more worn out after typing that sentence!
Last week, for 90 blissful minutes, I did get to relax.
I was invited to experience floating for the first time at Auckland’s only floatation centre, Float Culture. Aside from seeing some social media discussion around the business when it first opened its doors, I had absolutely no preconceptions about what my experience would be like. All I knew was that after reading online about floating as a form of relaxation I couldn’t wait to try it!
After meeting the super friendly staff I was shown to my appointment room, a sparkling clean, hi-end bathroom with the added feature of a rather large floatation tank! After a quick and easily processed orientation I stripped off and got ready to float.
Things you need to know;
- You shower before and after floating. Everything is provided, right down to the gorgeous Sukin skin and haircare products (I LOVE this brand!), makeup removing wipes and cotton pads + a hair dryer
- A towel is provided
- The door is locked so you can float naked
- The shower is amazing, don’t get distracted, you’re there to float!
As soon as you enter the pod you’re aware of the massive amounts of beneficial Epsom Salts in the water – which is only 30cm deep by the way. After I closed the lid and settled into the pod my legs floated to the surface and I began to appreciate the weightlessness that must be at least somewhat akin to what being in space feels like! The absolute silence and total darkness within the pod combined with the inability to distinguish where the water ends and your body begins makes for perhaps the most total(?) de-stimultaion experience you could ever imagine.
And this is where the benefits begin.
Turning off and tuning out is so, so difficult for me. My mind wandered for a wee bit whilst in the tank, I was told to expect this so I let it go and then I went with it. I was out, or at the very least in such a deep state of relaxation that when I was gently brought back to full consciousness by some soft meditative music I thought it was the next day and I had been asleep for 8 hours!
Amazing. Complete mental and physical relaxation in a super concentrated but easily accessible format. Traditional meditation requires practice and training, something I’ve never had the patience for. Blissfully zoning out in a flotation tank requires no overt effort at all and the benefits are incredible. That night I slept the sleep of my children!
Love, love, loved it.