MAIN POINTS OVER THE MARCH COMMITMENT. Pros, cons, observations, experiences, lessons learnt and applied etc.
– Having come more and more at peace, stillness and surrender with my lifes purpose- my Death has become more familiarized versus unknown and unsettling. The entire life I’ve lived was one (and still is) of FEAR and ANXIETY, PTSD and Mood Disorders. It hasn’t been a simple nor has it been easy for me to regulate and self-regulate with the mainstream society/public. FLOATING daily helped me remove these chronic barriers and spots of tenderness which were scarred from the hardships and conflicts of my life in childhood and adolescence. This is also part of ACCEPTING MY DEATH as a natural and legitimate part of human lifestyle. We come into this world through birth, we live, we die and apparently we rebirth. This SamSara (circle of life) – well FLOATING is very similar for me. As you return to an embryonic state of neutrality, the mind unwires itself from all the patterning it has become accustomed to through life and initially panics.
Through this panic you are forced to either remain a sense of solidity and solitude for the waters to calm, the breath to smooth and the body to fuse with the entire deprivation of senses. This is the turning point where the fight and flight or freeze and submit reactions of the body/mind are enabled or equally disabled. With the consciousness, you can choose to be actively or passively floating. The temperature of the water, your level of energy and the time of day, plus intention for your sessions will drastically influence the states and actions that occur when in your float tank.
As the float progresses past the 20 minute mark, the brain waves are given a chance to dissociate from external stimulus and provide internal access like a motherboard of a CPU or the Matrix. Sometimes I feel this letting go after a few minutes with the pool noodle supported beneath my kidneys so my adrenal glans are slightly stimulated through floatation. As I am quite deficient within my adrenal glans (kidneys) I become highly neutralized and sedated through that noodle under my upper thoracic spine between the rhomboids. Some people may benefit with that noodle under their sacrum or ankles like you would apply a rolled blanket in a Restorative Yoga class! If the neck needs more support simply ask for a neck pillow and this will prevent not just neck seizing and pain, but also less chances of water in the ears, eyes or any other orifice.
You’re pretty much set to Float in the tank, of course you have the new briefing videos to clarify pre float procedures and a Host to guide and ‘host’ your way in and out of the 90 minute session each time! With that being said, FLOATING may not suit the needs of everyone even though it may very well be of help for 99.9% of the human population.
I highly recommend that those newer and a bit apprehensive to FLOATING that any fear or concern you have, it’s relevant and very validated. I was fearful of claustrophobia, darkness, confined or conformed spaces and environments, being even ALONE with myself… (hence why i have an inconsistent home yoga and mediation practice….) and somehow Floating is a bridge. Being alone in a public street access business front makes me feel more secure knowing there’s other doing the same form of activity (or passivity) while people keep the front safe for those of us in the tanks.
This process of getting to know your True Identity through the float tank is one of true humility and sensitivity to yourself, compassion is key I’d say. Even your mood lighting that’s provided can change the effects of the mind and self-introspection. Personally my favourite colour is an overly saturated Green-Turquoise almost a mint chocolate chip ice cream colour. The effects for me are calming and resonate with my auras and chakras of Anahata and Visshudha (Green/Heart and Blue/Throat). Other times I’ve had a room coloured bright orange or yellow and it brings me to a more african safari sunset in the tribal fields. Red and Pink bring me a feeling of passion or lust accordingly through love or affection, empathy and connection. BE SURE IF YOU ARE A COLOURIST LIKE ME THAT YOU REQUEST YOUR PREFERENCE!
I also began turning all lights off going into the tank and just a creek of light remains through the door frame, in fact this is a safe measure in case you exit and lose footing :).
– Discovering my internal childhood state of being through Floating has allowed me to fall in love with kids and babies whereas before it was not the same level of capacity for empathy. Ah… yes, I recall my mother Elana Sigal still screaming at babies whining and screaming whilst they discover their own vocal chords and personal needs to be safe or dry. You could put me in the same category as my mother, (my mother is an angel, just a little fun anecdote 😉 ) however when FLOATING CONSUMED MY MIND… literally HI-JACKED the frontal lobe (brought me sub-conscious) I realized my dislike or intolerance for children or babies WAS BECAUSE I DID NOT ACCEPT MYSELF AS A KID or TEENAGER.
After this epiphany in the tank I started to ball, cry my eyes out until I felt I had shed several pounds and years of guilt, grief, denial and imprisonment of my own doing. Everything began to shatter, the water almost felt like white light or a kundalini experience. I’ve never (nor do I intend to) partake in the consumption or action of drugs, alcohol, hallucinogenics and instead have relied on my natural energy and resources from Yoga, Meditation and now Floating to facilitate this enhanced state of awareness and intuition.
I’ve become more and more comfortable in my own skin as a person and in every way pertaining to my personality traits, imperfections, flaws and unpolished edges. Being a diamond in the rough so to speak means it’s not all rainbows and lollipops, you dig through the dirt and the pits of chaotic hell in order to shine on the top with purity, clarity and lived wisdom. It never truly comes for free, it’s a trial, work in progress and requires perseverance, determination, willingness, stubbornness, resilience and major humility with no ego / attachments to your perspective.
Floating has truly shifted the way I perceive not just myself and the universe, but where I and he/she/it fits into one picture.
– The fact I can write and think and embody this fact of reality, that sheer bone shaking that is the natural cycle of human life. Were born, we live, we die… And if we’ve fulfilled our Samsara- then we don’t apparently reincarnate as a new tangible form.
– My kidneys never felt more buoyant and rechared thanks to the decompression Floating has subconsciously instilled in my deepest patterns of holding, PTSD, Anxiety, Depression and Emotional dysregulation.
* Infact I am still discerning whether it was an effective result for my mind/body/heart to feel what felt like a total rebirthing for my nervous system. What i mean by this is that we all are familiar with the balances of both excess or deficiency and how the two are a constant balancing act in order for all systems and operations to maintain an equilibrium. I would say daily floating is fantastic as long it is done with a plan, structure and it isn’t crammed into an already busy day in your week. It will provide you space to be more at ease before and after, enjoying the unwinding that occurs of the thoughts, sensations, emotions and urges.
If you plan to try a consistent float challenge WHILE THE MONTH IS BUSY nonstop like mine was in March, perhaps really be conscious of how many times you want to float a week and how it affects the other events in the day. I found myself time to time rushing to my Float sessions and rushing afterward to teach or take a class and it just wasn’t always a seamless or productive use of resources or self-care.
This also reinforces the senses of being challenged for a short period of time and it’s meant to be the above, not sustainable yet also very life changing and cleansing… well – like a cleanse!
* I felt like you would if you were a manic hysterical depressed guy BUT IT WAS JUST PURE ADRENALINE! I have never done nor ever plan to inject myself with needles. You really are able to feel like a superhero (pun not intended) when you’re exposing your body to that degree of sensory deprivation and epsom salts… it’s magical for my bones and strengthening in yoga asana practice (taking me to further depths never before achieved before floating.) Just be mindful of this and it could also be ME as I have the ADRENAL DEFICIENCY plus being HYPER SENSITIVE it may only be my own experiences and other people may have NO CORRELATION.
• However you want to visualize the after effects of daily floating- it sure felt like I had an AED being shot into my system, or like Spinach for POPEYE!? Also the idea of consuming 100 ‘senzu’ beans from the Dragon Ball Z Series is a solid example for how I feel after a FLOAT session! The idea of flying high into the clouds and exploring the true sensory and palpable embodiment of ‘Floating’ – it really feels like you could if you tried with enough sessions… if only?
** How I LOVE myself all over again, personal style and fashion and smiling nonstop, my yoga practice advancement in integration and breaking through chronic spinal injuries. I already covered some of this above, what I did not though is the effects of my personal image and wardrobe or style. I always was a fashionisto and loved dressing up in my daily attire. There was a lull for a few years and I became entangled in convenience of teaching and practicing yoga classes and found myself in lululemon or other related products. They’re awesome and I wear them combined with more ‘higher’ fashion or style products. Now my sense of personal creativity is emerging fully and I love to be open and expressive through my outside as well as my inside.
There was been a very well received interest from people in my social circles and they either have never tried, heard of or would have considered FLOATING without seeing little glimpses of these posts produced in March! Being able to offer simply one angle of something personal and individualized was the least I could do for those perhaps apprehensive toward Float Therapy. My friends have experienced it with me and are now hooked and want to go as often as they can afford. Other’s came and it wasn’t up their alley while some felt neutral and were open either way to attempt another inward diving to the senses. Community has begun to form from this initiative I never thought would make the impacts it has in small ripples within my yoga and wellness circles…. it’s an honour to be at FLOAT HOUSE and receive the full bodied benefits that it has and still continues to give me in my well being and yoga practices… lifestyle practices more importantly.
• Feeling almost prone and vulnerable to outside stimulus and provocations
Like in yoga practice especially restorative and yin styles, the body and mind sometimes can become either temporarily or extensively heightened. The amount of stimulation that is removed from the central nervous system is able to be to the point where you’re a new born child. The eyes and mind are empty and in a state of beginners mind so to speak. Think Bambi, a gentle and intuitive baby fawn whom listens ever so closely to the butterflies flapping their wings, smells the crisp air of the blossoms opening and budding and even stops to feel and hear their foot steps mush into the soils of the land. You have a probability of encountering a similar tactful experience through Floating. One example was this month when finishing a float and coming out to the streets in Gastown and i swear every little things would make my skin crawl or jump (not because it was the FLOATING, but simply my sensory perception and awareness was that heightened from decompressing in the tank!) and I had to just breathe and walk a street with no other stimulation besides myself and the horizon before me.
• Shorter vs. Longer floats and the contrasts of stillness. Vs. physical and mental activity .
There was a certain point where I felt the 90 minute floats were just not long enough for my own body and mind to disconnect and turn off my nervous system. The effects of the brain waves shifting into lower frequency from Alpha to Theta and tapping into my natural relaxation response / parasympathetic nervous system was harder. The repetitions of floating despite different times and days… it just seemed a bit over driven through my now overly-efficient Kidneys producing adrenaline. There’s a truthfulness to the way you can float… Passively and more restfully, or actively and purposely in order to solve problems and find solutions to anything creative or logical. I had enough time in these tanks at Float House to experiment with a broad spectrum of activity and passivity. The amount of focus and intention you apply into pre and post floating is essential, without you having direction of your float sessions, you’ll go in and just randomize a spontaneous session. Those who appreciate that spontaneity it’s perfect for them, while those desire a more guided or familiar experience – know it’s in a lot of how you approach the scenario.
* How has my body adapted to April with less consistent floating?
April has not been a daily float practice, life has been filled with teaching yoga and also noticing the clear differences of a daily versus 3-4 times a week floating or less. I notice the differences majorly, less energy and morale, muscle tension / agitation / irritability / emotional sensitivity and reaction periods – these are some factors and experiences I’ve witnessed with less FLOAT time for me. It means less decompression and dissociation from the outside world which I am being more and more at the forefront of as a public studio yoga teacher. The way the tanks offer me a space to cry, breathe, unravel, sleep, meditate, thrash around, there’s limitless explorations in the confined spaces, never have I felt trapped!
* to exit my tank or surrender to discipline?
I noticed that sometimes when I Floated this month, I felt compelled to leave the tank as a natural response to my body saying ‘enough.’ Like you would in meditation though, you push through it to break the pattern of least resistance right? Well I don’t know if Floating goes hand in hand with the same neurological and physiological approach but it sure seems that way! I now know if I feel the need to leave my Float before my 90 minutes have elapsed, that it’s okay to give the permission and spaciousness for that consciousness to fly outside the tank’s corridors.
Floating is a very shifting and experiential way for us to decompress from external stimulus and enter ourself in a way usually inaccessible for 90 minutes at least, perhaps longer or some shorter. The effects made in the human body or mind will always be different as it is in yoga or meditation, yet with consistent focus or discipline the journey takes new roads and paths as you delve more into the so called ‘rabbit hole.’
I’m thrilled I was able to accomplish what was a thought out of thin air one day being in Float House with Mike and Andy Zaremba (they to my shock said… yeah why not! I don’t think anyone would have floated as much or as consistently as you if you pulled this attempt off successfully!)
Well, there you have it, I’m definitely a man of extremes and this was a clear example of the sheer brilliance yet also the other less beautiful moments of self acceptance and clarity… inward searching for consciousness of spirit and matter.
As April is half way trough, I have managed to sustain a weekly Floating practice roughly 2-4 a week and this feels like enough for me for now… I know I wanted to maintain daily, it’s just not realistic and perhaps in short spans of time like 1 week it is manageable. a month of longer, definitely plan for this and make sure it’s the right choice…. perhaps consult a physician or doctor… or a Float House Host ;).
Feel free to reach out to me about any above writing or my previous posts on my 31 days of nothingness challenge and as the Zaremba’s infamously exclaim “FLOAT ON!”.
UPDATE: March 2015, one year later from the challenge
I currently am still exploring the Self through the realm of REST/Floating at Float House and find myself content with 1 or 2 sessions a week – even less frequent with my schedule being all over the place. Having been able to experience the saturation and intensity of the daily Floating last year, my body and mind were able to remember that into present float sessions. Like everything, there is a pattern of behaviour or cause and effect to the way things operate. When I began practicing Yoga (asana) I felt i had to have a daily practice to sustain the post practice mind/body connection. I don’t rely on the Asana practice daily anymore to give me that state of calm and ease… – Floating has adopted a similar approach and I am able to pinpoint when my body actually needs a session. This increased awareness has also transcended into daily life choices in order to maintain self care and minimize burnout from over productivity.
I don’t know where I would be without the resource and community that FLOAT HOUSE has manifested and I strongly recommend everyone to explore themselves in Nothingness at Float House when possible.
Hiiro Zaké-Sigal Prince. TrueIdentityYoga@Gmail.com 604-218-5265
Hiiro is an RYT-500 Registered Yoga Teacher specializing in the lineages of Restorative, Yin, Hatha, Vinyasa yoga and teaches public drop-in studio classes around the Lower Mainland. You can view further information about Hiiro’s yoga and teaching offerings by visiting the main page of http://www.trueidentityproject.com