Float

22 03 2017

I was offered to try out an isolation/deprivation/float tank recently. I’m not going to lie, my inner claustrophobic panicky self instantly created a horrific situation where I felt trapped and out of breath and completely closed in.

My friend gave me a tour of what I’d be experiencing. My heart pounded when I saw the coffin tank, but in keeping with my current mantra of trying new things undaunted, I agreed to his generous offer and booked a time for my float.

I readied myself, I showered and then opened the tank door and stepped inside.  The water itself felt silky and soft (likely from the large amounts of salts they put in) as I stepped in. I gently eased my body down and laid back, delighted to feel myself float instantly. I closed my eyes and started to breathe. I had given myself a 45 minute session and was wondering if I would have to leave the tank before my time was up, considering my impatience and difficulty in learning to just BE. After a couple minutes, the dim coloured lights went off and my float began.

I concentrated on some deep breathing at first, and tried a bit too hard to get into it. I recognized that I was waiting for some amazing experience to hit me, that I would soon be trippin’ balls and discovering some sort of transcendental enlightenment or figuring out the meaning of life, perhaps.

So instead, I just let myself go. I listened to a few thoughts rushing around in my head, not giving them too much energy. I ignored an itchy spot on my nose, I reminded myself that I needn’t write my grocery list right then and there. Instead, I breathed. I moved my arms so that they lay up around my head instead of alongside my body. And I breathed some more.

And I found myself so thoroughly and utterly relaxed. Completely supported but in a way that nothing is touching you. The temperature was perfect, there was no sound, and it was fully dark. I had some persnickety pains come up here and there, my throat felt constricted and my neck spasmed and my left temple had a few sharp jabs of pain. These are all areas of my body that I have issues with: physically, emotionally and mentally. Instead of getting involved in the pain, I found myself watching this from outside myself and slowly the different pains ebbed until there was nothing but my breath.

Amidst all this I vaguely wondered how much longer I had left, because it honestly felt like I had been in the tank for only a few minutes. But rather then fretting about the time left, I just kept on breathing (Ujjayi for my yogi friends).

I morphed into that state of somewhere between awareness and sleep, conscious and not. I could feel my heart beat and nothing else. I just was. That’s it. When the soft lights came on to bring me from my reverie, I was pleasantly surprised and maybe a little disappointed that it was already over.

Now, a few hours after my float, I feel deeply relaxed and sleepy. But also kind of extra aware of how I am feeling. I also feel like I’ve done yoga or had a nice relaxing massage. I was incredibly impressed and feeling slightly sheepish at my reticence and fear of this experience. It afforded me a much-needed insight to some inner dialogue I have been struggling with.

And I will definitely do it again.





Reconnected and it feels so good….

11 11 2013

There has been some emptiness in my life lately and I have been struggling to define it, to discover the source and to fill it all back up.

Life, this crazy chaotic thing that has this ability to toss us about in a storm of kids soccer games, work, doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning, working out, somehow trying to  make time for everything. Everything! The source of all our ability to at least try to keep up with life is within us. And we know all too well that if we do not give to ourselves then we cannot give to others.

We all get lost in our way of what we feel we need to give ourselves. I started to work out a lot the last couple years, indulging in high intensity interval training and dabbling in Crossfit. And whoa, did I (and do I) ever love it. I love that muscle soreness the next day, I love the end of a workout and being amazed at what my body just did. I loved seeing muscle definition where there was none before. I feel so good about my health and how I look and feel. It’s really an addiction, a very healthy one. Unfortunately for me I have been struggling with a lower back issue for the last four to five weeks that has brought a full screeching stop to my intense workouts. Frustrating to no end, let me tell you. I felt disconnected with my body and my old nemesis of depressive traits that have haunted me for years began whispering in my ears again. I found myself treading into the territory of self-doubt and soul-crushing sadness. I felt ready to cry at the drop of a hat. Stress built up in me: I had days of migraines and my stomach issues flared again. I marched on, missing my old happy self, missing something I could not define. But then one day, I realized that I had truly not been on my yoga mat for months.

Oh, right, I remember now, I said to myself. I unrolled my mat and lit a candle. I sat cross-legged, folded my hands in prayer in front of my heart. I closed my eyes and then I breathed. Long drawn-in breaths and exhales that began to calm me. It was like I hadn’t breathed in weeks. Every cell in my body was shriveled up, but in this feast of oxygen and awareness, they plumped up again. My breath became an ocean of waves, each one bringing a taste of awareness and each outgoing current taking my worries away. I don’t know how long I sat there, breathing. Frankly, it doesn’t matter. When I let my eyes open and allowed the world to saturate back into my mind, I felt lighter. I moved on to a deep yoga practice that left me feeling limber and elongated and completely whole again.

In all my life I have never known a love like I have for this practice of yoga. It makes me a better woman, when I give myself ME. In turn, I am more loving to my husband and my children. I reach out to my friends more readily without judgement. I am more patient at work and in the world. I see more beauty, I laugh more. I am more me when I give myself time on my mat. And I felt so terribly sad that I had let this slip by the wayside. Yoga was like a forgotten friend, patiently waiting for me to pick up the phone and call.

This is not to say I won’t continue to work out as I do. (Hell no…that’s far too much a part of me as well.)  But I deeply believe that we all need to give ourselves some form of quiet reconnection to ourselves, where we can listen to what our soul needs to say. Where we can be quiet and humble and satiated in our breath. Whether it’s a hot bath, a walk in the woods or a yoga practice with meditation, it really doesn’t matter. As long as we give our selves what we truly need. A connection with our own body, mind and soul.