What is 'floating'?
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to float around weightless in space? I haven’t been to space (although I’d totally be up for it), but I have experienced weightlessness while 'floating' in a 'pod'. Coupled with sensory deprivation, it was a totally new experience.
What is floating?
You float in a 'pod' (pictured above, at Gravity Float). The pod is filled with a mixture of water and 600kg of Epsom salts to create buoyancy so that you float effortlessly. The water is heated to body temperature to allow you to feel truly weightless. In a typical session, you float for one hour.
The pod is also sound and light proof (all you can hear is your breath and when you turn off the light in the pod, you can’t even see your hand in front of your face). The reason for this is to give your body a chance to totally switch off. If you’ve ever found yourself suffering from sensory overload (have you ever been watching TV with your laptop on your lap while messaging on your iPhone?), your senses probably need a break.
In case you’re wondering, this is not a sponsored post. I was invited to experience floating at Gravity Float and wanted to share my experience with you.
What was it like in the pod?
I have mild claustrophobia (i.e. I get anxious in small, enclosed spaces). I’m also a person who struggles to switch off my mind (I tend to draft emails and task lists in my head at night when trying to get to sleep). So I was wondering whether I’d have to bust out of the pod within minutes of enclosing myself it in or if I’d just end up spending the whole hour planning my week in my head.
But I decided to give it a go, and I was pleasantly surprised. The pod was larger that I expected and the door can be easily opened if you need to get out. I also found that when I turned off the light in the pod, I eventually lost all concept of space and didn’t feel ‘enclosed’ anymore.
Did I enjoy it?
I loved it. I found that the key for getting the full experience while in the pod was deep breathing. In my first session, it took me about 20 minutes to settle into it and stop fidgeting (I spent a while bouncing around the pod enjoying the novelty of being weightless). Then I focused on staying still and breathing deeply. This is when things got (good) weird.
I totally lost track of time, space and where the water started and my body ended. Without awareness of my body, all that was left was my mind and my breath.
During one of my sessions, I also became incredibly tuned into the physical imbalances in my body (i.e. I could feel specific points of muscle tension and the tendency for my body to rotate to the right). There were times during each session when I lost my focus and started to fidget, but by going back to my deep breathing, I could bring myself back to that really restful state.
After each session, I felt relaxed and rejuvenated. I had my sessions in the morning and found it was a great start to the day (others apparently love having their sessions at night before bed). Even if I’d had more of a fidgety session, I still felt like the sensory deprivation gave my body a break. An added benefit was that my skin had a nice glow afterwards (maybe due to the Epsom salts or the gentle warmth of the pod).
Would I recommend it?
Yes, provided that you take responsibility for getting the most out of it (i.e. with deep breathing so that you can properly relax and get the full experience). I think the pod really does create the perfect environment for deep relaxation.
You can find out more about floating at gravityfloat.com.au.