My First Float.

 

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If you read my previous blog post you will know that for my 25th birthday i was heading over to Kildare for the day to experience my first ever float session in a sensory deprivation tank.

I went to Sli Beatha in Naas, Co. Kildare and was not disappointed. The whole experience from start to finish was absolutely wonderful, so much so that i decided to pay for two further sessions so i can go again in the next few weeks.

First of all i would highly recommend going to Sli Beatha Float House if you are going to try floating. If you don’t live in Naas don’t be put off by having to travel as i promise it is worth it. I got the 126 bus from the Happeny Bridge in Dublin city centre which took roughly 40 minutes & it was only 10 euros for a return ticket. The bus dropped me right outside just across the road from the Float House (ask the bus driver to tell you when your at the stop before the post office in Naas and get off there).

The whole place was very beautiful inside and felt very relaxing & ‘spa’ like. Laura was very welcoming and made me feel very comfortable right away. I was sat down in a little cosy area to watch a video about how the tank works & a few need to know things. I was then given some earbuds to keep & offered a bottle of water and then Laura took me upstairs to my private float room.

I have to say the full place from top to bottom was absolutely gleaming and spotless, such a beautiful space throughout and lovely decor & a calming atmosphere. Laura took me in the float room and explained everything to me and showed me where everything was and how to use the tank and then she left me to enjoy.

I was delighted that in your private float room you have absolutely everything provided for you so you don’t have to bring anything at all. A lovely fresh towel and a turbie towel for your hair are provided, plus you have your own shower in the room for before and after the float. I quickly had my pre float shower, put my earbuds in place and climbed into the tank.

I was a little bit nervous about doing it as i have had a terrible fear of drowning for the past 10 years ever since one of my friends i went to school with sadly drowned. I used to be quite a strong swimmer up until that happened but afterwards i would have nightmares every night for years to come and wake up in floods of tears every night. After that the fear of drowning was just to overwhelming for me that it took me 8 years before i would get back in the water again. I’m glad to say that i finally came to peace with it and started learning to swim again at the age of 24. Better late than never right?

I was surprised when i climbed in at how bouyant I was. Relief rushed over me straight away as i realised theres no possible way i could drown in here, i could barely even sit on the bottom to get in place thats how floaty it was in there. I pulled the top of the tank dow completely straight away as although i had been a bit worried before about drowning or feeling claustrophobic those fears were now gone. I floated so easily and comfortably and the tank was so big that i just wasn’t worried at all now.

For the first 10 minutes of the float they play some beautiful calming music directly into the tank & the light in the tank is still on. The light is like a beautiful pastel mood light with really warm glowing colours, enough to light up the tank inside but not bright enough to kill the mood, just right. You can turn the light off yourself when you get in if you like but since it was my first time i kept it on for now. Laura had advised me that when i get in the light will automatically turn off after 5 minutes and that the the music would fade away and turn off after 10 minutes. For the first minute or two i was just finding my most comfortable position to float in which was with my arms up by the side of my head instead of by my sides. I had a little bit of anxiety worrying about being able to breathe properly in here and was worried would i freak out when the light and music turned off so i decided just to concentrate on my breath. I practice pranayama breathing techniques regularly so i just focused on a techique i know to calm the nervous system & relax .

When the light turned off i was actually surprised as straight away the sense of being inside a tank just vanished. The floating sensation coupled with absolute darkness made me feel as if i was floating through a vast open space it was a very freeing and wonderful sensation. Any anxiety that i had felt previously completely disappeared, i did not feel enclosed or as if i was in a tank at all and it was absolutely pitch black in there i could not see a single thing. There were a few times throughout the float when i actually didn’t know if my eyes were open or closed as it made no difference either way. My neck & traps felt very achy and uncomfortable at first which i knew could happen from watching the video before hand. When there is no other sensation to focus on except your own body any aches or itches or rumbles just feel magnified times 10. Even though the aches in my neck were very prominent at first i was still extremely relaxed and comfortable and after the epsom salts in the tank started to soak in (about 20 minutes in) the muscle aches and tension eased away completely.

With the light switched off i got this indescribable feeling throughout my whole body like a mixture of relief and elation. I often struggle to calm myself or relax around other people & as i get older i become more and more introverted. The theme of my week so far had been ‘God please give me 5 minutes of peace and quiet before i lose my shit or have a panic attack’. When the music went silent in that tank i just though to myself FINALLY! Absolute silence and alone time, no distractions, nobody to have to make conversation with or answer to, no anxiety, no jobs to do or places to be, no rushing, just pure joyous bliss.

The next 50 minutes were absolutely wonderful i can’t even begin to describe. I realised a long time ago that even though anxiety is internal, for me my anxiety always revolves around other people. Always trying to people please, worrying about what other people are thinking, trying to make conversation to please other people even though i just want quiet, putting other peoples needs before my own, carrying other peoples worries as my own, fear of other people wanting to hurt me. I always find any social situation extremely draining and even though i will always be smiling and i truly do want to be there, it can just get a bit overwhelming for me at times. It was like getting some time alone in this tank to relax was an answer to my prayers. I honestly must have been radiating gratitude from every single inch of my body whilst i was in there for getting the chance to have this experience.

I let the good feelings flow in and the bad ones flow out and let my thoughts come and go exactly the same way. I didn’t try to control my thoughts or stop them or direct them, i just let them come and go without really fixating on them. Just being aware of what was drifting in and out. Being present and completely letting go of everything.

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For the majority of that 50 minutes i would completely forget where i was, i almost felt like i was in a dream or floating through the universe or just completely absorbed in consciousness. Actually i think the way to describe it would be all of those things at once.. i was awake but dreaming, floating through the universe, completely immersed in consciousness with no attachment to my physical body. It was such a beautiful and humbling experience that words do not do it justice. One thing that i was very happy about as for a while now i seemed to have ‘writers block’ and couldn’t seem to come up with things i wanted to write about any more. My thoughts became so crystal clear in that tank that the ideas just came flowing to me one after another, but gently and softly. There was never a rush of thoughts or a bombardment of thoughts. Infact i don’t know how it’s possible but i’m pretty sure the thoughts were gently flowing and coming to me but at the same time my head was completely clear and silent. Well one thing i have learned this far in life is that ANYTHING is possible. The mind is a complex and fascinating thing. All of the ideas that came flowing to me about writing and about my life seemed so perfect that it was as if God had just planted them there himself. At the same time though these thoughts and amazing ideas i was having weren’t like an epiphany. No. They were from inside me, i already had these thoughts but with the business of every day life and the outside noise it’s hard to make sense of your own thoughts or let them surface.

And then i felt grateful to myself. Grateful for following my guides, for following my intuition, i felt grateful for allowing myself this experience, grateful for me to listening to my body and practicing yoga, walking, for meditating, for allowing myself to heal, for my ayahuasca journey, for my journal. All of these things that i had brought into my life that are just for me. For taking care of myself, mind body and spirit. (Feeling nostalgic referencing back to my first ever blog post here). I promised myself in this moment that floating was going to become a regular part of my life from now on. As did yoga, meditation, journalling, so will floating. I made a comitment to myself right then to float once a month and give myself this time to let go of everything and allow myself to heal. From the inside out.

After my float was over i had a lovely hot shower in the float room before heading through to the dressing room to get myself together. I had brought towels and shampoos, brushes etc with me in my bag but it turns out none of them were needed. The shower had the loveliest smelling shampoo & conditioners of all time & the shower gel left me all silky smooth and smelling gorgeous after washing away all of the float salts – note, make sure to rinse out properly inside your ears just in case any salt water got in, as if it dries on your eardrum it could cause some discomfort. In the cutest dressing room ever there were loads of toiletries and amenities to choose from. Cleansers, moisturisers, body butters, argan oils, hair serums, deodorants, hair brushes, a selection of gorgeous perfumes, hair bobbles & clips, they literally had everything.

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After i spent a slow & lazy 45 minutes drying my hair and getting myself together i took a seat on a cosy orange elephant chair and had a browse through the guest book. It was lovely to read the messages left by all of the people who had visited before me. So many people saying they had also had similar experiences to mine, joyous, calming, the feeling of connection and oneness. My personal favourites were ”it’s all connected” & ”ooh ahh sli beatha, ooh ahh sli beatha”. So anyways i left my own message in the guestbook thanking them for a wonderful experience and then i went down to the reception and paid for my next two floats to come. No hesitation there. I already can’t wait to go back and i will keep blogging about each floating experience and how it evolves for me.

Healing the mind body & soul, one float at a time.

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