Floatation Tank Meditation
Something I like to talk about and aspire to, but often have a hard time developing a routine for, is regular meditation. It’s hard to form a routine, but also just pick which one to commit to. There are so many different forms of meditation. Some use mantras, breathing techniques, include sitting, standing, and walking, etc.
I just had a birthday early this month and was blessed to be gifted an experience with a kind of meditation you’ve probably never heard of. A Floatation Tank (sometimes referred to as Sensory Deprivation tank or Isolation Tank). I’ve had the opportunity to try this once before several years ago, but it wasn’t the most optimal experience so I’m excited for the chance to do it again.
Floatation tanks are basically a large bathtub that is enclosed. They are usually filled with about 6 inches of water, maintained at your body temperature, and contain lots of epsom salt. The added salt in the water is what allows you to effortlessly float. Once you go inside and lay down, it is pitch black, still, and silent. A single meditation session in here can range anywhere from 1-3 hours, or sometimes people float for even longer!
I’ll be doing a 90 minute float this weekend at a floatation center here in St. Louis. My previous experience was in Colorado, but I had a difficult time relaxing. This was partially due to condensation on the ceiling dripping down on me (which is very uncommon), but ultimately my thoughts are constantly racing so much that 60 minutes wasn’t enough time for me to entirely slow down them down. They often say that your first experience may take some time for you to get used to and really sink into the meditation experience, considering it’s not like anything you’ve experienced before.
This form of meditation is becoming more and more popular with some people having memberships at these centers and sometimes people installing them in their homes.
The great interest most people have in this experience comes from the ease of deep meditation as well as the stronger effects it can provide. Despite my, and others’, first experiences being slightly underwhelming, once you are familiar with the experience and environment, it becomes easier than many other meditations because there is little to distract you. No cats climbing on your lap, the sounds of cars driving or dogs barking outside, nor your cellphone going off from a text message or Facebook notification. Sure, there are things you can do to try avoiding those distractions, but the list of distractions goes on for other meditations. For this meditation, the only (potential) distractions are your thoughts. The environmental ones cease to exist. We all desire to go into a deep state when meditating, so sometimes it’s nice to have a little boost!
I mentioned the effects floating provides can also be stronger than other meditation forms. Keyword here is can. If there is a meditation you are already practicing, regularly and with ease, that meditation may very well be more effective for you than floating. A fellow Redditor mentioned that after a couple hundred hours in floatation tanks, he now can go just as deep in a sitting meditation as he was able to while floating.
As with most things in life, I’d recommend trying it at least once (or as a friend says, “Try something 3 times before you dismiss it”). Most things we are afraid of are simply things we do not understand. The unfamiliarity frightens us. Try new things. After all, I wouldn’t have met Kasey if I didn’t myself! This can really be an amazing experience and I’m very much looking forward to this weekend for mine.
I’ll be sure to write a follow-up post to this next week and you can read about how my experience went.
If you’d like to learn more about floatation tanks or find where you can try one near you, see the links below.