Sensory Deprivation and Floating
Summer is the time for maximum Yang (energy)! It is when nature ripens and matures all that she grows and is related to the Fire element, whose main organ is the Heart.
If you missed my last blog, it was all about learning to align yourself with the summer season with the wisdom of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Read Blog Here).
Truly caring for the Heart is challenging, especially in our modern world of too much sensory stimulation. Our closest companion is probably our phone, a source of myriad distractions which takes us further away from our hearts and into the head.
With summer being such an extroverted time of year, I was looking for ways to disconnect and replenish my heart and my head.
Recently my partner (Ravi) and I went to Floatworks in Angel, London to spend an hour floating in a dark pod filled with salty water 🤷🏻♀️
A sensory deprivation tank, also known as flotation tank, cuts a person off from as many sensory inputs as possible when inside the tank, allowing them to relax.
The water in each pod contains half a tonne of Epsom salt, which means you can float effortlessly. It matches the temperature of your skin and the air, giving you the feeling of complete weightlessness.
Usually, when I am meditating it takes a little bit of time to acknowledge sounds in my environment so they don't feel distracting. Or, when I practice Yoga Nidra, I always place an eye pillow over my eyes to help make the experience less about what's going on outside and more about what is going on inside.
In the Float tank, there was no need to work on any of this - it is completely silent and dark! It felt eerie at first, with the sound of my breath kept me feeling safe. I have a busy mind and initially I observed all of my thoughts that day (all the things I still had to do) explode all in one big thought. I was fascinated to observe just how busy my head had become that week.
Slowly, with practice, and conscious effort, I allowed my mind to relax. In the silence, I could see just how busy my mind has become. And being in that silent pod, I realised that my thoughts were racing from one thought to another. It was a good time to work on this.
I incorporated the technique of coherent breathing (inhaling for count of 6, exhaling for count of 6). Then, I added a mantra about connecting closer to my heart, my belly, and my womb (areas I can find are usually dis-connected from each other). I made sure my mantra was six seconds long, and so just ended up repeating it.
Any sense of time disappears in that pod. I have no idea how long I was repeating it, but what I felt was a deep sense of surrender. I couldn't be distracted by my phone. I couldn't look around and find something to clean in the house. I couldn't cut the meditation short and prepare for my yoga class. I was there for an hour, but it felt like 3. My brain could take a backseat, for once.
Getting out of the pod (first reaction: ouch ouch ouch, salt water dripped from my hair into my eyes) had me carry this calm, quiet energy into the relaxation room, filled with silence, books and meditation.
Finding what you need to feel full again is the key. For me, it was silence & disconnection during a Float.
Sometimes though, it's simpler - just bringing a book to the park, putting on an eye pillow and doing a Yoga Nidra, or simply resting instead of rushing out for a coffee with a friend.
Find what you need to re-charge in Summer, and make time for it :)
The Yoke Wellness Ambassador,
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