I was super excited when I discovered that London finally has a float therapy centre. I've been super curious about sensory deprivation for years. I've visited London Float Therapy twice now and both times were very different experiences. The staff are wonderful - friendly and knowledgeable and make me feel welcome in their beautiful space. My first float was back in February. I thought I went in with an open mind, ready to experience what floating is all about. But now that I've been for a second session, I realize my mind was way less "open" than I thought.
I enjoyed both sessions, but the first one was really about learning how to just be. Suspended in slightly slippery, body temperature salt water during my first float, I was curious. Was I doing it right? Am I relaxed enough? Why is the water slippery? Moving my fingers and toes frequently to experience the sensation of the water. I left the music and gentle coloured lights on for a while but eventually turned them off. I started to get distracted. What if the nice recorded lady voice didn't come on to tell me time was up? How much time has passed? I focused a lot (too much) on my ocean breath. And listening to how that sounded in my body when my ears were under water with ear plugs in. Essentially, my mind was present in the float room but it was racing around trying to process the experience. I could also feel the exact spot in my body where I carry tension - right between my shoulders, at the base of my neck and couldn't seem to let that go.
Today's experience was much quieter. I turned off the music and lights right away and found stillness almost immediately. It was as if my body was saying "Oh this. I remember this" and let go. Yesterday I was completing my Yin Yoga Teacher Training so body awareness was really top of mind for me today. Instead of moving my fingers and toes around, I found myself bringing my awareness to different parts of the body instead. My arms and legs responding by feeling warmer. Occasionally, I felt a muscle twinge and release, something I don't recall experiencing previously. It was easier to find the edge of sleep today, a place I really enjoy being. For me, it's a blissful place and also the place where Hypnagogic hallucinations tend to happen. Today I saw purple and green light, which are not uncommon colours for me to see in various states of consciousness. At one point however, it was as if a bright white light had been turned on. But there were no lights on. This was a bit jarring mentally but my body remained still. Time seemed to pass by differently today. It didn't seem to pass by slowly or quickly - it just passed.
I emerged from my float room slowly, feeling a bit heavy. But after a bit of movement, I felt light and relaxed - not unlike after a massage or osteopathic treatment. Pure bliss and ready to rest. I can see floating becoming a regular addition to my self care practice.
If you're curious about floating / sensory deprivation, I encourage do some research and see if it seems like something that you'd enjoy. By sharing my experience, I'm not intending to describe what your experience will be like - we are all different. Reflecting on the differences between my two sessions has made me more aware that I need to keep trying things, because the next time might be drastically different than the last time.