I recently went to Cloud9 Float Spa in Coquitlam. Located on the corner of Lansdowne & Guildford for you tri-city peeps. Actually right across from my high school… now there’s a blast from the past! It did feel a little strange waiting at this blissful spa to embark on a meditative journey whilst looking out onto the 7-11 I used to buy countless Slurpees and candy from. My how the times have changed.
I had heard a lot about “floating” from friends who frequent the Float House in Gastown. My first thoughts of floating in a deprivation tank were… Uhhh that’s kinda creepy! are you naked? what kinda “liquid” are you floating in? how long do I have to stay in this coffin like apparatus? I did a bit of research on what sensory deprivation tanks, or isolation tanks, are and how they came about. Modern float tanks were invented back in 1954 by a neuro-phychiatrist as an experiment. If you remove all the senses, will the brain/mind shut off? After doing research it was discovered that floating was an awesome way for the body and mind to heal. Removing all the stimulus from life and forcing the mind/body to ease into its natural state. Calming the parasympathetic nervous system and allowing the body to do what it needs to do to: relax, repair and renew. Lowering cortisol (stress hormone) to a healthy level and leaving people in a completely balanced state, body mind and spirit.
To help answer my (and possibly your) questions about floating, here is a little bit about my experience:
I booked my float online through their Mind Body Online website. This system is often used in the yoga world so I was quite familiar with it. I booked in for a float in the Pod. It looked nearly identical to this one:
There are options if you struggle with claustrophobia. The float “tub” is like a large bathtub surrounded by walls. They look like this:
Upon arrival at the float spa I was greeted by a lovely young man who gave me a tour of the space. I registered for the monthly membership. $45 a month. one float a month which includes complimentary hydrotherapy massage and oxygen bar. One very cool thing that I remember about filling out the membership paper work.. there was a question on how much I value being outdoors in nature. What an awesome question! I think people forget to ask how much time in nature we in fact spend… and how that directly affects our mental and physical health.
Anyways… Moving on…
I was shown into my private room equipped with shower, towels, toiletries and the ominous float pod. Instructions are: shower washing all lotions/oils off my body, tie my hair back, insert ear plugs. Walking over to the pod I carefully step in and lower myself into the water. It was lukewarm. Not overly warm, but not cold. Almost body temp. I got acquainted with the sensation of “floating” and careful not to get any of the heavily loaded epsom salt water into my eyes or mouth. When I felt comfortable I pressed the button on the inside left wall of the pod which began to lower the lid. Oye. This all felt very Sci-Fi. I then hit the other button which turned off the light. Complete darkness enveloped me. Eyes open or closed, I still saw nothing. The only sound to be heard was my breath.
After what I thought was 10 minutes into my float, I thought to myself, what the hell did I get myself into!?!?! I have to stay in this state for 75 minutes? I’m not gonna last. My mind began to wander… the sensation of being weightless is very similar to scuba diving, one of my many passions. So naturally I began to think about a shark circling below me.
55 ish minutes to go…. I can’t do this.
Every time my mind began to wander, I brought it back to breath. The exact quote I tell my yoga students. Repeating this over and over and over again. I began to change frequencies… transcending my thoughts into a difference level of consciousness. The air, my body, and the water were all the same temperature. It felt as though I didn’t know where I was in space and time. You know that lucid place between dreaming and awake? I’m not sure how long I was in this place… but when I “woke” it scared the shit out of me. like gasping for air startled and disoriented.
It made me think about the third eye chakra and the pineal gland in your brain. Your energy center for intuition. Most peoples pineal gland are completely calcified by the time they are 19. Western culture doesnt really heavily weight creativity and intuition with success. Rather money and power. But we are intuitive creative beings made of the same energy as the stars and moons. Cultivating our intuition is vital for us as a species.
Some time passed and a gentle music began to play, alerting me that my float had come to an end. The light came on on its own, I pushed the button, the lid opened. Getting out of the pod was quite possibly the most alarming experience. First of all I could barely lift my head. Here I’m thinking my poor neck no wonder you are so sore holding up my 400 pound head! I honestly had that newborn baby wobble head going on until I found my focus. I carefully stepped onto the bathmat. My feet touching down with the earth felt like a wave of energy up my body. I shimmied over to the shower hopped in and began to scrub off the salt water. I didn’t do a very good job because later that day I found some salt crusts behind my ears. Make sure you scrub!!
I left my private room and my transcendental experience behind and made my way to the lobby. The same young man greeted me with a cup of herbal tea. I felt like I was high. A wonderful natural high. Not feeling like I could drive I hung out in the lobby sipping my tea and chatting with the staff. We were chatting about yoga and he mentioned he is going to do Eoin Finn’s Blissology Training. Very cool.
What started as an odd and scary experience led to a place I’ve never been, yet always known. I’m already looking forward to my next float at the end of April.
Happy Wednesday, Universe!