First Float – Cloud9 Float Spa

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:

Image

There are options if you struggle with claustrophobia. The float “tub” is like a large bathtub surrounded by walls. They look like this:

Image

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.

I digress….

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!

this is you

Advertisements

Rowyn and YTT

Two very important things happened on January 16th.

My beautiful niece Rowyn was born. And it was my first day of Yoga Teacher Training.

This of course being last year.  I still cant believe it’s 2014. Even as I sit here typing with 2013 long behind me…. Where did the time go? The past 12 months have been a blur. Ups and downs. Good news, bad news. But I can say that the past 12 months have been illuminating.

January 16th, 2013. I was driving into Vancouver. It was raining. surprise surprise. I finally found a free parking spot just off Broadway. The second I pulled my e-brake I dialed my sisters house. Her husband answered. He told me that she’d been having contractions for a few hours and then passed the phone over to her.  She was in the bath with her daughter Paetyn, who had apparently begged for her mummy to join her in the tub. Vanessa, that’s my sister, answered… coooool as a cucumber. She said that she was going to finish bathing P, put her in her jammy jams and drive her over to Nana and Opa’s. (those are our parental units) Then they would finally be on their merry way to the hospital.  I wished her well and said I would call as soon as my first class was over.

I got out of my car, slung my yoga mat over my shoulder and walked nervously towards Semperviva.  I had no idea how my life would change. maybe if i did I would have been more nervous. or even, excited!   The first night truth be told, was kinda anticlimactic. It was a lot of standing around, waiting to get your books, getting your photo taken.  Which I’m sure was just so the teachers could keep track of the hundreds of aspiring yoga teachers that lurk around in Kitsilano.  We stood in line, alphabetical order by last name. my married name is Wilson. Never in my years of schooling have I ever been dead last in a line up. Thank you, Ryan for that. I’m sure there’s a lesson there somewhere…. anyways, moving on. I began to chat up a lovely rosy cheeked, wild hair, full of life young gal. Her name was Jessica.  She was a theater major. Which would explain why when she spoke the words would float off her tongue effortlessly. She worked up at Capilano suspension bridge and had recently been to Bali so needless to say, we hit it off straight away.

Every once and a while my mind would wander to my sister. How was she doing? did her water break? Will she have a boy? or another girl? The time ticked on and we were paired up with another student who would be our “yoga buddy”. My buddy was Carla, a tiny spitfire of a gal. We quickly introduced ourselves, exchanged emails and phone numbers.   I collected all my books I would need for my training…. Mindlessly flipping through an anatomy book, completely clueless how taken by it I would later be.

After lingering a short while with my new classmates. I walked out of the first day of Yoga Teacher Training and quickly rushed off to my car. Reaching into my pocket and dialing my sister.  I got voice mail.  I left an overly cheery message and said I would call back in an hour.

It wasn’t but 20 minutes after I hit the road I got a call from my brother in law. Vanessa had given birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl. Her name, was Rowyn.  I don’t know what went through my head first… the excitement that I had another niece or the fact that in a span of 3 hours, my sister went from being in a bathtub bathing 2 year old Paetyn to birthing a brand new baby into this world.  Needless to say, Miss Rowyn was in a hot mess to meet everyone. I knew from that moment that she would be a handful.  Her mere entrance into this world said so much about her character already. The type of kid that you cant tell her to do anything. It has to be her idea. Stubborn as a stick in the mud. Slight flare for the dramatics but with the sass to back it up. I recognized this, because that’s 1000% me.

It wasn’t until the morning I went and met baby Ro. She was oh so perfect. So snugly. She opened her eyes when I spoke as if she already knew me.  The next few moments went from tears to laughs as Paetyn walked in the room with my parents eager to meet her baby sister. Then followed my Dad, who for the life of him couldn’t pronounce Rowyn’s name, (There’s a whole other story there that I’ll get to eventually) but I think that’s why he calls her RoRo.

Now, present day, January 16th, 2014. We celebrate Rowyn’s first birthday. My feisty and funny little niece, Happy Birthday to You. Don’t worry, Opa will learn how to say our name eventually, either that or you may be stuck with RoRo row your boat.

Nasty colds and teaching yoga.

Tuesday of last week, I taught three classes. My regular scheduled classes at Tola Yoga and Fitness in Port Coquitlam run by the beautiful and loving Angela Girard. (come check us out! www.tolayoga.ca  *shameless plug*)  I also taught a class for my dear friends Masters Practicum Group. I’m not sure if it was the over extending myself or if I had already caught the bug from my extremely cute but snotty nosed niece, but I woke up Wednesday hating life.

I am a horrible sick person. My husband can vouch for this. I don’t like being doted on or being babied. I have a damn cold, I’m not dying. Leave me be with my box of snot rags and ricola cough drops.

In an effort to get a good night’s sleep I reluctantly went to the pharmacy to get a cough syrup that would knock me out so that I (and my husband) could get a decent nights sleep.

I’m not sure if it was the fog of the cough syrup that made me over look one very important item. I had not set foot on my mat in 6 days!!  The longest I have been away from it in about…. 14 months.  Last night after desperately trying to find someone to sub for me, I dragged my snotty sick ass into the yoga studio.I was greeted by one of my students who smiles wide when she sees me, “we missed you on Saturday!”  Ahhhhh warm fuzzies flooded over me. I tried having a neutral “yoga” reply, but I couldn’t help but feel a pep in my step as I walked towards the front of the class.

The whole interlude made me pause for a moment at my own reaction. I am a yoga teacher. I am here to lead students on transformational healing journeys. Breaking through tension and releasing emotions.   Is it natural for them to feel happy to see me? Sure. Should I let it affect my mood whether that’s good or bad? No. Whether the students are happy or angry to see me, I remain neutral… because it’s not my journey. Not my work.  I cannot let my students reactions affect how I see myself as a teacher. I am here to be a mirror, reflecting back emotions be it positive or negative. I am here to hold space so that they feel safe enough to begin to acknowledge, feel, let go, and move on. Truly heal.  That is my work. That is my job. Maybe they are just there for the infrared heat, maybe not. But regardless of their intentions, bigger work is at play.

Taking sukasana…  Listening to my own words of tuning into breath…  body. Doing a scan from head to toe… pausing at any point of pain or injury. Sending white healing light to that area…  I felt grounded again. Amazing how it doesn’t take much… and even more amazing that my foggy cold brain neglected to think that maybe all I needed was a sweaty hot mindful yoga jam to get back to myself and heal this lingering cold virus.  Even yoga teachers need a swift kick in the assana.

Wednesday Words of Wisdom: Get on your mat.  Stay away from snotty nosed babies, no matter how adorable. And all is coming.

Yoga. Travel. Food. Life. Love.