I realized something yesterday. April and May are my tough months. If I look back at 2015 and 2016… I see that this is my gray time of year. In Southern California, they describe this season as “May Gray” due to the cloudy coastal weather they have this time of year… So, that’s what I have again, I’ve got “May Gray” over here. Ugh. In 2015, it got so bad that it inspired the Happiness Tour. In 2016, it was so dismal that I invested in a spiritual getaway with Deepak Chopra to learn how to meditate.
I tell you this because I’m over here telling myself this. That this too shall pass. That before I know it, I’ll be frolicking in summertime activities, smiling ear to ear. But for now, it’s just gray. Temporarily, like San Diego.
Ok, now that I got that out…
Today, I decided to immerse myself in meditation and to do something that I’ve had my eye on for a while. Have you heard of these sensory deprivation float centers that are popping up? One of the lovely ladies I follow on Instagram has posted her visits, and I’ve been meaning to try it. Well, it happened this weekend!
The location I chose was Samana Float Center, located in the uber up-and-coming RiNo area of Denver. Tucked away at 26th and Larimer, there are shops and breweries surrounding the place. After heading down a small hallway, you’ll find one of the most relaxing places I’ve been in a long time.
Experiencing a float like this contributes to heightened levels of relaxation and can also have some extremely positive impact upon a person from a mental, physical, and creative standpoint. Samana’s website has great information about the health benefits here. For me, I was looking for the calming, relaxation, meditative state it promised… and my back and neck are still wonky from my car accident years ago, so a little relief there would be a lovely byproduct.
I was able to find a “first-timers” Groupon online, so I was prepaid for the visit, and while I reviewed the website, I really didn’t have any idea what to expect. Mostly, because in a state of meditation, I never know what my brain’s going to allow or how it’s going to participate. The floating part, scientifically, shouldn’t be an issues… but in my head, 90 minutes seemed like a long time.
I quickly got checked into my room. I’d selected the only room at the center that had a pod-style setup. The other 3 rooms have a completely different tank set up, apparently. Regardless, it was a lovely space. Clean, inviting, and with a private shower for me to use stocked with toiletries (and a shower curtain identical to the one at my friend Laurel’s house!)
To get started, I was instructed to shower to remove all products and oils, and to insert ear plugs to keep the salty water out of my ears. Additionally, she mentioned they had a tiny packet of petroleum jelly handy to be used on any cuts/scrapes. A bath containing 1000+ lbs of salt, yes… a cut or scrape is going to burn, if you’re not prepared!
Seven minutes later, I was in the tub… and the recorded lady’s voice was telling me to relax and enjoy. She assured me she would be back in 90 minutes to advise me that the session had ended. Truth be told, this moment reminded me a little of the first time I ever tried a tanning bed back in the early 90s. Unsure of how everything worked and curious how I would know how much time had passed… also that clamshell closing experience.
Once I was inside the pod, I had options to consider. Did I want to use the head pillow/float that was provided? The answer for me: Yes. I found it to be a lovely prop for my head, and kept me ever-so-slightly elevated. Did I want to leave the music on or adjust the volume? For this first round, I definitely left the music on, I turned it down at one point and left it at a lower level for the duration of the float. What abut the lights? The pod had a pretty purple glow with the light being on, but I was pretty sure I didn’t need it. Once I shut it off, I wasn’t 100% sure about it. It was pitch black in there, but I felt safe and I knew there wasn’t much I needed to see from here on out.
From here on out, I focused on my breathing. Much like savasana or meditation, that deep in-and-out breathing would carry me through this next 90 minutes… and when my mind got busy thinking about the ol’ to-do list, I would once again go back to my breathing. I’ve often leveraged a series of words, when I need to calm my mind. The word “let” on the inhale, and “go” on the exhale…. it always works beautifully for me, if you need a strategy.
The 90 minutes really seemed to fly by. I know, that sounds crazy, but it really did. I think I was less eager to get out, and more eager to understand the time that had elapsed. Kind of like when you want to wake up right at the moment your alarm goes off, and not 3 minutes before.
The other thing I’ll point out: It felt like I was lying on a really comfortable mattress. It’s strange to even say, but I didn’t feel as though I were floating. There was a point where I wanted to move about, just to see if I could. I moved myself into more of a starfish style position… legs together, legs apart, hands up, hands down. The most comfortable position I found was keeping my legs together with my hands resting on my stomach, that’s where I spent the bulk of my time.
The question I’ve been asked most – by 99% of the people I’ve told about this – Did I feel claustrophobic? I have to say: Absolutely not! I don’t love small spaces, but nothing about this space felt small. It felt warm and comfortable. The pod can be opened at any time by you, should you have concerns with that.
When the time was up, I showered again and attempted to get ready. They have plenty of supplies to get ready… but the relaxed state + my crazy hair really preferring a brush (which I’ll bring next time)… it took a while to get squared away to leave. And, who would have thought to bring makeup? Not me, apparently!
Before leaving the center, I decided to sign up for their introductory package. I’ve got three more sessions available for my use in the future. I’ve decided to use one next week, and see if I want to use them weekly to kickstart some calmness in my life.
My verdict: I loved it. It was the perfect way for me to close out my weekend and prepare myself for the week that lied ahead. I’m excited to see what comes in future sessions and potential breakthrough that awaits and I’m excited to I’ll keep y’all posted.
Have you ever tried flotation?