5 Ways to Maximize Floating and Overcome Plateaus

When perceived through the right looking glass almost everything can become symbolic or an analogy for life. The individually subjective experience can project nearly anything that is stirring around internally onto any type of external thing, circumstance, or situation. That is precisely part of what makes the human experience so outstanding; the fact that we can see parts of ourselves within the things that are going on around us. Watching it all happen from the perspective of the observer is amazing if one can keep a non-judgmental outlook and accept things just as they are - which is much easier said than done.

Your experiences while practicing floatation therapy and sensory deprivation are just as varied. Fluctuations are natural. Life comes in waves, cycles, seasons, rhythms, and patterns. You may have floats where you see the face of Buddha, implode into yourself without a sense of space or time, or find yourself meditating in an ancient cave with giant yogis telling you that life is to be lived outside. You may also have floats where you experience nothing.

Knowing that these types of phases and plateaus are part of the human experience to be met with acceptance and warmth, we can set our sights to the art of maximization.

How do I maximize doing nothing? How can I get more out of floating? These are common questions about sensory deprivation as many people experience frustration when floating, ‘just doesn’t feel like it used to.’ You’re already headed in the right direction if you are reflecting on these kinds of questions. Looking for solutions instead of backing down from the challenge of learning something new is admirable and proof that there’s room to improve.

 

There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.
— Bruce Lee

There is no definitive roadmap, guide, or “right way” of doing things. All I offer here is my own experience and perspective on a few things that could make a difference to the way you float. Trial and error is ultimately the strongest and most effective teacher. So come to floating with an inquisitive mind to see what works for you. Here are 5 ways you can maximize your floating practice and overcome plateaus.

Intention

Intention is one of the cornerstones of living a successful and driven life, and it’s no different when it comes to sensory deprivation. Knowing your intention before floating is paramount. Observing your own thoughts, words, and actions before a float can seem a little like putting the cart before the horse, but going in with a clear sense of where you would like to go will dramatically help you to get there.

Some people float to relax, others float to meditate; some like to float to practice the art of letting go, while some practice throat-singing in there.

Ask yourself why you’re floating, and be honest with your answer. One of my mentors would ask himself why he was floating during his pre-float shower. Making a ritual of this is very effective and will allow you to give more of yourself to the experience.

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Transition

Going from an overly stimulated external world to a dark, silent, and solitary environment is a big jump. The process of warming up and easing into an activity improves many different areas of life including floatation therapy. Often referred to as ‘coupling activities,’ doing something before a float that’s either physically demanding, meditative, or connects you with your intention is a powerful way to get more out of the experience.

Activities like yoga, exercising, or going on a hike prime the body for an extended period of uninterrupted rest, relaxation, and recovery. However, many of us living in the city do not have the luxury of taking even more time for ourselves than that which a float provides. If this is you I’d recommend other methods of transition that are available at most float centres.

Listening to music for the first 15-20 minutes of your float, enjoying some ZEND Kava Kava as a pre-float relaxation elixir, or simply chatting and connecting with the members of staff at the front desk about topics relating to floating can help calm your mind and settle your body into the slower and more relaxed state of being to allow for a better float.

Daily Meditation

The most effective way to get better at floating is through daily meditation. A consistent practice benefits all areas of life and is transferrable to floating, as its meditative nature of sensory deprivation is a modality for mindfulness and presence.

Your mind will inevitably wander while you’re inside of the tank. Having a regular meditation practice allows you to choose just far down the rabbit hole you go and how long it takes you to reach the surface again if you choose to go in a different direction with your thoughts.

Even if your intention for a float is not directly related to meditation, the ability to concentrate, focus, and observe with a non-judgmental mind can work wonders for your experience inside of the tank no matter what you hope to achieve.

Float House also offers a float-specific guided meditation that can be played at the beginning of a session to help you reach a meditative mind and can also lead to inspiration for your daily practice at home.

Push Yourself

As the saying goes, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” We often hit floating plateaus because we have become complacent and are too comfortable. We don’t want to endure the struggle involved in getting to the next level.

Floating is an excellent tool to improve your discipline and willpower by immersing yourself in the discomfort that may arise from lying still for close to 90 minutes. Being able to distinguish if what you are experiencing is in alignment with your intention or if you are simply reacting out of discomfort can be incredibly fruitful for self-development and personal growth.

With time, everything changes and turns into something else. The interesting work starts to happen when you allow yourself the space to find out what those sensations and feelings are telling you about yourself.

You’d be surprised at what comes up if you allow it the freedom and space to do so. Extending the duration of your float session can also be effective as it creates a mysteriously unknown sense of time. This allows you to dive deeper towards the pearls that normally wouldn’t be available during a shorter session. Giving yourself more room to grow can be exactly what you need.

No Expectations

Easier said than done, right? Even if you complete all the tips above meticulously and flawlessly I am sorry to say that you still may never experience enlightenment in a float tank. An open mind paired with no expectations is easily the most repeated piece of advice given by seasoned and veteran floaters.

Rather than focusing on what you can receive from floating, ask yourself if you are willing to give more of your being to the process and if you can let go of expectations. Maybe your expectations aren’t allowing what’s needed to flow into the experience?

Being attached to a pre-determined outcome may prevent you from receiving the lessons that can be found in the present moment. Only when you have given yourself to the process, without expecting something in return, does the magic really start to happen.

It is through this process of being consciously engaged in what you’re doing, without needing an outcome, that you become something greater than what you were hoping to achieve in the first place.

Thanks for reading, and go float yourself.

 Written by John Waters

Written by John Waters