Before the Tank
For men, avoid shaving your face at least 6 hours before you float. For women, avoid shaving your body at least 12 hours before your float. Any lesions will be distracting due to the Epsom salt sting.
A super full stomach is not great for floating, nor is the emptiest of stomachs. Having a light, easily digestible meal 1.5 to 2 hours pre-float is probably ideal.
Being dehydrated before the float may not be the best state, particularly for your brain. A healthy daily hydration practice is just good for optimal biology!
Be sure to use the washroom prior to showering before you float. Talk about a distraction while in the tank.
Smoking just prior to the tank may stimulate you too much. Even if you are craving a cigarette the tank may very well suppress your craving. However, you’ll need to figure out what the best formula is for you and your biochemistry.
Definitely avoid having caffeine before you float. The stimulation you experience from caffeine is the exact opposite way you’ll want to go when you are in the tank. By the end of your float you most likely will not feel like you need your fix.
We have found performing physical activity (yoga, cardio, or resistance training) before you float to greatly enhance the floating experience. Your body has expended pent-up energy, muscles and tissues are loose and flowing with blood, your mind is clear and calm. Combining floating to this state can potentially create a deeper state of meditation. Be sure to have a little snack (not junk food) post-activity and pre-float. Nuts, fruit, juice, or smoothies are good options… Just not too much.
While in the Tank
Your breath can be an amazing tool for calming the mind and relaxing the body. Try to breathe primarily from your nose. At first, you can consciously take deep breaths, but once you settle into your experience try less to manipulate the breath and more just observing the breath. Your body will always remember to breath, there is no need to control your breath.
The most important thing is to get comfortable. There are two basic positions in the tank:
- With your arms at your side, palms down;
- Arms over-head with your palms up.
Play around with the two to see which feels better for your body. Also, try to position your body in the middle of the tank to avoid “ping-ponging” from side to side. To do this, brace your arms and legs against the sides of the tank to position your torso in the middle, and once you feel the water to be calm, slowly and evenly retract your limbs back to the mid-line of your body. Try not to generate any momentum from either side so that you remain in the middle and avoid the distraction of bumping into the side. Once you like your position and feel comfortable try to remain still and consciously relax all of your muscles.
Letting go (lack of effort)
Don’t “try” to do anything in the tank, don’t force something to happen, don’t expect something to happen; this is the exact opposite direction from where you may want to go while in the tank. You will not fall asleep necessarily, just be present. Repetition of a focus word such as “peace”, “relax”, “I’m safe”, or “let go” spoken in your mind in unison with your exhalation can help at first, but the message here is to just let go of conscious control.
Being physically still by finding a comfortable position and remaining there combined with stilling your mind either through breath awareness or a focus word (mantra) can lead you into a state of holistic stillness. This can generate the perception of timelessness, your state of being will be extremely relaxed and this is when the body is in a state of healing.
After the Tank (this is the best part!)
It’s often said that floating is only half of the experience. The other half of the experience are those moments right after your float. Floating can take you into a deep place of relaxation and thought, and can be a very powerful time in your life. We encourage you to stick around and continue your state of mind for as long as you want. We have warm and cold beverages on hand along with journals you can use if you wish, and of course, we are always here to share and connect with you and your experience as little or as much as you want. The important thing to remember is you don’t have to do anything.