Into the rabbit’s hole: sensory deprivation chamber is one of my favorite ways to unwind from the ouside world and into my own world.
There are many benefits of using these chambers but in essence, you’re temporarily disconnecting yourself from the environment and connecting with your inner self. Two major senses are turned off for a while, sight and sound. The chamber is designed to be somewhat soundproof; when you float, you’re listening to your own breathing, your heart beat and sometimes even your digestive system at work. The chamber or tank is completely dark and you won’t be able to see a thing even with eyes open. So, it is best to keep them comfortably shut. Best feature of this chamber is the floating, your body is not subject to gravity and free to roam the chamber. Combine all three, it makes a Zen experience.
Not all chambers/tanks are created equal and it all depends the place you visit. Some tanks will offer dim light , if you’re claustrophobic, others soothing sounds but for me, dark and soundless please.
There are few things you should know before “diving” into the hole.
You’re floating in hundreds of pounds of salt (epson salt), so you don’t want to touch your eyes or any orifice for that matter. It is recommended not to use the chamber if you recently shave or have any open wounds. Remember salt!
A more important note, make sure you go to the bathroom before you enter the chamber. You will be inside for a period of 60 to 90 minutes so, you have been warned!
If you’re asking yourself ” wow, 60- 90 minutes?” and don’t think you can handle it, guess what the outcome might be? Best is not to think about it. You will know when your time is up by the sound of music, a dim light turning on or if you’re still not sure, the circulation pump will turn on automatically. So no worries float-naut, enjoy the experience.
If you’re still thinking what to do during all that time with yourself, alone, naked floating in the dark, I have some suggestions for you.
First, don’t float thinking you will do this thing first and then do that. This is time for yourself, just relax and everything will unfold as it should. If you’re ever in doubt, the best thing to start is by just breathing and relaxation.
Float-nauts beware: this is not the place to worry about your past, present circumstances and your uncertain future. You will not last longer as anxiety will creep up and you want to get out.
This is a place to breathe, relax and be mindful of what’s going on inside you. Whatever comes to mind, let it be. Soon, you’ll get the hang on this and will enjoy it.
Nose breathing – breathing in and out through your nose
Buteyko method -keep mouth close and using the minimum amount to breathe. Start with 5-10 seconds of minimal breathing and then increase to 30 or more. This is gradual so don’t expect to do one minute the first time.
Systema breathing, belly breathing/ diaphragmatic breathing– consciously breathing through nose filling up the belly and exhaling through your mouth.
Breath holds- inhale, hold breath 5 to 10 seconds and slowly exhale.
Tension/relaxation– inhale tense a body oart, exhale fully relax. Alternate body parts ( lower body, upper body , specific body part, etc.)
Body extension – with the breath, extend through fingertips or toes. Like stretching.
Yogic poses or mudras– go creative here, no specifics. If you have experienced with mudras (gestures or positions) go for it. Nothing fancy, crossing fingers over chest or belly or behind neck will do. The universal OM mudra works well too.
As for yoga poses, try stretching like you would on the ground to open hi/pelvis, etc. It doesn’t matter if you touch walls or bottom of the chamber. Explore and discover ways to find relaxation.
Train your Kegel muscles, the love muscles . Yep, try it.
Vocalizing breath– tune into your own frequency. Try vocalizing OM sound with your mouth close. It wil have a tremendous vibrating effect while in the chamber that you can only feel ( and hear).
Body rotations. Like I said above, explore the bounderies of your chamber. No splashing though…remember salt! Do smooth transitions without splashing water or creating waves.
Meditation or prayer– you will have time for this, don’t rush it. It will come to you. Think gratitude, think in the now. Not the past, not the future and NOT in your problems. I use this time to assess my current situation with a sense of gratitude without judgement and make plans for the immediately future. That is, what I’m going to do once I leave the chamber.
Sleep– it does happens, though it’s a bit tricky. I often find myself waking up as if I’m at the edge of a cliff about to fall over. Obviously you don’t want to turn to your side inside of the chamber but if your body naturally rolls over when you’re sleep, this may happen inside the chamber.
If at any point you get water in the face, STOP. Raise your upper body to a vertical position and carefully wipe the sides of the face, close to the nose away from your eyes, but whatever you do….DO NOT touch your eyes.
These suggestions are just a few. You can create your own experience for a relaxing and mindfulness float.
If you’re still not sure, again don’t worry. Your float guide will help you in the induction process.
There is much to gain by trying the sensory deprivation chamber, so go on my friend float and I’ll see you on the other side.