For the longest time I was watching my friends (particularly in America and Australia) post about their gravity float or sensory deprivation sessions. I knew a little about it from listening to a Joe Rogan podcast but had resigned to the fact that probably would not have access to, living in Thailand.
We lucked out here in Phuket when Joe and Steve came along and opened the first gravity float in Thailand – about a 10 minute ride from my house.
I was quite curious about the whole thing so I booked in for one of their opening specials – an hour float for 1000 baht (probably less than half the price of what I would pay at home).
I was greeted by Joe and Steve and sat for a quick chat while the tank was put through it’s routine clean after the previous persons float. They gave me a run down of the different experiences that people have had their first float and some sage advice for being in there.
Once the float tank was ready, I was ushered into a room where the tank is housed and am provided with a number of items to assist me with my float. Ear plugs, pillow, Vaseline (for any nicks or cuts), a small towel to hang inside (in case I needed to wipe my face) and a large towel for when I was finished. I am given a run down of the tank itself, how to get in and out safely, and the bell to listen out for when my time was up. I was also shown the ‘panic button’, should I, for any reason, need to get out but can’t.
Awesome! I’m set to go!
I climbed into the tank, carefully placing my small towel on the rack, and closed the hatch.
Now I don’t know what I was thinking, but my first thought was ‘sh*t! It’s really dark in here’. Yes. Yes it is. Because it’s a sensory deprivation tank (d’uh!).
I slowly slide down in the tank and try to let myself float. Easy enough so far!
I closed my eyes to try to visualise the fight I had coming up in a few days, and noticed that my body was slowly floating in a circular motion. I went to reach for the handle bar on the hatch door, and couldn’t find it. In a moment or slight panic and opened my eyes, looking for the dim outline of the hatch. My eyes didn’t appear to be adjusting at all so I quickly sunk my butt to the floor to sit up and in all of my awkwardness, splashing myself in the eyes with the high sodium water.
I slowly found my way back to my starting point, attempted to flush out my eyes with the water bottle provided inside the tank, and continued to float.
I eventually found a few markers inside the tank to give myself an idea of where I was inside the tank. Eventually I just forgot about it and continued with my float. I figured there is only one way out! I’d find it when I needed to.
I had a moment where I was fully focused. I could see myself at the stadium, getting my hands wrapped, warming up…. and then I was thinking about my cat… and then thinking about training… and then thinking about my personal life… then thinking about needing a new media kit. My mind went crazy.
I felt really frustrated that I couldn’t focus on what I wanted to. In turn, it made me restless and I began squirming around in the tank. I developed an insane impatience because I had no idea how long I had left and I felt a sudden urge to get out.
I convinced myself to just sit still but my anxiety got the better of me and I sat up and opened the hatch door. I sat there for about 10 seconds and told myself it couldn’t be too far off finishing, so I took a long, deep breath, sunk back in and closed my eyes. Next thing I knew the bell was sounding. My time was up.
I hopped out and showered and took a seat out front with Joe and Steve. They were both so eager to find out what my experience was like. I told them I was so disappointed that I didn’t get what I thought I would from it, but they both assured me that it was ok and that my next float would be better.
When I went back for my second float, I had a lot going on in my personal life and it showed. I couldn’t focus on my next fight at all. In a moment of frustration I told myself to just let it go. What ever was going to pop up from my subconscious – let it. Surprisingly enough, it helped me clear a lot of things out of my mind, which in turn helped me focus on what I needed to be ready for my fight.
I still couldn’t lie still for the entire hour. What I estimate to be about 45 minutes into the float, I started moving my body. Rolling my hips from side to side, stretching my arms and legs. It was actually quite nice and I wasn’t bothered by it at all. I felt a sense of accomplishment that I sat still for so long. Meditation is not something I have ever mastered, nor is sitting still.
I didn’t feel panicked or anxious this float which made the hour pass by quickly.
By the time I went in for my third float, I was mentally and personally in a better place. I was again, close to another fight, but I had such a different experience during my float. I had a more calm sensation and was able to focus fully on my fight. I spent my time visualizing all the things I wanted to achieve in my fight, combinations I had been working on and how I could implement them.
I still ended up moving around and stretching from time to time, but mostly because I was so stiff and sore from training that I wanted to increase the physical benefits of my float as well.
Aside from learning how to calm my mind and sort through my subconscious, I noticed a significant difference in my recovery and the extreme relaxation I felt after my floats meant that I came home and had some of the best sleep of my life.
I’m sad to be moving away from Float Indigo – if I had it my way, it would be part of my weekly routine. Hopefully I can find something similar in Berlin!
To anyone visiting Phuket, I highly recommend you check these guys out.