Do you remember the first time you rode a bicycle? How about your first yoga class? The first time you attempted to bake something from scratch or even learn to tie your own shoelaces? Do you remember those moments where you felt awkward or overwhelmed as your brain tried to comprehend exactly what was happening and how it should process it rather than just go with it?!
Well... your first float may be a lot like that. The float room environment is unique. The 1,000 pounds of epsom salts dissolved in the water create an environment that eliminates nearly all the effects of gravity on the body. The float room is quiet, dark and free of all external stimuli. This is foreign to our modern day brains which are commonly cruising on a super highway of stimulation. Most of us actually need to learn how to relax in the float tank!
I have had floats were I quickly drift into that "in between state", but I have had many floats where my mind wants to run since it has nothing else to analyze. The default of the human mind is to RUN. We all face the same challenge of "quieting the mind". We all must learn how to observe our monkey minds without reaction. So don't stress if your mental monkey would rather play hopscotch than meditate during your first float. The mind works a lot like our biceps. The more you deliberately practice mindfulness the better you will get!
The other challenge new floaters face in the float room is convincing your brain that it is impossible to sink (because you CAN'T!) I will never forget spending hours in swim lessons as a kid just learning how to float; front floats, back floats, rescue breathing floats. No matter how relaxed you are in fresh water, you still need to expend some energy to keep your body from sinking. However, while floating the less you move and the more you relax, the better it gets!
Finally, be patient. Our society has come to a place where we are stimulated from the moment we wake up until the second we go to bed. We must consciously make decisions to find our own peace or it is really easy to get swept away in whatever stimulating current is rushing past. Please do not feel discouraged if you do not experience meditative bliss your first float. The float room takes you out of the rat race so you can give yourself some YOU TIME. Give floating a few chances and with a little practice you will succeed to LET GO of your words, thoughts and your body for a delightfully peaceful hour of NOTHING. HAPPY FLOATING!