There are a few techniques I use during all of my float sessions:
1) Normal Breath - This may seem straight forward, but too often we get hung up on the idea that we need special breath techniques.
Normal breath is simply the observation of your breath as it passes in and out of your nostrils. This technique strengthens the connection between your body and mind. When your mind starts to wander, draw all your attention to the skin of the nostrils and philtrum (the space below the nostrils above the lip). Your breath may be slow, fast, shallow, deep, hot, dry, moist, truncated, peaceful, noisy, etc. whatever is happening don't stress about it. OBSERVE your breath as it is and do not wish to change it. Every time your mind wanders (and trust me it will!) do not get upset or frustrated. Smile, acknowledge what has happened and start again.
By honing your attention to this small area you will begin to sharpen your mind and improve your focus. If you wish to go deeper into this technique continue reading here.
2) Ujayii Breath (pronounced ooh-JAH-yee) - This breath is often used in Ashtanga and Vinyasa style yoga classes to raise breath awareness and naturally build heat inside the body.
If you want to practice your Ujayii, constrict the whisper muscles at the back of your throat, seal your lips and exhale through your nose. If you are doing it properly you will create the sound of ocean waves. This sound is soothing and is effective at centering you at the start of your float session.
The added bonus of Ujayii is that it warms the body from the inside. If I ever find myself feeling a chill during a float session, I will start to practice this breath. After 5 to 10 breaths heat immediately begins to build in my body. For a more in-depth explanation of Ujayii click here.
3) Tongue Sipping (Sitali) - This is breath is also used to raise breath awareness. It is used to cool the body during the warm summer months.
To practice sitali curl your tongue and stick it out of your mouth. Inhale deeply through your tongue as if you are sipping through a straw. You should immediately feel a cooling sensation on your tongue and in to your throat. Bring your tongue back into your mouth and exhale through your nostrils.
If you are unable to curl your tongue, there is a similar technique called sitkari. Gently let your upper and lower teeth touch. Open your lips as wide as you can comfortably and inhale through the gaps in your teeth. Close your mouth and exhale through your nose.
If you are ever feeling warm during a float session practice 5 to 10 breaths of tongue sipping to gradually cool the body. For more information on tongue sipping click here
Every float session is unique. Our bodies are a little different each day. Our body temperatures fluctuate based on the hormonal changes, circadian rhythms, exercise and disease. The next time you are floating try out these 3 breath techniques. Experiment and gauge the impact of these techniques on your focus and comfort during your sessions. Happy Floating!
By Lindsay Reinhardt, September 25, 2016
Lindsay is the Co-owner/Operator of Anicca Float Club with her husband Paul Feyer. When she is not floating she can be found running around the Float Club, laughing like a hyena, riding her bicycle, eating scrumptious vegetarian food and striking random yoga poses.