meditation

Breath Techniques for Float Sessions

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.

 Liliya Drubetskaya, FloatOn Artist Project

Liliya Drubetskaya, FloatOn Artist Project

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. 

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After a Two Week Hiatus I Get Back in the Float Tank

Sometimes life gets away from us, we get too busy, or too distracted or something unexpected happens that shakes up our usual routines. Recently, I inadvertently took two weeks off of floating and I was eager to get back in the tank.  I had been meditating daily outside the tank, but my body was achy and looking forward to physical benefits that go along with floating. Here is my float story... 

I stepped into the float room and did my initial float tank limbo to keep my chest and belly from submerging. I leaned back and as always the water perfectly embraced my body. I slowly swayed back and forth for a few minutes occasionally tapping the walls with a finger or a toe as the waves from my entry dissipated. I drew my attention to my breath and strength of my heartbeat. I felt my heart reverberating in my chest cavity generating tiny waves of water around my rib cage with each thump.

I stayed with my breath and gradually sensations arose all over my body. I mentally scanned from the crown of my head through my toes. I noted sharp shooting pains from my right shoulder, deep rumblings from my intestines and powerful vibrations from all 10 toes. I am grateful for my Vipassana meditation practice, it has trained me to observe all these sensations, but to remain as equanimous as possible.  These strong sensations gradually give way to more subtle ones. Eventually, my breath slowed and I drifted away. I feel like I have left my human avatar for the universe of vibration and energy. Ah... I feel at home.

 Photo Credit: Leslie Hero, FloatOn Artist Program

Photo Credit: Leslie Hero, FloatOn Artist Program

Some unknown length of time passed in this in-between state when suddenly fear jolted through my entire body. My heart raced and I began breathing quite heavily. I felt as if I was a bunny being chased by a pack of ravenous wolves.There are jarring flashes of light vivid that I began to question whether or not I was still alone in the float tank. I managed to settle back, thinking of the advice we often give to floaters when anxiety surfaces. 

BE WITH IT. OBSERVE IT.  STUDY HOW IT RISES AND OBSERVE HOW IT WILL PASS AWAY. 

I was restless and struggled to return to my peaceful state. Eventually, the anxious sensations dissipated, my breath slowed and returned to a deep state of peace from being with my own nothingness, then... beep, Beep, BEEP!

My meditation session had ended and it was time to me to reenter the world little lighter, calmer and wiser than before.  For me, every float is an opportunity to learn and grow, to release some baggage, to appreciate the impermanent nature of the universe and the impermanent nature of ourselves. One only needs to be quiet and still enough to observe it.

-Lindsay Reinhardt, Anicca Float Club, Inc. 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.