Going to Carolina-W.I.S.E. Project 2017

Deepanshu Arora -Moraine Lake Banff

It has been so bitter cold here the last couple of days, here is Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and though we are fairly used to the winter cold here in the great white north it has been more than cold. It has been exceptionally way below freezing temperatures all week and the wind chill is so intense that it feels like the cold has icily embraced your bones. It is not very motivating to say the least and hot showers, fuzzy blankets and good books have been my evening reprieve. 

 Today I was listening to James Taylor’s Going to Carolina in my mind and literally trying to get my mind to take me somewhere warmer.

On Sunday I went for a float. I have been floating for over a year now so I am kind of a professional as floating goes. This basically means that I am experienced in the art of doing nothing and laugh all you want but I am pretty damn proud of this fact. No joke, discovering sensory deprivation has been a wonderfully serene addition to my life. I still struggle on a daily basis with trying to fill my brain with way too much stuff. I get excited about something and I want to jam all of this new information into my brain as fast as possible and often I get overwhelmed. I used to be that mom that went to bed at midnight but at 2 am I was still making my grocery lists, planning my schedule around the girl’s activities, calculating bills and making endless to do lists in my head. To those of you that can’t sit on the toilet without reading the back of the shampoo bottle I can relate. We have hardwired ourselves to constantly receive and process information and nowadays with social media our brains are busier than ever. We are excessively over stimulated. We do not know boredom and we certainly do not know what to do with silence. We crave silence yet the moment we get a taste of it we spit it out and sprinkle it with noise to make it palatable, or at least what we perceive to be most familiar.

I started meditating last January and though I do not always practice it daily as I would like to, it taught me how to find the beauty in silence. Silence benefits our well being in countless ways with abundant advantages to our physical and emotional well being. I often do a guided sleep meditation at night or a five minute mindfulness mediation in the middle of my work day. Mediating was a great benefit to me the first time I entered a float tank because though my mind wanted desperately to crowd the
silent space with thought I was quite quickly able to resist. 

The float tank expedites theta waves so it is doing some of the work for you already by taking the stimulation away.

Theta brain waves are the brain state of REM sleep (dreams), hypnosis, lucid dreaming and barely conscious state just before sleeping and after waking.

If you truly want to experience getting away from it all I highly recommend floating. The solution unlike bath water is very dense, in fact approximately five times denser than the Dead Sea. It is mainly Epsom salt, it feels silky smooth  against your skin and you are effortlessly buoyant. You are literally floating in the darkness with no outside disturbances. When you don’t have the pressure of gravity on your body and you are not responding to stimulus (such as email and texts, noise of traffic etc) your blood pressure decreases and your cortisol levels drop (those are your stress hormones). Your mind and your body are experiencing a state of total freedom, you cannot feel the water and you are quite literally in the optimal environment to experience complete relaxation. There is an eventual increase in your endorphins which I am sure you all know is your happy hormones. We all want more of those, more is good!!

When I said I am now a professional floater you all either snickered or rolled your eyes but let me explain my excitement about how skilled I have become at doing nothing. My last float I was able to relax quite quickly. I don’t eat within 2 hours of a float; I may grab an apple if it is in the morning and some water to hydrate but nothing that is going to be hard to digest and no coffee to stimulate my mind. I start by clearing my mind with a short meditation and moving my body around languidly
in the warm water. Within minutes I had drifted off and I was in the middle of a lake in the mountains. The water was neither warm nor cold, I couldn’t feel it at all, as if my body was totally one with it and I couldn’t tell where one ended and the other began. I felt indisputably blissful. Above me the clear sky was the most magnificent shade of dark navy blue littered by an explosion of endless stars and decorated by magical spiraling flares of electric green clasped by hints of pink and deep violet that seemed to erupt from the mountain peaks in a
miraculously enchanting way. It was the esteemed Aurora Borealis in a way that I had never experienced before. I was captivated by the mystic beauty of it and moved almost to the point of tears. The peaks of the mountains surrounded the lake in a protective hug and I felt untroubled and safe. I have no recollection of the amount of time that passed as I lay suspended in virtual reality in that picturesque mountain oasis enjoying the Northen lights. 

It is such a hard thing to put into words, anything I write seems slightly inadequate, but as I sit here thinking about it I am once again overwhelmed by the memory. 

The gentle music that plays as your float time is ending startled me awake and I had that feeling of falling slowly from heaven and when my eyes shot open I  thought I was still in the middle of the lake but all of the sudden I was keenly aware of the darkness. It was unnerving for a second until my mind caught up with my body and I realized where I was. For the remainder of the day I felt weightless, like I was floating through my day without a worry.

I have wanted to recount this experience for awhile but I really didn’t know how in the world I would do it justice without sounding like I was floating on LSD. I was divinely at ease and I was able to experience something in that state
that was as exquisite as it was memorable. I will never forget and though I know that I can never recreate that exact experience I am really excited to know how far my mind will allow me to go in the future. For days after I would think about that wondrous place in the mountains and when I opened up my computer there it was on my home screen; Moraine Lake in Banff, Valley of the Ten Peaks. I am in love. Swoon.

So needless to say if you have ever considered floating, or even if you have never heard of floating, you should. It is the ultimate way to hit the physical and mental reset button and to find the beautiful and powerful healing energy
of silence.

I float at Modern Gravity here in Edmonton and it is a pretty unique place. They have actual float rooms instead of pods so if you are worried about feeling claustrophobic there is no need. The atmosphere is comfortably calming and the rainfall showers are such a nice treat. Floating is a gift that you give yourself that requires zero effort for substantial gain.

Modern Gravity, Edmonton Alberta

There are many things you can do to ease stress and recalibrate your body and mind, Floating is a very good choice. 

Be W.I.S.E. friends. 

“The Perfect Art of Doing Nothing” -W.I.S.E. Project 2016


Our minds are similar to our google search history. They carry our past, our present and our future. It’s a stuggle to be mindful and learn to live in the present with 3000 browsers open at once. In learning to be more mindful I need to take myself out of my comfort zone and this past weekend I had an experience that was very unique to me and I believe I used all of my January W.I.S.E. principles; Wonder, Imagination, Smile and Energize.

When I first booked my appointment at Floatique I was looking to energize and I thought it would also be a great tool to help in my quest to be more mindful. 90 minutes in a Float Pod doesn’t allow you the opportunity to do much else so I thought it would be an amazing way to live in the moment.

As the appointment drew closer I found all sorts of ways to stress myself out. Would I be bored for 90 minutes? Would I be claustrophobic? Would I be able to shut my mind off and relax?

The morning of I felt quite excited and the quiet, calming atmosphere of Floatique helped me to clear my mind. The wait area is neat, tidy and uncluttered. I had a few quiet moments with my thoughts and I picked up John C. Lilly’s book The Deep Self-Consciousness Exploration in the isolation tank. The book was written over 20 years ago by Lilly, a great scientist, possibly a generation ahead of his time.  Drawing on the personal testimony of many who tried floating the evidence shows how, by eliminating the presence of shifting physical input patterns, the tank allows participants to dive deep into their subconscious and focus immediately on their inner perceptions.

The young man that greeted me was very friendly and he quickly went over everything that I needed to know before he left me to my own defenses. The room was equip with a rainfall shower and organic bath products to shower before and after. I had already showered that morning but showered again and I honestly had a hard time pulling myself out of the luxurious rain shower. The room is completely private, it comes equipped with a towel and face cloth, ear plugs, Vaseline, a vinegar wash to clean your ears (salt in your ears) and a spray bottle with fresh water in case you get salt water in your eyes, because it can sting (I did get the water in my eyes and it does sting but I learned my lesson and moved on. I might bring swim goggles next time)

There is a help button inside the pod and a button to control the lights, you can float in complete darkness or in ambient light. Immediately upon entering the pod I was impressed by it’s spaciousness and after getting a feel for it I turned off the light to get the full experience. The weightlessness, silence and the darkness made me feel like I was in the middle of the ocean instead of in a tank. Floatation Tanks (or sensory deprivation tanks) contain over a 1000 pounds of Epsom salts dissolved in ten inches of water. Needless to say, you are extremely buoyant.

My mind played ping pong for a bit. I was torn between being extremely relaxed to making a grocery list and recounting the fight I had earlier that morning with my 16 year old daughter. I scolded myself because what I really wanted to experience was a “mind~body~soul” connection, not a repeat of everyday only in a float tank. It’s a hard task to shut your mind off and live in the moment. I am sure with enough training you can treat it like a switch but I am definitely not there yet!

I started repeating “mind~body~soul” over and over, quietly in my head. In doing so I was able to focus on just that and my body began to move to the invisible rhythm. I was able to stretch out completely in the float tank with my arms above my head and just lay there weightlessly and move fluidly. My friend had mentioned wishing that they had had a pillow as it was hard on her neck. Floatique does provide a small noodle for this reason but it is one hundred percent unnecessary. The strain you put on your neck is self induced. You are completely buoyant, all you need to do is trust and relax. If you are unable to do that immediately I would fold your arms behind your head to give you a sense of security.

My first advice is to come with an open mind. This was a fabulous experience for me and I am going to have a hard time putting it into words without sounding like a raving lunatic. You must understand that that we are all unique and therefore our experiences will be as well. Water is a mystical element that can revamp our lives if we are willing to open our hearts and mind to its gifts.

Being alone with my thoughts and feelings was really freeing and eventually my awareness of my senses was altered as well. As with any environment, my senses began to adjust; I was able to focus on the sounds and feelings my body makes, including the soft swoosh of the water as I moved. After a couple minutes the silent “mind~body~soul” became automatic as did the way my body moved to the rhythm.

My movements evolved from small and languidly to larger but effortless flow. It sounds almost silly to say but I became one with the water, or the water became one with me. Because of the buoyancy of the water it was hard to determine what was water and what was air. I imagined myself in the middle of the ocean without a care in the world.

The pod was silent, yet there seemed to be very faint music, I think it was only the rhythm I created with “mind~body~soul” and it led my body in what seemed to be a water dance, a soft, fluent sway.

I can recall my movements becoming more energetic and I was smiling from ear to ear. I felt euphoric and I had no sense of time. I wanted to flip over and swim further into the abyss. I am pretty sure I thought I was a mermaid. I felt like a mermaid. The Epsom salt leaves your body feeling silky smooth. It can actually be quite a sensual experience, with nothing between your satiny skin and the luxurious water.

Because the water is the same temperature as your body after awhile you don’t feel it.  It’s like peeling away the layers of your mind. The first time you may only peel away the first layer but I think if you free yourself you can get to the centre and experience complete and total relaxation. Letting go is a hard thing, but so worth it. What are we saying goodbye to but exhausting stress, anxiety and fear?

My experience was fantastic. I left feeling truly excited and rejuvenated. I went to a place that was void of all stress and fear. It felt euphoric. I felt vibrant and whole. I cannot wait to go back and peel away another layer and go deeper into the ocean. I really think I am a mermaid 😉

I have purchased the monthly float package which gives you a float a month for $59, additional 90 minute floats are $55. You can share the package with another person as well.

If you’re ready to go on a meaningful journey to relaxation and wellness I would recommend giving Floating a try!

In Edmonton you can contact Floatique Rest Centre HERE  or check listings in your city for Floatation Therapy.

Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean


Other Floating references

The Book of Floating -Exploring the private sea by Michael Hutchinson

Tanks for the memories- Floatation Tank Talks by John C. Lilly and E.J. Gold

Float Benefits.

Heightens the senses

Reduces chronic pain

Fosters healing

Maximizes training

Accelerates recovery

Reduces jet lag symptoms

Reduces stress/tension on the body during pregnancy

Lowers blood pressure

Subdues inflammation

Increases immune function

Increases magnesium levels

Provides relief during pregnancy

Be Embodied

Be W.I.S.E. Energize and free your mind. Chat soon. xo Michelle