Monday, June 7, 2010

The Human Flowering Tea Experience

I've been absofrigginglutely FLAT OUT this side. Of course you know about the heavy personal stuff I've recently gone through. And then on the work front it's also been GOGOGO! So... Sorry for the radio silence on this end.

I'm back in Amsterdam now. We came back for the weekend, but only until today. Yes, that's right folks. We are going back to London AGAIN tomorrow for another week of edits. On the same job. (So you can imagine why my work-week was intense last week. We're supposed to be done already!)

Anyways, when I got back to Amsterdam on Saturday I decided it was time to treat myself - I went for a facial. Hehe. Halfway through it, I completely nodded off and suspect I was even snoring! (Only coz I think I woke myself up with one of my loud snores. HAHAHA!) The facialist (what do you call them again?) remarked "Wow, you're very tired today."

So on my way home, I walked past the floating spa and thought "Screw it, I deserve a relaxing day. I'm gonna try this out too."

In case you didn't know, a floating spa is just that - they put you in a salt water chamber (I think it's Epsom salts), close the door on you, and you just float in a tank - in complete darkness and silence. Of course, you can also opt to turn a light on inside the tank, or listen to piped-in underwater music.

(Picture credit here)

The floating spa, Koan Float, was part of the hotel I stayed at when I first got to Amsterdam, but I didn't think much about checking it out then. But then Grimmly mentioned it recently and I read the link from one of the comments and got even more intrigued what this was all about.

Good thing the place had just one more availability for me when I walked in - a very good sign. :)

So I got a massage first, then had to shower off all the massage oil before jumping into the flotation tank.

(Yeah, I actually took a picture of the shower before I got in. HAHAHA!)

I almost wanted to bring my camera in the tank with me too but then thought "it's salt water. Are you CRAZY?! What if I drop it?" So... you'll have to do with just an explanation of what the inside's like.

On the right hand side, there are buttons to control the interior light, air vent (if you get too hot and claustrophobic and need some ventilation) and also an intercom. On the left hand side, there are buttons to turn on/ off music and volume control too. The very nice lady explained that just before my time in the tank was up, the interior light would blink a few times, and then she would intercom me to let me know it's time to get out.

Oh, she also gave me earplugs... And after reading Grimm's commenter's experience, I figured I'd better just plug up my ears. I ALWAYS get water in my ears, even in a regular bath. And this time, I didn't wanna risk getting salt water in them. Yuck!

So with all procedures out the way, she left me to jump in. And so I did, butt naked and all. The first thing I thought of was "GROOOOOOOSS. I'm doing this at the end of the day. How many other people have been in here before me already?!" Hehe. I'm a clean freak.

After closing the lid, the second thing I thought of was "Where's the music?"

The moment I tried to sit down in the water, my legs immediately floated up. I imagine that's what the Dead Sea must be like. After a bit of kerfuffle trying to settle myself in the water, I lay down in it and Hey Presto! Like magic, my whole body was immediately floating in the water; it was effortless. Also, the music was already playing, UNDERWATER! (you couldn't hear it unless you were under the water)

Since it was my first time, I figured I'd leave the light and music on. But within a few minutes, they were quite a distraction so I turned them off.

And then it felt like I dropped off into the abyss. Complete pitch black darkness and silence.

The next thought I had was "My boobs are poking out of the water". HAHAHAHAHAHA! And then I thought... "If God were looking down now, he'd be pissing his pants laughing at this ridiculous situation." I mean... people pay good money for this?!? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

It's like laying in a very big bathtub, but the best part is you're not touching the sides or the floor of the tub. You're just floating the whole time. Dunno about you, but whenever I'm in a regular bath, I keep inhaling while underwater and trying to get myself to float just like that. With this experience, it's all there already.

I lay there thinking "Think of savasana"... but then I got distracted by whether I should face my palms up or palms down. The palms were up at first, but then I remembered Mel's post about Noah's thing about palms down in Savasana (and the other theory about how he was given it coz he was going through a divorce then, and that's kinda sorta what I'm going through now right)... So then of course my mental chatter brought me to thinking "OK, maybe I should go palms down too"... But after a while I started to get pins and needles in my hands (!) So then I settled for a midway point... palms facing into my body. Kinda like how they are if you're standing straight with your arms beside you.

The more I lay there, the more I started to feel my body relax. I could feel where I was holding tension coz when I brought my awareness to those parts, they just released. I felt like one of those flowering teas - y'know... you pour hot water onto this dried lump and it starts to unfurl and flower into a beautiful chrysanthemum or jasmine? Like this video:

That was me, the human flowering tea.

And then almost spontaneously, I started Ujjayi breathing, and then I went into Brahmari (Bumblebee) Pranayama... where you Ujjayi inhale, but you hum on the exhale "Hmmmmmmmm". I'd always found Brahamari very soothing, and while you're underwater, the humming takes on a different aural dimension - I found it even more ultra soothing. (Can you imagine if the lady was listening in on the intercom? HAHAHAHA!)

And the Brahmari helped me drop further into the abyss inside of myself. You know the deepest, most blissful Savasana you can get? It usually happens after 10 minutes in Savasana, for me at least... You drop off into the most quiet place inside where everything's at a standstill but you're so aware of this peace and tranquility enveloping your being. It felt like that, but even more relaxing coz there's no floor beneath you to stop the sinking feeling. You drop off, but then you keep dropping off coz you're floating and then it feels like you're becoming one with the water and then everything just melts into ONE.

At some point of being in this melted soup of Oneness, I felt lots of energy shooting out through my hands... In fact, my hands were actually quivering... I was shaking a bit, almost on the verge of tears. But good tears because I had a huge surge of feeling really good. Granted, I may be at an "emotionally tender" point in life right now, but it's pretty fantastic to be able to pick up on such little sensitivities.

By the time the light started blinking, signaling my time was up, I was ready to get out (my right earplug was starting to slip out and I kept having to adjust it!)

I left the spa feeling really serene and blissed out. Quite extraordinary, as I didn't really know what to expect. Being out of the water kinda made me connect to my body again in a different way - In a "Oh, there's gravity again" heavy, kind of way.

I was also glad to see the tank controls outside - the electronic signal read "Cleaning tank" in my room. PHEW!!! So they DO go through some kind of cleaning process between floating sessions. I snuck this shot while the lady wasn't looking. There, it says "Cleaning Tank" in the green strip. :)

Would I recommend this experience? HELL YEAH!

In fact, I know I'm definitely going back for more and will probably sign up for a package. If you're the claustrophobic type, they say you can leave the tank door wide open too... So it's definitely worth checking out, just for that feeling of weightlessness.

Can't wait till the next session. :)


  1. I would expect nothing less than full photo documentation from you... very well done! ha ha!!!

    Sounds like this experience was just what you needed. I'm glad you'll go back for more.

    Did you ever see the Simpson's episode where Homer gets in a deprivation chamber? The lid closes, you see his eyes in pitch darkness and then he says, "Boooooooring!"

    ha ha ha!!! My man and I imitated that for at least a year.

  2. Hahaha... yes, another first-class photo documentary! Wow, that sounds so cool, thanks for writing that out. I wonder where they have that in London? I'll definitely need to do something cool for myself for my birthday :) I hear we'll be having the pleasure of your company tonight, so see you soon!!

  3. I can't wait for mine now, getting excited about it. Susan, I'm going to Floatworks near London bridge for my birthday, here's the link

  4. Hey Liz! No, I've never seen that Simpsons episode but that sounds hilarious. At one point when I was laying in the tank, thinking my eyes were closed, I realized they were actually half-open. It was so pitch-black that it looked like my eyes were closed!

    Susan - yup! I'll probably be late as I've got a late client presentation and I'm in the West End. So you guys go ahead and I'll join you for dessert or something. And yes, definitely go treat yourself to the floating. I went in there with zero expectations, and that probably helped.

    Grimm! Can't wait to hear how your session goes. :)

  5. dear Skippetty
    thanks for sharing your interesting experience. did you ever worry you might fall asleep and drown? hehe. do you float so much that it would be impossible for your nostrils to go further below? it seems you have to have some conciousness the whole time.
    word verif "scaric" hmm, i wonder if the word verif generator was reading my post

  6. Hey Arturo, the beautiful thing about this is: you CAN fall asleep in the tank! People have been known to do so. Honestly - you are completely relaxed in the water, and you're still floating. It's coz there's so much salt in the water that it makes you float, just like the Dead Sea! So... there's no way you could drown in there. I was completely concussed "in the zone" and not even thinking about whether I was floating or not or rather... I wasn't even thinking if I was sinking or not, coz you just couldn't sink. :)


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