SENSORY DEPRIVATION AS A PRACTICE
As a flotationist, I have a sensory deprivation practice. It is one of the many reasons I work at Isolate. Frequently I am asked by our clients, “How often should I float?” and “How often do you float?” In my experience, the effects of frequent flotation are cumulative.The more you get into the float tank, the more you will get out of it. For most, the therapeutic physiological benefits of isolation flotation are sustained up to a week after a session. The question of how often to float is dependent upon what you are seeking. For this reason, I view sensory deprivation as a practice. It is a practice in the same way that yoga and mindfulness are practices. Sensory deprivation thrives on intentionality; the float tank is a tool for body, mind, and spirit. As expectations are released, understanding springs from the water and from the mind.
Framing a sensory deprivation practice
A float practice is about creating a relationship with yourself in an environment free from external stimulation. The float tank gently places you in the “here-and-now”. It is you and your inner world in the present moment. The grip of stress, pain, and anxiety is released and new energy flows through you from an environment crafted for deep restoration. In this space, your journey organically unfolds. There are paths to consult with creativity and paths to pass through pain. There are paths to optimal recovery and high performance. And deeper still, there are paths to explore the liminal space between dream and reality, awake and asleep. Your commitment to a practice creates your path, your journey. It is about getting into the tank consistently and with intentionality.
Exploring your practice
As your practice develops, you will find what works best for you and for your needs. Do you prefer to float in the morning maintaining that post-float glow for the rest of the day? Do night time floats work better for you to decompress, releasing the day’s events? Your sensory deprivation practice is unique and personal to you. For some, writing in a journal before and after their session adds remarkable value to their experience. For others, combining modalities, such as massage, yoga, exercise, biofeedback, etc. before or after their session synergistically enriches both. As your path unfolds, enjoy the journey, this process of understanding your relationship with yourself. Revel in the introspection. By learning to use the tank as your tool, you distil your essence. Your path is ready, are you?
My sensory deprivation practice
Over the last three years, I have explored a variety of the applications the tank has to offers. I float once a week at minimum. This is maintenance mode. It provides me with the stress relief and recovery my body and mind need. There have been times in my life that I have floated daily, but I strive for 3-4 times per week. Daily floating is transformational. The water sprouts the seeds of the soul. Daily floating is dynamic and powerful but requires dedication, just like any practice. Creating a flotation practice has been invaluable. It has deepened my meditation practice. It has allowed me to understand where I hold stress in my body and how to let it go. My journey enhances my creativity, provides insights into my life, and the motivation to improve my wellbeing. The sensory deprivation experience is an integral part of my life, and it has become part of my journey.
About the author
Joshua Weaver is a flotationist at Isolate float center in Boulder, CO. Over the past three years, he has spent several hundred hours in the float tank. He is the founder of Tankism, a site dedicated to exploring the applications of isolation flotation. He has spent extensive time studying John C. Lilly, exploring consciousness, practicing yoga, meditating, biohacking, and most importantly floating.