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Show Highlights

Not every float is going to be pure bliss. Sometimes the anxiety doesn’t go away. Sometimes that back pain is still there. Are there ways to float with intention to help control the outcome of a float?

Graham and Ashkahn share their thoughts on techniques intended on getting the most out of your float and things that may work, as well as the perils of trying to control how your float goes.

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Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)

Ashkahn: Alright, hey.

Graham: Hey everybody.

Ashkahn: How’s it going?

Graham: I am Graham.

Ashkahn: Good, I’m Ashkahn.

Graham: Great. And today’s question is, “Is there something one should focus on in the float tank? I did a float today and did not become less anxious. I have-” That’s it. The question ends. It ends there, “I have.” So I don’t know, maybe they got really panicky sending in.

Ashkahn: I hope they’re okay. Maybe a bird came and-

Graham: Yeah. They probably meant to say, “I have a big crush on both of you”, but then kind of backed off at the last second.

Ashkahn: Will you go to prom with me, yes or no?

Graham: “I have a sick ride to prom”. Cool, but yeah. So is there a right way to float, almost, or is there a certain exercise you should do during floating maybe specifically for anxiety?

Ashkahn: I found, personally, that I don’t have as much control, if almost any control over exactly what my float is going to be like. I’ve gone in with a lot of intentions before. I guess for me, it’s more, I like to do a lot of like problem solving, or thinking through things in a float tank. So sometimes I’ll go and be like, “Oh, think about this thing.” I’ll think through that while I’m in there, and I get in into the float tank and it’s just like “Nope!”, and it just completely derails what I thought I was going to be thinking about, and does something completely different.

That’s maybe a little bit different than the question they’re asking. I feel like there’s almost a, “Are there exercises you can do to try to relax in there?”, or something like that, aspect to that.

Graham: Well, yeah for sure and I guess it’s-

Ashkahn: Or how much intentionality should you go into a float with?

Graham: Yeah, and the question is read like “should”. Is there exercises one “should” do in the float tank?

Ashkahn: Yeah, so-

Graham: My answer to that is no.

Ashkahn: We’re very much purists, like just kind of go in and let it happen sort of thing.

Graham: Yeah, in fact, that’s my strategy for floating is very much that. I find if any one thing’s going to mess up my floats more than anything else, it’s going in with expectations, or like Ashkahn said, with a plan.

Ashkahn: I mean, sometimes I’ll be like, “Aw man, I’m really tired”, or something like that, “I bet a float would be good right now.” But I can’t even expect that to actually work.

Graham: Yeah, I was going to say. When you hop in there, and you’re like, “Time to conk out.” Then that’s when you think about whatever it was you’re supposed to think about two floats ago. Yeah, it’s like a truism, I think, that the float tank is really good at giving you what you need, but not necessarily what you want.

Sometimes it won’t actually give you what you need, either. Sometimes you have a float and you come out more anxious, and that’s just how things go. The float tanks are not this silver bullet for things you have going wrong with you. In fact, really it’s just salt water tubs, and it’s you cruising there, and it just turns out being relaxed, and floating and being in this weightless, kind of senseless environment.

Ashkahn: Yeah.

Graham: Does do a lot of benefit for human beings, but that’s not guaranteed. You shouldn’t feel weird that you had a weird float. Nothing’s wrong with you. I’ve had weird float where I get out and I’m like, “Wow, that was a really weird one.”

Ashkahn: So yeah, I think it’s hard to go in with any intention because the float tank won’t listen to you. Just like whatever happens in there will happen. I think you have better floats when you just kind of accept that.

Graham: That said, Ashkahn and I have put together kind of a relaxation meditation track. I would highly recommend listening to the sonorous sounds of our voice when you’re floating. Maybe you’d find that produces a little less anxiety.

Ashkahn: Best floats I’ve ever had.

Graham: We can just kind of guide you through our favorite travel experiences, going through customs. That’s one of our tracks. Yeah.

Ashkahn: You can buy it on our website. It’s just $500 per track.

Graham: Which is such a steal.

Ashkahn: It’s a bargain.

Graham: Yeah. Okay, so the other side. Getting serious again. We’re getting serious with you guys.

Ashkahn: Okay, okay. All right, I’m serious, too.

Graham: You don’t look serious. There are things that I know that our customers find useful for themselves. Like I personally always go in with no expectations. I just kind of let the float do what it wants. I know other people who go in and oftentimes, it’s people who have a separate meditative practice. But they have things that they really like doing that help them kind of get into their meditative zone.

Some of those are breathing exercises, some of them are actually even a little bit of chanting. Some of them are just taking themselves through almost an autohypnosis induction, which you can do both verbally and just by thinking about it. So, if you are looking for something that you might find even a little more calming. And along with all those, too, I should say there are actual tracks that you can listen to. Not me and Ashkahn, but serious ones.

We are float purists that tend to just want yourself in the float tank. But look up meditation exercises, look up breathing exercises, look up auto-induction of hypnosis. All of those things I know people have had a lot of luck with when they personally have trouble relaxing and need kind of a practice to grab on to.

Ashkahn: But also, I like-

Graham: A crutch.

Ashkahn: I like to encourage people to not have expectations or intentions or things like that going into the floats, because I feel like it could be easy to get into this place where you’re like, “Well, that wasn’t like the type of float I was hoping to have. It was a bad float.” I just don’t feel like it’s quite like that. I think you just got in the float tank, and what happens is what happens. They’re good in different ways for different reasons, from time to time. But I don’t want people kind of feeling this, “I’m trying to have this relaxing float, and I didn’t get that today. Man, that was an unsuccessful float.”

So I think there is some good things like that that can help people. Maybe if they especially have difficulty relaxing or things like that. I think those things can be more helpful. But I do want to encourage people to kind of think about the fact that whatever experience they have in theirs is maybe good for a different reason. It’s not that they can force their float to specifically go in one direction or another.

Graham: Yeah, for sure. Some of like I had said before. I’ve had challenging floats. But getting out of them, sometimes those have, in the end, been some of the most valuable. If you do have anxiety, maybe it is there for a reason. We have human emotions for a reason. Sometimes they go haywire, which is, anxiety can get out of control, and you can have chronic anxiety. But going into a float tank and still feeling anxious coming out, it doesn’t mean that anything’s wrong with that experience, or even wrong with your anxiety in that moment. We kind of go through things and process them based on cues in our environment, and often our reactions are valuable for some kind of reason.

And again, float tanks aren’t a panacea. So it’s nothing wrong with you. Everyone can go into a float tank hoping that their back will unwind and get a little comfortable. Sometimes it will, and sometimes they’ll come out and their shoulder still hurts. The same goes for anxiety. So yeah, try floating again and it might just help again. In the meantime, look into that $500 track that Ashkahn and I were talking about.

Ashkahn: It’s good. So yeah, I hope you’re okay out there, questioner. Hope everything’s good. And if you have some questions that you want to ask us-

Graham: Or you want to send us proposed fit-ins to the sentence of this question, either way.

Ashkahn: You can go to FloatTankSolutions.com/podcast.

Graham: And we will talk to you tomorrow.

Ashkahn: See you later.

Graham: Daily Solutions out.

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