If you haven't heard about them before, basically they are pods, half filled with water with a couple of shovel fulls of Epsom salts, basically the Dead sea in a giant bucket. You strip, off, shove in some earplugs (provided) get in, close the lid and float for an hour. At floatworks they give you ear plus, a fluffy white towel (costs an extra pound) there's a shower in the room with the pod for before and after (nice blueberry shampoo in the shower by the way).
I'm sure you can guess the claims that are made for this, theta waves this, Dali lama grade meditation state after a three ticket packet that and so on and so forth. To be honest it doesn't need the hard sell, it's the dead sea in a bucket, in the dark and without a beach full of screaming kids, what more could you want? well, Yoga.
So I got in, naked , there I said it, closed the lid, switched off the light inside and waited for them to turn the room light off, click, pitch black. They play some tape with the sound of waves for ten minutes (and again at the end to let you know your time is about up) and then that fades and there's nothing but the sound of your breathing. This was quite loud as I thought I'd try some pranayama. I engaged bandhas too but that was enough to make me drift into the side and bang my head. I softened the breathing but focused on the breath and I think I drifted off for a few minutes.
I didn't see the point of spending my hour sleeping and to be honest I can meditate better on my cushion at home so ended up doing some yoga. And here I think I'm on to something, flotation tank yoga. I should say I got lucky and was given tank number 8 which is twice the size of the usual one(think that's it in the picture above, guess it was the only one free when they took the photos). I tried some simple postures, tree pose at first but then moved on to padmasana, a kind of floating lotus. I did try sitting up to see if it would keep me afloat but I sank. The good think about lotus in the big tank was that with my hands in angeli on my chest, elbows gently supported by the water, I could float round and round and if you bent a little at the waist and gave yourself a little push you could spin quite nicely.
After a little while I got adventurous and tried Supta vajrasana, which was the highlight of the float, there I am in the picture above, now imagine it without the bolster or indeed the floor, really really nice. I tried a few others, started on leg behind head, getting as far as my shoulder but I would have had to take my foot over my face to get behind my head and didn't want to risk getting the salt water in my eye, shame, can you imagine floating in Kasyapasana?
When the music started to tell me my time was up I unfurled my legs, stretched them for a bit then rolled over. I tried a quick Bhekasana (frog pose) which amused me no end, as well as Dhanurasana and then that was that.
So flotation tanks, nice for power naps on your lunch break I imagine and probably a fine place to meditate, but for some gentle sans mat sans floor yoga it's certainly worth a try.
I have another ticket, it'll probably be the smaller tank but I'm taking suggestions for flotation tank yoga postures, any suggestions?