Professional Rock Climber Joshua reveals how he used floating in his recovery after a 25-meter free fall off Table Mountain
Out from the bright and bustling Cape Town pavement at the top of Orange street my chair is lifted gingerly over the little step at the entrance. I’m wheeled through a darkened passageway and ushered into a beautifully lit room tastefully decorated with a down to earth feeling. The pod looks like something from Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – a glowing white orb with a door open beckoning to those that pass by. I shimmy out of my clothing and pull on my swimming trunks. With great care I’m lowered into the pod, earplugs safely inserted – the silky warm solution embraces my body, I’m surprised by how buoyant it is. My carer checks that I’m ok and closes the door of the pod after showing me how to turn off the pod lights and where the button is to call for help.
As I let my head lean back and my ears submerse, the calming tones of relaxing music wash through the tank from under water speakers. I switch off the light and am confronted by pitch black darkness, the music continues, I know I am safe, however my spacial perception goes and I am left without any reference to orientate myself. I reach out to touch the side of the tank; I’m further left than I thought I would be, interesting… I center myself as best as I can. There is a sensation of tension in my back, shoulders and neck – like I’m trying to hold myself – I flip my palms to face upwards and my back melts into a neutral position, the tension begins to fade away. Although I am lying as still as I can – my mind believes I am spinning in cartwheels over my right shoulder – I keep reaching out to touch the wall of the pod to check and remind myself that I haven’t moved at all. The warm silky salt water isn’t deep, but as I slip into a comfortable relaxed state it could be a bottomless lake heated from deep within.
The difference between the temperature of the air, the water and my skin is so slight that the edges begin to blur. As I float, motionless, the impression arises that I’m lying on solid rock – no more cartwheels. Only when I take an especially deep breath can I feel the water on my skin. I sense as though I’m beginning to fall asleep after the chatter of the mind subsides, fleeting imagery of the pre-dream state starts to flicker on and off.
Although submerged in complete darkness the time spent floating is full of light; impressions, ideas, and subconscious emergence. The relaxing effect of the floating experience is really tangible when you get out and re-enter the everyday world. It is as if somehow you’ve received an infusion of codeine and wheatgrass – a few hours later an energetic lightness permeates from within – fresh, sparkly and ready for anything……