Mindfulness + Floating
I used to be the guy that thought meditation was silly, now that I understand a bit better I am exactly the opposite. You see I didn’t know what the point of meditation was, rather it seemed as if it was a state of being that people got to, some elevated or different world within their head. Which could still be the case for some just not myself. I now use meditation often to help myself become more aware of the world around me. Being a chef I am always going 100 miles an hour and am used to 5 things going on in my head all the time. The soup simmering on the stove, a pan of mushrooms roasting, Braised short ribs in the oven, that menu I need to make for an upcoming event, food deliveries coming in, employees being late. It’s almost always all happening at the same time and when I get home it’s hard to turn off. Even waking up in the morning it’s my default mode, I immediately begin thinking of everything that needs to be done in the day.
My journey into meditation began from listening to the Tim Ferris show and it seemed as if most of the high preforming guest had some sort of meditation practice. I had no idea where to start until I found out about the headspace app. It’s really a great app that teaches you how to set everything aside and focus on the current feelings, mood, and space. It’s crazy to think that my brain was always busy that I didn’t even realize the fan in the living room creaks as it spins on a low setting. If you have never meditated and want a great starting point I highly suggest it.
Within the last couple years Floating has come to my attention. No, not like the float trip on the river where you drink until you pass out and then somehow magically end up home with the help of a DD. Although, both are a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, the floating I am talking about is essentially taking away all your senses for 90 minutes at a time. At the end, you emerge feeling as if you just had the best night of sleep ever and ready to take on the world. But, you were awake the entire time, or where you? The water you lay in is loaded with 3000 pounds of salt so you magically float at the very top with no problem, it’s also heated to exactly body temperature so you don’t know where the water begins or ends making it feel as if you’re floating in air. Then you close the lid which blocks all light and noise leaving you with nothing but your thoughts.
So why am I telling you this? While meditating with headspace I get to that point for about 1-2 minutes which is great to help you start or end your day but what about the years of stress and strain on your body and mind? Think about it, when was the last time you could truly relax for that amount of time. Maybe that time when you were on vacation sitting on a quit beach, perfect weather, and nothing but the sound of the ocean? Or that time you were hiking on some trails and got to the top of a peak overlooking a valley and you took 5 minutes to sit and enjoy the moment? In our modern society, these moments are few and far between.
My First Float with Float StL was eye opening for sure. The second I entered I knew I was in a place that was tailored for me. And by me, I mean anyone willing to walk through those doors, and is interested in investing in themselves. Just like the gym, Mindfulness is something that you must work at. It doesn’t just appear overnight. You must train for it. Every bit of the experience at Float STL is thoughtfully put together from the waiting area to the float rooms themselves, it immediately starts to remove the outside world and get to the state of relaxation.
For the First ten minutes of the Float they play music that is ambient and calming and for the remaining 80 minutes it is completely silent. When the music ended on my first float I thought to myself, “This is going to be a long 80 Minutes.” And then somehow within what seemed like a blink of an eye the music began to play again softly saying the float has ended. I’m still not sure if I feel asleep or if I was awake because I remember having thoughts, but how did it go by so fast? I personally think that it was the first time in a very long time that my mind and body could truly relax and let go. Somewhere between sleep and meditation I got out feeling completely reset and ready to start my day.
I have been two times since and it’s a little bit different each time but, just like honing a knife, I come out a bit sharper each time ready to take on my world of simmering soups, roasting mushrooms, vendor deliveries, and that employee that’s always late.
If you would like to learn more check out the website for Float STL here
Until Next Time,
Chef Josh Charles