Think back to the last time you dedicated part of your day just to stop and stretch out your muscles? I’m not talking about the slight stretch you feel when bending over to pick up something off the floor, or a quick reach of your arms up in the air when rising out of bed. Think yoga-type stretching.
If it was just recently I’m willing to wager that, like most people, it was probably before or after you did some sort of physical activity. Whether that be running, working out at the gym or playing basketball with some friends. That’s because most of us (including myself) usually associate stretching with fitness and we often overlook the other physical and mental benefits that can come from introducing stretching into our daily lives.
It's easy to overlook but stretching is very important to your health.
It reduces tension and also increases energy levels (and I know we could all use a little of that.) But also, stretching provides relief from pain, increased flexibility, better range of motion of the joints, greater circulation of the blood, stress relief and improved posture. It seriously improves your overall well-being with long term effects.
Now that you’re probably considering adding stretching into your daily activities, let me also tell you why you should stretch before and after you float. Fortunately for you, it should only add about 10-20 minutes to your normal routine.
Stretching is just one method to get you into the floating zone. Think of it like pre-workout for floating. It gets you into the right mindset and allows your body to mentally and physically prepare for relaxation. Plus, stretching almost guarantees that you'll be less tense from the moment you step into the tank, making it easier to relax and let go.
Stretching before your float also acts as a time to reflect on your day and overall thoughts and then use that to find a focus or set an intention for your float session. Just like in floating and meditation, deep breathing is vital during stretching so you do not get injured or pull any muscles. So, this is a good time to practice those deep breathing skills of yours too.
Mind Body Connection
I know when I float, my mind wonders for at least the first 10 minutes but stretching allows me to really focus in on my muscles and bring my attention back to the body. Therefore, further connecting my mind and body before hopping in the tank.
When your float session is over, it’s extremely useful to end by reversing the process, coming out the same way you went in. The warm salt water dramatically aids in muscle relaxation so you should feel more flexible after your float. You won't need to take as much time to stretch after your float as you would beforehand, but it's still a good practice while you're "coming back to earth" after a float session.
A few more tips:
For best results, stretch and float around the same time every day.
One minute rule: Always stretch for at least 1 minute. Even if you “don’t have time” that day. One long, focused stretch is better than 5 quick stretches.
Find a place to stretch that you feel comfortable in. You can either stretch in the tank or outside before and after getting in.
**Please note, no stretching is required to float but is recommended to be used in conjunction with each other.
Exercise or not – float or not – stretching is a good thing to consider adding into your daily routine. Luckily, anyone can learn to stretch, regardless of age or flexibility. Over time it will begin to come more natural and who knows, it might even start to feel good.
Have you had a positive experience using stretching with floatation? Tell us about it in the comments below!