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Floating At Arte Mentales
If you’ve never been in a floatation tank devoid of gravity, mysteriously drawn away from your sensory functions, I’m excited to share with you – it’s a trip with lucid benefits. Those who have know it to be a consoling experience; an escapism from external stimuli.
This was my third time. The first was in Amsterdam in a small pod for 45 minutes. Second was at a hippy commune in California, were I spent a total of 7 hours overnight in a deprivation tank, attempting to catch up on years of lost sleep (one hour is said to be equivalent of 4-5 hours traditional slumber).
My third experience took place at Artes Mentales (Mental Arts) here in Puerto Vallarta.
I arrived early in the morning and had a look at the breathtaking view of the ocean and natural surroundings, visible from most of their property. The expansive building houses a grand hall, an outdoor area with pool, a kitchen and bar, conference rooms, a spa and the tanks. One of their therapists escorted me down an outdoor spiral staircase, passed some fish tanks, into the spa.
Inside A Flotation Tank
I was given a robe to change into and directed to my private area which was divided into a changing room, a shower and the tank. I showered and put in ear plugs, ready for entry into the womb-like room. Two or three people could actually fit, but the point is to have time alone, so in alone I went.
The water level came up to my hips. It was eerily quiet apart from the occasional dripping noise of condensation falling from the ceiling. I got myself into float position by simply lifting my feet off the floor and holding onto the sides. You don’t have to try. The 500 kilos of Epsom salts keep you from being able to do anything else. You just float, like a cork! You cannot turn around, and even if you fell asleep, no problem. I pulled the door to see if it still opened. I touched all four sides of the dark chamber. I checked in with my breathing and with my heart, to see it wasn’t racing.
Amidst the buyoncy of my body trying to fight against the weightlessness came annoyances. The saltywater was stinging every little cut or pimple on my body, and leaking into my ear canals. I could feel that my hair had taken on a buyoncy of it’s own and was spreading out everywhere.
It took a while to stop the thinking, get centered and present. Memories of the week; any problems and emotional pain rose up first. Somewhere in the complete silence I realised that holding onto these thoughts for the duration would be a complete waste of the experience, so I let them come up and let them go, one-by-one.
I imagined them floating down into some kind of dark abyss underneath the tank, where all problems were sucked away out of my life, out of my mind.
Holding tension anywhere within my body became useless. The salt water fights your muscles, telling tension it has no business interrupting your comfort, and literally cocoons you within a full-body relaxant.
Space And Time Is Yours
I can’t tell you what you will experience inside a flotation tank, it’s different for everyone, personal and private.
It can be a confessional box without the priest, or a moment in time when realization occurs. The space can make you realize you are someone big and powerful, whilst simultaneously making you feel you are nothing, the small dot in the universe.
Some have lucid dreams, others figure out answers, some relax like never before. People with chronic pain get temporary relief from suffering, and this can happen with the mind also.
Back To Reality
When the lights come on at the end the struggle is real to get back to real life. Artes Mentales have this down to a fine art by letting you get ready at your leisure with a hot shower and then a visit to their extremely plush bathroom, equipped with hairdryer and every item you could need.
The slow pace continues when you go back upstairs. I was treated to a tea of my choice and homemade bread. They even have a dog named ‘Flip-Flops’-who will happily sit and chill out, whilst you contemplate the rest of your day.
Artes Mentales offer workshops and seminars for individuals and businesses, house a co-working space and open for special events including catering in their kitchen. If you’d like more information contact them here for prices.
For ninety blissful minutes I had enjoyed complete silence in the dark, and I loved it. Tranquility is rare in Puerto Vallarta, a city hugely populated, and life can be one big fiesta.
I saw and heard there to be construction next to the property as I left to get my Uber. All I had just heard was the dripping condensation of healthy me-time.
I was already craving this experience again – some time to get away, without going away.