The Māori words Hōtoke and Makariri are used to describe winter or coldness and refer to the time between June and August each year, which are typically the coldest, dreariest period in New Zealand. In the ancient Māori culture, winter was associated with the star Sirius or Takurua (“Takurua hūpē nui” translates to “winter, when your nose runs”). In our modern lives, it can be a tough time to adjust to and, if we don’t get to fly off on a beach holiday, can feel impossible to escape. So, if we can’t avoid it why not try and make the best of it?
Naturally, winter has always been an opportunity to enter a state of quietness and rest, spending time inside our homes, feeding ourselves with nourishing, warming foods and gathering with our families and friends to keep us cosy and protected during this period of shorter and darker days. We are more inclined to turn inwards and allow ourselves to give into the stillness and darkness of the winter months during this time of year.
Float Tanks as Tools
With the above in mind, our beloved float tanks can offer the perfect sanctuary. Like other practices which can support us in becoming more aware and exploring our own body and mind, floating seems like the perfect tool made for this time of year. Unlike the hot and warm summer months, where our instincts tell us to be outside and more active, we have the chance to listen to our bodies and make space for stillness.
Floating is ideal to meet these needs. Gliding into the water after a warm shower and floating on its soft surface without distraction for an hour promotes such bliss! You can lie there surrounded by moist air and observe the colourful lights or turn them off and enjoy absolute darkness and silence. Get the most out of these winter months: give yourself permission to enter a state of rest, not just physically, but also mentally and within your heart. It’s the time to be more yin-like with our energy, more passive, even if our modern lifestyles, busy jobs, families and other “duties” don’t often allow us to give into the nature of the quiet months.
An Extra Bonus
With winter also being the time of the year when flus and colds sneak their way into our system, there is a nice bonus to floating during this time. The reason why you float in the first place is the presence of 500kg Epsom Salt dissolved in the water. This naturally-occurring mineral will ease muscle aches and help you get a good night’s rest, which we all know does us a heck of a lot of good.
People also flock to the float tanks in winter because of the pleasant temperature inside the pod. The warmth of the water (heated to 34.5°C to 35.5°C) is designed to match with your skin surface temperature and create an optimal environment for your float. Neither too hot nor too cold, this will help to fully relax as the water-air boundary become indistinguishable. You’ll feel like you’re floating on a big, fluffy cloud! Now if that isn’t the perfect escape from winter, I don’t know what is.
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