A total mind-body re-boot
A friend and I had seen a flyer for ‘Aerial Relaxation Pods’. Imagine turquoise blue hammocks hanging from metal beams from which humans can hibernate. The flyer stated that the aerial relaxation pods had ‘live ambient music’. The whole thing sounded mysterious, intriguing – a perfect exploration in my year of self-care.
We had booked the session online weeks ago. And it was barely in my consciousness. I woke up on that day feeling sick. I had been up all night with a high temperature with shivers running hot and cold in an otherwise very warm day. My stomach felt like it had a tsunami in it. Some kind of stomach bug.
I somehow managed to get through the working day and was desperate to get home. However, I’d made a commitment, and didn’t want to let my friend down. I also wondered if an hour and a half of being suspended in a pod would somehow help my immune system and kickstart my body back to health.
The sessions are run in the Skylight Centre, on Corsica Street, across the road from Highbury and Islington tube station. Ours ran from 7 to 8:30 but there is a second slot from 8:30 to 10.
I arrived and met my friend who looked as exhausted as I felt. She said she had been working nights for 3 nights in a row and was desperate for sleep (she is a midwife). I told her I had a temperature and a stomach bug but was still keen to give the pods ago. My brain felt completely scrambled and I felt tiredness etched deep into every bone in my body.
We were invited inside, took off our shoes and put our belongings to one side. The centre is an open space, and was beautifully light. The ‘pods’ or silken turquoise blue hammocks, were hanging up and looked spectacular.
Seth, the guy who runs the sessions talked us through what would be happening. We were invited to initially sit down on the hammock and just to connect with what it felt like to feel our weight on it. I found this reassuring as I confess, I was convinced it would collapse under my weight.
We were shown how to get into the hammock in a very step-by-step an easy way. I had expected to be lying across the hammock so that my head and feet were matching the lines of the hammock. To my surprise, we were invited to lie transversely across the hammock and pull the blue sheeting over our head and over our feet and so in effect, we were in a pod.
Seth and his colleague came by and made sure we were comfortable and in the right position to completely relax for an hour and a quarter. By now we will all in our pods. The world was blue. It was a strange but deeply comforting to be ensconced in this turquoise blue sheet, suspended weightless in air.
In the ariel pod, because we were lying transversely, I found myself swaying backwards and forwards. It felt as if I had regressed back to being a baby and was being rocked to and fro.
I was ready to fall into a deep sleep, but Seth invited us to do some initial exercises which, he said, would enable our body to relax further and so deeped our experience. This involved breathing exercises and then relaxing different muscles in the body.
I was aware of some pain in my lower back and on the left-hand side of my neck (ongoing structural problems). I was surprised that breathing into those areas and breathing out did actually help to relieve the tension. I made a mental note to remember this tip.
We then focused on humming, breathing out in a gentle hum. This initially sounded odd. But when I gave it a go, it felt as if something was gently being released out of my body. I found myself relaxing and letting go and at some point my mind stopped worrying about trying to keep a tab on what was happening and simply let go.
I’m wondering how to describe the rest of the session. All I can say is that I entered a space of extreme relaxation. The pod was still. I was aware of somebody speaking far away. I could also hear the ambient music. But the sense of being warm and enveloped in fluffy blankets and being suspended weightlessly all came together and took me to another place.
At some point in in the proceedings, I was aware of a female voice asking if I would like a little lavender pad placed across my eyes. I managed a murmur of consent and was instantly aware of the strong smell of lavender and something on my forehead. She very gently pushed me and I had enjoyed the sense of swaying to and fro again.
I must have fallen asleep. Before I knew it, we were being invited to come back into the room, asked to take some deep breaths and to come back into our bodies.
It was a struggle to return. I stretched my toes and then my limbs. I sat up. It was like awakening from a very deep sleep in a strange place – you know – it can take a moment to get your bearings.
I was struck by how my mind was completely blank. There was not a single thought; not a single worry in it. I am rubbish at meditating because I can’t stop thinking. I imagine this is what deep meditation must be like; what it must feel like to enter a state of Nirvana.
My friend and I left. Somehow, we felt closer, but neither of us wanted to speak – it all seemed too much of an effort.
When I got home, my family looked at me and asked me how the session had gone. I told them that I really didn’t want to speak. I didn’t want my mind to be infested with any kinds of thought. I wanted to enjoy it being empty for as long as possible. I went straight to bed, had a beautiful sleep and woke up the next morning feeling very, very relaxed
As I sit in my armchair and think about the session now, I want more. I want to feel this relaxed more often. I want to give my brain a break from processing all that stuff more often. I’m wondering what it would be like to regularly go to the pods and have regular sessions. And what that would do to my brain and my body. For about £18 a session I think the sessions are very good value for money. Especially when you compare them to other therapies. I would definitely consider making visits to aerial relaxation pods a regular part of my self-care routine.
Invitation for feedback
How can you create some down time to give your mind-body a chance to shut down and re-boot?
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