Meet Dinuka Bandara of Elevation Floatation in Camberwell
Article posted: November 22, 2016
A floatation and yoga studio in Camberwell is allowing people to escape the daily grind and experience ultimate relaxation.
Elevation Floatation and Yoga opened its doors in August 2015 to offer people the floating experience – the practice of spending time in a flotation tank that is enclosed, and removes all visual, audible and physical stimulation. This sensory deprivation allows people to reach an altered state of consciousness and achieve deep relaxation.
The floatation tanks are filled with 40cm of water mixed with 550kg of Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) which removes any sensation of gravity, creates buoyancy and allows the user to easily float in the water.
In addition to floating, the studio also offers yoga, boxing, meditation and suspension training to give people a holistic health and wellness experience.
Director and co-founder Dinuka Bandara said business began solely as a floatation studio but in February 2016 they opened yoga classes and have since been adding other classes.
“We wanted to differentiate. We always wanted to create something new. We were always mindful of the costs involved but we wanted to retain that quality so we took our time and grew organically,” he said.
Bandara runs Elevation Floatation and Yoga with his business partner Shahin Motamedi. Studio manager Aiden Kramer assists with day-to-day operations.
All three men had an interest in health and wellness and wanted to do their own thing but they weren’t keen on opening another gym.
“We wanted to focus more on the recovery side and the mental aspect (of health and fitness),” Bandara said.
“If you are training very hard, it’s quite important to pay attention to rest, recovery, mindfulness and meditation. We wanted to create a community-driven environment that exemplifies these qualities.”
Go with the float
For those new to floating, the process is a simple one. It’s common for people to think that the experience might be claustrophobic but the tanks are spacious and the lids can be left ajar or fully open, if desired.
Stress-relief, relaxation and meditation are the main reasons why people like to float, Bandara said. Others enjoy the physical benefits such as allowing muscles to rest and recover after a hard workout, reducing stress hormones and getting the benefits of magnesium absorption.
“Magnesium helps with muscle recovery, joint health, stress management, sleep, and even digestion. It’s one of those minerals you can’t do without, especially if you’re a physically active person or live with a lot of stress. And floating is the best way to absorb it, other than orally. In fact, you absorb more of it through the skin when you’re in the tank,” Bandara said.
The magnesium sulphate in the water also offers a good way to keep the skin healthy. Normally, in a bath your skin would go wrinkly but it won’t in the floatation tanks. The minerals are absorbed and leave the skin hydrated.
Showers are provided for people to use before floating, to remove any excess oils or sweat from exercising. Then it’s as simple as climbing into the floatation tank and drifting into a relaxed state. Earplugs are supplied to avoid water from entering the ears and salt crusts from forming.
Each floating session begins with music, to gently ease people into the experience, and ends with music, to ensure there is no abrupt ending to the relaxation time.
Simply shower after the float session to remove any salt residue. Towels are provided to dry off.
The process is as simple as going with the flow – or, in this case, the float.
A unique experience
Floating and yoga are usually offered in isolation but now the benefits of both can be enjoyed.
“We’re Australia’s first combined floatation and yoga studio, and we also have fitness classes. It’s really a one-of-a-kind place,” Bandara said.
People undertaking a yoga class can continue their restful, meditative state by taking a float session afterwards, while those who do more intense physical workouts can float afterwards to reap the benefits of muscle recovery.
Bandara refers to this as a “holistic approach” to health and wellness.
“We’ve created our business around three pillars: elevate your mind, elevate your body, elevate your potential,” he said.
“We wanted to create a place that looks at things holistically, not just as ‘floatation will fix everything’ or ‘yoga will fix everything’. But if you can incorporate your recovery and your rest time, as well as yoga to stay limber and fitness to stay active and get the body moving, then that’s a more holistic approach.”
Floating also offers busy city folk the chance to disconnect without having to take an entire weekend off to do a retreat or get away to somewhere quieter.
“It’s like a mini vacation,” Bandara said.
“Work, life and stimulus is becoming so extensive and it tends to be too much of an overload. And people are not getting as much rest to counter balance that.
“While people are becoming more aware of health when it comes to their (physical) bodies they’re also realising the importance of keeping their minds healthy and giving it time off. And people love to find shortcuts to things. A floatation tank gives you all the benefits of someone who has been meditating for years in an hour’s session. You can slip into that zen state almost immediately.”