An Interview With Jeff Ono of Pause Float Studio

Posted by AllSwell Creative on

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Jeff Ono at Pause Float Studio

We’re fans of saltwater in any form and recently found a new way to get our dose. Nourishing? Check! Relaxing? Triple check! Sensory deprivation is what Pause Float Studio is all about. The meditative practice buoys you in 1,000 pounds of epsom salt. Your sense of touch fades away in room temp water. The lights go out and sounds dissipate.

We chatted with Pause Float’s founder Jeff Ono about their beginnings, the power of disconnection, the huge creative benefits of sensory deprivation and more. Sit back, relax and enjoy the read. And join us this Saturday (February 4th) for another sea-inspired AllSwell workshop at Pause Float Studio. More on that below.

How did Pause Float come about?

As a former executive in the health and fitness industry and former athlete, I had heard of flotation therapy and the myriad of benefits, however I never felt compelled to try it.  But 2014 was a year of transition. I told myself that I had balance, perspective and was living in the present. My soul was telling me something different. Experiences, no matter how breathtaking, didn’t excite me. I constantly felt as though I had been there done that. I wasn’t aware. I was tired. Depleted. Something had to give - I had twins on the way.

Enter flotation therapy. My first session was at the end of a long day. I was told to expect nothing, embrace nothing. That concept was so damn foreign it was difficult to grasp. After some time the lights went out. When I emerged from the float pod, I had no idea what happened. I don’t think I slept, but I couldn’t account for all the time I was in the pod. What was crystal clear was that I felt different.

Being in the health and fitness industry for 15+ years, I had grown quite skeptical of many new health and wellness modalities, especially those that espoused the mind body connection but as I was driving home I vividly remember looking at myself in the rear-view mirror and saying, “Holy shit.” I felt light. Giddy. My body felt refreshed. It felt as though I had awakened from a deep night’s sleep, but I also felt the endorphin-induced haze experienced after a competitive event. I was hooked.

That was in 2014, since then I have been working to design a float experience that was warm, clean, welcoming and attainable for people from all walks of life as I firmly believe that everyone needs to float. Everyone needs a counter-balance to this 24/7 connectivity that has engulfed nearly everyone.  

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Pause Float Studio’s Lobby

What makes creativity so powerful?

Creativity fuels human growth and brings us closer to utilizing our full potential as individual beings and as a collective planet. Creativity brings joy. Creativity allows us to step back into that special place where limits and restrictions are absent. The place where anything and everything is possible. There is no better illustration of the power of creativity then in the pure joy and unadulterated passion that I see in the faces of my two-year old twins when they are at play with a cardboard box that is actually a state-of-the-art spaceship. A rock that is actually an undiscovered planet. A glass of spilt water that is actually a roaring waterfall cascading into a river.

How does sensory deprivation encourage creativity?

As you lay back, your body floats weightlessly, buoyed by the salts, freeing you from the pull of gravity. The body-temperature water relaxes your sensation of touch. The lights and sounds fade, easing you into serene darkness and perfect silence. Your heartbeat and breathing slows. Your body unwinds. By eliminating your sensory overload, your body and mind get to truly relax.

Your brain drifts into the half-awake, half-dreaming Theta state. Typically we pass through Theta on our way to deep sleep or when we wake up, but when floating, you are able to capture that brain frequency for an extended period of time. One of the hallmarks of Theta state is the activation of the right side of the brain and the quieting of the left side of the brain, which is contrary to what most of experience in our waking lives. Basically, when floating, the creative side of the brain is let out to play.

What’s on your reading list?

Center of the Cyclone - The father of floatation therapy, John Lilly’s autobiography, chronicling his journey from mainstream science to the more esoteric places in the human mind.

A Long Way Home - This book is the autobiography of Saroo Brierly from which the movie Lion was based upon. The movie killed me. It is an absolute must see and I hope the book is able to take me deeper into his story.

The Moon Juice Cookbook: Cosmic Alchemy for a Thriving Body, Beauty and Consciousness - I’ve got two year old twins that need better food-love from their non-cooking, fried food indulgent, pastry addicted daddy.

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A Sensory Deprivation Tank at Pause Float Studio

When’s the last time you put pen to paper?

Last week, after an early AM float, I laid down some random thoughts in our Pause post-float journal. I typically don’t contribute to our communal diary, but with all that we are getting hit with in the news I was compelled to share a few thoughts, regrets and hopes.

What’s your favorite body of water?

Tough question. Water is my home as I have spent most of my life in various pools and oceans – literally feel more at home in water than on land. Could easily call out a few of the pools that I spent endless hours training, teaching, coaching and cultivating lifelong friendships in, but the body of water that I’m most emotionally drawn to is the Gulf of Thailand in the South China Sea which was the setting for a life-changing journey with the most epic water-sports, scuba diving, fishing adventures, of my life.


This Saturday (February 4th) our immersive water-inspired seminar heads to Pause Float Studio from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. What’s that entail? We’ll be putting #pentopaper with our founder Laura Rubin to access your creative flow, diving deep into unanswered questions and chronicling the shifting tides of life. Give Pause Float a call (310) 439-1972 or shoot ‘em an email hi@pausefloatstudio.com to reserve your spot.

Inspire yourself with a little #pentopaper lovin’. Grab an AllSwell notebook today.

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