If you’re into meditation, esoteric wisdom or inner work, there is a good chance you would have heard of Wim Hof and his famous breathing technique. Wim Hof is a Dutch extreme athlete who has climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, ran a marathon around the arctic circle and has sat submerged in an ice bath for 2 hours with no changes to his core body temperature. All of this done with no shoes, no shirt and only his underwear on.
This has baffled scientists because up until now, no one has been able to control their core body temperature while exposed to extreme environments. How is it humanly possible to survive running a marathon in extreme freezing temperatures wearing nothing but your jocks?
By combining 3 practices of Controlled Deep Breathing, Cold Conditioning and Simple Meditation, Wim Hof has the ability to control his own central nervous system making him able to completely ignore the hostilities of the outer world by going deep within himself to achieve physically and mentally impossible tasks.
What’s great about this is that anyone can utilise these 3 practices, not to break world records but to be able to achieve an indestructible inner peace that we all possess.
So, what is the Wim Hof Method?
1. Deep breathing
You may have heard that taking a deep breath can help you remain calm. Well it’s true, inhaling oxygen provides our cells with energy. Imagine what breathing in a large amount of oxygen would do for your body. Wim Hof’s breathing technique utilises sessions of intense deep breathing approximately 30-40 breaths in and out to fill your lungs with oxygen, this should be done while laying down though because you can get quite dizzy. After the deep breathing you simply hold your breath for as long as you can.
Because of the increased oxygen in your lungs this allows you to hold your breath for much longer periods of time actively slowing down your heart beat (lowering stress) easing the body into a homeostasis state (relaxed balanced state of mind).
The result of this is about as out of the body and into the mind as you can get. From personal experience it feels as if stress is being physically exerted out of the body, releasing conscious and subconscious tension. It is a profound feeling of instantaneous peace, a feeling as if you can feel your soul floating around your very own temple. Egotistical thoughts and fear of the destructiveness of the outside world are not able to penetrate or influence you when you are in this meditative state of mind even though you are fully aware of them.
2. Cold showers
Cold showers, I know what an utterly unpleasant thing to even think about, sounds like torture why would you want to make yourself cold and wet?
Well, believe it or not the cold is actually good for you. Think of a time when you got splashed with cold water or you touched something cold, notice how the body reacts to it. The entire body flexes, gasps for air and becomes alert, it’s a primal instinct. It’s great for when you have to wake up early because it will force you to become alert.
When we get cold it forces our blood to travel around our body to warm us up, increasing our circulation. The cold forces us to gasp for air releasing energy into our cells to become more active and jolts us to move and get ourselves to warm up again. The cold has anti-inflammatory effects on the body and regular cold showers can increase the metabolic rate of the body releasing more white blood cells, combating disease and strengthening the immune system. The longer you stay under a cold shower the better you will feel as the body gets used to it, when you step out of the shower your skin will be very cold but your internal body will feel warm, it feels like a shield on your skin.
Sure, your bones may feel frozen and you may feel a bit shaky. But this puts the body in a process to warm up naturally which helps the body regulate its temperature. This is very relaxing, there are many benefits to it, like shorter showers and a more calm body. I also notice when it’s cold outside I feel unaffected by it because the cold shower I had earlier was much colder.
The meditation aspect of this technique has to do with the purpose of personal mindset. You can have unstoppable strength but it will mean nothing if you do not direct this to something personal. The meditation part of this is a way to utilise the already calm meditative state you will be left in as a result of the cold showers and deep breathing.
Meditation can be difficult when our mind is already racing, combining meditation when already in a calm state will be much more effective and really aid us in our focus and patience to reflect on our lives, even allowing us to solve problems that might seem impossible because we are giving ourselves a fresh mind. It gives us a chance to exercise patience and to really understand what and why we’re feeling the way we are, in relation to the situations we are currently experiencing in our lives.
The Wim Hof method is so simple but so powerful, the thing I like about it is that it requires minimal effort besides a slight change to your morning routine.
There are so many benefits to this and they are all positive to your mental health, The Wim Hof Method is a great way to release stress from your body especially in unpredictable times like these when we can feel so alone.
This breathing technique alone can completely change your perspective of the world after one session. You don’t have to condition yourself to break world records using this technique, but you can learn how to listen to your body, and communicate with it on a deeply personal level. It could even be described as a telepathic conversation with your body.
Disclaimer: this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Please seek professional medical advice before practicing any alternative therapies, methods or practices such as the ones listed above.