Wim Hof Method.
I flew down to Los Angeles this last weekend to attend the Wim Hof Method workshop. I stayed with my good friend Eric and his family in Redondo. Hanging with Eric is always a good time. We share many of the same interests regarding mindfulness, meditation and movement. I’d say I tend to lean to the mindful and movement side where he leans toward meditation and mindfulness. Pretty much from the moment he picks me up from LAX we engage in a running conversation on all things mindful, meditative and movement based....I wish I had more of this in my life.
Saturday we attended the Wim Hof seminar. It was very close to what I figured it was going to be. Some talking about his history, some breathwork, some more breathwork with pushups, some more talking about the science of his work, then an icebath. I figured the icebath would be 10 minutes, I am glad it was only 2 minutes. That was plenty.
I’ve been doing WHM for about 4 months now. The method has 3 parts: Breathing, Cold immersion and Commitment or focus/intent. During the last 4 months I have practiced the breathing and taken cold showers nearly daily. I have noticed a dramatic effect in my (you guessed it) ability to breath and my relationship to cold has been changing in a positive way.
I have had a life long aversion to cold. I've never liked it. When I first learned about the WHM, I was interested only in the breathwork and wanted to skip the cold immersion. I didn’t want to let the cold win…..soooo……I began looking into the science behind it and began taking cold showers. I started with 60 degree water (I have a garden thermometer in my shower). At firstjust immersing my hands and feet for 30 seconds. Eventually I involved my legs, then I started hitting my back. I remember the day I took a 1-minute cold shower. I got out and was cheering! It felt really, really good! I was looking forward to my next one…..I was also not looking forward to it.
Eventually, impatience has taken over and I am taking 10-minute full immersion showers. I love and hate them at the same time. They definitely aren’t as intolerable as they were in the beginning, but I still have to focus myself quite a bit before stepping in, reminding myself of how good I feel afterward is a great motivator.
At the seminar, I was hoping Wim would lead us on an extended breathwork session. I’ve done enough breathwork in the past to know that it has the power to create quite intense altered states of consciousness. I got what I was hoping for. We did a 40+ minute breathing session. I started to get tingles and a little light headed then I started to get quite buzzy. It felt amazing. We alternated between breathing fully in and letting go and letting all the air out and holding it, called retention. Then inhaling and holding for 10-15 seconds followed by more breathing, retaining and holding. Doing this in a room with 400 other people is quite an experience. The morphogenic field and mirror neurons were reliably present.
Overall, the day’s experience was quite delightful. After the breathing session, we had some food and then prepared for the 2-minute ice bath immersion. Wim gave a talk about the importance of focus and concentration necessary when engaging with the cold and Dr. Bart gave a presentation and talked about the theory and scientific studies they’ve done regarding the method.
I like to keep these blogs short, so I will stop here. It was a very rich day and I words are my words are falling short. There is a simple and specific way to do the breathing. I'll post it in the future, or you can do an internet search for Wim Hof or "The Iceman" and take your pick of the videos where he is guiding somebody through it. My wife and I purchased his App and use the videos for daily guidance and focus.
The Wim Hof Method is simple, yet profound. It has many potential health benefits, none of which I mentioned in this blog, but are very accessible online. Let me know if you have any specific questions and I'll be sure to get back to you.