Over time, I have come to value the importance of breathing. In stressful moments, it helps me to pause and take a deep breath. When jumping horses, I don’t hold my breath over the jump. Squatting heavy weights, I breathe through it.
I took a yoga class in Bali called Kundalini, which was really just a big breathing class. I was trying to not laugh because it was quite noisy with 30 people breathing in sequence, but it was interesting.
If you take deep breaths and breathe kinda’ fast, it gives your body a natural high and provides clarity.
Have you ever heard of a guy named Wim Hof? I never had until I started following Jesse Itzler on Instagram (an Atlanta entrepreneur and author/public speaker). Wim Hof holds world records for holding his breath and has done extensive research on the studies of cold therapy.
If you Google the guy, nicknamed ‘The Ice Man,’ you will find extreme pictures of him in yoga poses out in the snow in shorts.
Taken directly from his site, wimhofmethod.com: “Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof got his nickname ‘The Ice Man’ by breaking a number of records related to cold exposure, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes.
Other achievements include:
• Running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle, barefoot only wearing shorts
• Swimming underneath ice for 66 meters
• Hanging on one finger at an altitude of 2,000 meters
• Climbing the highest mountains in the world while wearing only shorts
• Running a full marathon in the Namib Desert without drinking
• Standing in a container while covered in ice cubes for extended periods of time
• Shown scientifically, that the autonomous nervous system related to the innate immune response, can be willfully influenced, something that was previously unknown to science.
The bit about hanging on by one finger: I had to hang from a pull-up bar in my workout today for 30 seconds. I could only make it 17 seconds without dropping. I can’t imagine one finger.
Using cold, hard nature as his teacher, Wim Hof’s extensive training has enabled him to learn to control his breathing, heart rate and blood circulation and to withstand extreme temperatures.
Cold plunges are supposed to have huge impacts on the body’s immune system. With a year impacted by the coronavirus, I am interested in any and all ways to stay healthy.
I do believe if you can conquer your mind and body, you can conquer anything. I am taking part in a 30-day course where there will be some live lessons taught by Wim Hof, and I am so excited. It is a completely new avenue for me, and I look forward to reporting back. I could only hold my breath for 30 seconds today. I have read after practicing his methods, people get up to three minutes.
Download the app, Wim Hof Method, for guided breathing exercises and participate in events like the 20-Day Cold Shower Challenge. The concept is about learning to find comfort in discomfort, which is applicable in so many different areas of life.
Off to take a cold shower.
Lacey Howell is a recovering English major from Auburn who now lives on Lake Martin, sells real estate, rides horses and loves good wine. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram @ LaceyHowell.