Our Body is truly a miracle in the way it functions and strives to maintain balance. From our temperature, to cellular regeneration, ph level, there is a delicate orchestration of activity that is unfathomable in it’s precision.
What if one of the most vital ways our body behaves to protect us from the cold, could be re-programmed and upgraded?
Wim Hof is one man who teaches us that with practice and incremental exposure, we can benefit from the cold and even withstand durations and temperatures that would injure most people. Part of his philosophy is that our bodies have become weak in the modern world, and through working with the hard forces of nature we can create strength and resilience therefore eliminating the root cause of disease – which are usually associated with low immunity and poor circulation.
Wim has set Guinness records that would cause death in most who attempted them. Just this month, his 21st Guinness World Record was set for longest time submerged in a box of ice filled up to the neck, breaking his previous record. Some of the challenges he has completed include climbing Mount Everest in only a pair of shorts, running a half marathon in only shorts in Lapland, Finland, and running a half marathon with no food or water in the Sahara Desert.
What is so fascinating is that when asked, he is confident that everyone has this innate ability to increase vitality and regulate body temperature, which in eastern yogic practices is called “Tummo”.
So how does Wim accomplish these feats and what ways can we benefit from the Wim Hof Method?
Firstly I should note that Wim has been training since he was a late teenager and it would take many years to learn how to endure the extreme challenges he takes on. However, without needing to perform any extraordinary stunts, we can make leaps in progress in our own health and ability to withstand the cold. In watching videos, reading his book, and researching the studies conducted, it has sparked a keen interest in the Wim Hof Method, and it has inspired me to continue learning as much as I can about the practices.
To prime himself for the cold Wim starts what looks like hyperventilation. After a series of deep inhalations and exhalations in succession, the breath is held for as long as comfortable after exhaling, then retention of the inhale for as long as comfortable followed by an exhale and normal breathing. This whole process I just described is a cycle. A few or more cycles can be done before Wim starts his cold immersion. This practice is used to saturate the body with oxygen, and give greater control over the autonomic nervous system.
Besides the breathing practice, in his book “Becoming The Iceman: Pushing Past Perceived Limits”, a few practices of gradual exposure to the cold are set out, including some methods honed by one of Wim’s students, Justin Rosales, who after about a year of intermittent training accomplished a world record duo with Wim! One of the teachings is that we can learn to overcome our blood vessels constricting automatically when we are exposed to the cold. Something I found very interesting is that fishermen of the north who have been studied, showed to have greater vasodilation in their hands and fingers even in the cold compared to most people. A key here is gradual exposure and listening to our bodies.
As for the benefits, there are a seemingly endless list of them experienced by people who practice the Wim Hof Method. Some of these are:
• Greater ability to regulate body temperature
• Improved circulation
• Increased control over our nervous system
• Heightened level of focus and well being
• Better immune function
……………………………………………………………………………………………….• Awakening our consciousness and human potential
Because the benefits can affect so many different dimensions of our daily life, we can conceivably supercharge our regular practices, goals, and our sacred life mission. Tummo literally means “Inner Fire” which is a perfect metaphor for describing the compassionate warmth, the life force and the metabolic strength this practice is cultivating.
A new chapter in the Human Story
Not only that but Wim is a new part of chapter in a medical textbook focusing on human anomalies. Far from an anomaly, this power is available to any who search for it’s source and diligently practice the art of self transformation. This trend in health is only the tip of the iceberg and is part of a larger paradigm shift in many areas of health and consciousness that is making it’s way into society and changing the way we think about disease and degenerative conditions.
What Wim Hof has been discovering about the human physiology and mind has certainly become a keystone in my vision of a peaceful world operating in it’s highest health, empowerment, and creativity.
We are living in a time where in order to meet the challenges we currently face on a planetary level, we need new practical tools we can use to preserve the integrity of our life force and creative spark amidst the toxicity and illness of a humanity that has lost touch with it’s own self. The Wim Hof Method is one way we can truly become a bridge and a beacon of our highest potential that is the antidote to the worlds many problems.
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