Wim Hof Method revealed
The Wim Hof Method is similar to Tummo (inner heat) Meditation and Pranayama (yogic breathing). Yet it is something else entirely. While Wim has read a lot of books on yoga and meditation for many years, this technique primordially comes from what he terms ‘cold hard nature’. By subjecting himself to the bitter conditions of nature, he learned to withstand the extreme forces of cold, heat and fear. If you learn this method or technique correctly, it will empower you to do to the same.
The first part is a breathing exercise which can be likened to controlled hyperventilation. This is, of course, an oxymoron. Hyperventilation is something which happens involuntarily. But just imagine the breathing part, without any of stress triggers that normally cause this way of breathing. The image will consist of rapid breathing that makes one languid, invigorates one, makes one high on oxygen.
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Warning Important message: Always do the breathing exercise in a safe environment without forcing (for example, sitting on the couch). Never practice it before or during, diving, driving, swimming, taking a bath or in any other environment/place where it might be dangerous to faint. The breathing exercise has a profound effect and should be practiced in the way it is explained.
Step by step explanation breathing exercise.
1) Get comfortable
Sit in a meditation posture, whatever is most comfortable for you. Make sure you can expand your lungs freely without feeling any constriction. It is recommended to do this practice right after waking up since your stomach is still empty or before a meal.
2) 30 Power Breaths
Imagine you’re blowing up a balloon. Inhale through the nose or mouth and exhale through the mouth in short but powerful bursts. Keep a steady pace and use your midriff fully. Close your eyes and do this around 30 times. Symptoms could be light-headedness, tingling sensations in the body.
3) The Hold, retention after exhalation
After the 30 rapid successions of breath cycles, draw the breath in once more and fill the lungs to maximum capacity without using any force. Then let the air out and hold for as long as you can without force. Hold the breath until you experience the gasp reflex.
4) Recovery Breath
Inhale to full capacity. Feel your chest expanding. When you are at full capacity, hold the breath for around 10 seconds and this will be round one. The breathing exercise can be repeated 3 rounds after each other.
5) After having completed the breathing exercise take your time to enjoy the feeling afterward. This feeling will be more and more like a meditation.
When you start doing these exercises we recommend to take your time recovering from the breathing exercise. After doing the breathing exercise and you feel good, you can start with taking the cold shower.
- +-30 times balloon blowing
- Breathe in fully
- Breath out without force and hold until gasp reflex
- Inhale fully and hold for 10 seconds.
- Repeat until finished and recover from the breathing exercise
Add push-ups or yoga poses during the time you are holding your breath until you wait for the gasp reflex. Notice that you are stronger without air than you would normally be if you could breathe!
After the body scan of the previous exercise, you are ready to let your body embrace the cold. It is very important to try to relax as much as you can, really be with the cold, only then can your body process the signals and start thermogenesis. As Wim says, “the cold is your warm friend!"
If you are new to cold exposure, just end your warm shower with 15 - 30 seconds with cold water only. Begin with your feet and then follow with your legs, your stomach, shoulders, neck, and back. An initial shock, shivering and hyperventilation is normal. Try to remain calm and breathe easily. Close your eyes and really try to embrace the cold. Don't pour the cold water over the head if you are not known with cold exposure. If you feel any strong physical uncomfortableness, like heavy shivering, numbness or pain, get your body warm again as soon as possible. Cold exposure works like weight lifting, you get stronger over time. There are little muscles around your veins that contract when they get into contact with the cold. After some time (only 1-2 weeks according to Wim) these become stronger, making your veins healthier and reducing the force that your heart has to use to pump blood around your body. You can increase exposure over time. At one point the cold will feel just as comfortable as wearing your favorite pajamas and you can skip the warm shower completely. Notice how you feel amazing after a cold shower and sluggish after a warm one.
These exercises are extremely powerful when done consistently and with intent. Try them out and report your findings in our closed Facebook groop "Wim Hof Method"! Remember, the cold is your warm friend.