Updated: Dec 27, 2022
When I mention breathwork, it goes hand in hand with one of my favorite people on earth, Mr. Wim Hoff, also frequently called "The Ice Man". I have been practicing his breathing techniques on and off for the past few years, and recently been back to consistent practice to work my way through the end of winter. I, just like many other, get into a winter rut without access to the hilltops and sunshine, friendships and good times of the warmer, longer days. Instead of turning to anything that would hinder my health or let myself stay too low, too long, I return time and time again to my inner world, where I build strength, find solace, and connect to my higher self. Sometimes all it takes is that connection to an awareness greater than this physical body, this egoistic mind and these tedious tasks, to feel a renewed sense of purpose, and motivation to exist.
Breath is life, our breath is directly related to our state of mind and our feelings of safety health and overall wellbeing.
When you are angry or stressed you often are holding your breath, or breathing shallow and restricted. This can not only affect the decision making process and deductive reasoning, but it can continue to affect and perpetuate the negative cycle of anger and unease.
There is a basic countdown technique used in elementary school, from 10 to 1, to gain back the control of your breath, calm your mind and relax your belly. These tools to ease tension derive from that connection to breath and mind. Breath and Heart. I notice people in massage often hold their breath when i'm holding a trigger point, and need a gentle reminder to breath into the pain, to let it go, break the habit of holding, freezing and reacting to stress in a fight, flight or freeze mentality. Step back, and take control over your breath, mind and body.
We have complete control over our breath and it's our choice to access this key component in our lives. In time such as these, we can build our immunity and inner power and self care, utilizing a potentially negative feeling into an opportunity to explore being within.
There are many amazing different breathing trainings and I support all of them, I have a preference to Wim Hoff, I love Wim's positive powerful message to the world, I can feel his passion about his method and health as he talks while sitting in a lake of ice. His lifestyle has been tested in laboratories, trying to understand how his self developed methods of breathwork, cold therapy and fitness, have fought off disease and promoted youth, and continue to this day hold world records.
With the breath method, Wim produces a self induced analgesic state in the brain, that means, in combination with the breath, the cold exposure doesn't create a painful feeling.
The breath creates opioids and cannabinoids in the brain, this affect creates the feeling of well being and dissipates anxiety.
The consistent practice of Breathwork reduces body inflammation, which is now recognized as one of the leading causes of disease.
The Science Behind the Wim Hof Breathing Method
What made me actually have hope in the Wim Hof Breathing Method was not the anecdotal stories from the people in the show, but the science behind it. Scientific studies have proven that Wim Hof Breathing makes your blood more alkaline (less acidic) and causes hypoxia, which is “a form of stress at the cellular level.” This is a positive stressor in this case and can help the body deal with other negative stressors better in the long term in everyday life.
In ancient times mystics would leave society and community and self isolate in the forest and caves and thereby seeking inner revelation and the secrets to life. If we can view this unique period we are living through with a perspective of hope and growth for the advancement of humanity, through self care and slowing down, allowing the feeling of aloneness and separation instead transform us into ultimate connected beings, united on a spiritual and deeply linked, like minded species. Self healing, self governed, and powerful humans.
I don't mean to sound like an overly positive non realistic person, but I love to provide words and space for healing and I mostly find I maintain that in my life, so I have it to give. Self care begins with self awareness. By working on self care, through breath and meditation you start unravelling the mind.
Change your MIND, you change your BODY, giving you control over your STRESS RESPONSE, and increasing your IMMUNE RESPONSE.
Any new method that you begin is never preached to be a one time quick fix, and this is no exception, the consistent long term practice of breathing and cold therapy, along with exercise of course is bound to be life changing, and this lifestyle change is for the benefit and addition of health to presumably your current state.
That being said, any breathing technique you decide to incorporate into you daily routine, will bring a focus to your mental health with the practice of building an awareness of tuning to your inner world.
This awareness will help with reducing anxiety, depression, disconnection, and a general feeling of stress and aloneness. When you notice your breath, your breathing patterns and more over when you influence them, you create a chemical change in your body and mind.
Whether you decide to try the Wim Hoff breath method and lifestyle, or another type of breath modality, the intention of working on things that matter towards your health, and putting your physiological health as a priority will create incredible ripples in the world that have long term affects on the planet as a whole organism.
With a solid mind-body connection you are better able to manage your feelings and face difficulties. Unfortunately, many people are unable to control their mind-body connection. Learn more about how the Wim Hof Method can help you improve your mind-body connection.
There is not much more to say here other then directing you to his website, there is A TON of information about the science of the methods, and there is even a learning academy to delve deep into the knowledge of self healing.
My personal experience with this breathwork has been sporadic to say the least, but over the past while i've dedicated more time to including this practice consistently into my daily rituals and its definitely been an incredible enhancement and acceleration to my meditation.
I've seen geometric shapes, lights, heard sounds and been completely in a state of bliss with a profound sense of weightless perfection.
These feelings and sensations have come to me previously with float therapy and meditation with sound, but after 3 rounds of Wim Hoff breathing, I was there and never wanted to leave.
I hope you can at least try to incorporate some breathwork into your day, and see for yourself the scientific backed evidence of self empowerment it brings.
I LOVE this first ice bath video, watch until the end to hear his awesome positive energy!!! :)