In previous posts and stories on my social media about personal growth & development. I’ve made claims of taking cold showers and how they’ve helped me in life. Yet, I never really had evidence that I am capable of doing it cuz I didn’t really wanna film myself taking a shower.
Finally the opportunity arrived so that I could take an actual ice plunge. My friend Ronville mentioned to me that he became a certified Wim Hof instructor a few years back when we hung out. Recently he reached out to let me know about his Workshop that had lessons on Breath Work, Mindset, and of course Cold Exposure. Wanting to level up my knowledge on all 3 of those subjects, I jumped on that chance instantly.
The workshop was held at the Sports Medicine Clinic inside the Richmond Olympic Oval. While heading in, I saw Ron at the door and showed me where to exactly go and get set up. After introducing myself to other participants, we got started.
We were given a history of who Wim Hof is, and if you don’t know him, get to know him. He’s one amazing human being. In summary, he defied science and is now being studied by it for the benefit of mankind.
The first thing we went over was Mindset.
We were given out some cards and we were asked to write an intention on why we are doing this. Also we had to commit to the action and tell ourselves that we are fully capable of doing it. Have an open mind, let go, and trust the process. After a few stories and videos of other ordinary people doing the Cold Plunge, it did make it easier to believe that anyone can do it. I knew that I could do this and what I wrote was “To Level Up!”. You’ll see how used this on the video below to help me push threw.
We were all asked to come in with an open mind. We had to talk to ourselves and convince ourselves that we will be able to do this. Have that purpose and drive. Once we all felt what we had to do, we then moved on.
The second thing we worked on was Breathing Exercises.
I’ve done other breath-work exercises online for free on YouTube and Spotify, but not with a coach present in front of me. The first exercise we did was a breathing horse stance. If you ever taken a traditional Martial Arts class, you’ve probably learned the Horse Stance, if not, you squat down like you're riding a horse and hold the position.
While in horse stance, we then swayed side to side, having my right arm reaching over to the left when swaying left and my left arm reaching over to the right when saying right. It didn’t matter what side but you had to blurt out a “Hoo” and “Haa” as you reached the end of the stretch. This drill helped with heating up your core, if you didn’t feel warm, you had to go lower in your horse stance.
That was just a warm up, then we had to do the actual exercise. Before we got started, we did some practice breaths. We were taught to breath deep from the stomach with slow deep inhales and exhales. To help, you can put one hand on your chest and one on your stomach. Just be aware to know that your stomach is moving and not your chest. After a few rounds of this, we got started.
We were given a heads up to use a towel as a blanket to cover up as the majority of people tend to get cold while doing the exercises. I chose to try without covering myself up. While lying down we had to do full breaths 40 times, followed by an exhale and holding it for as long as you can. When you're unable to hold it, you then would take a big inhale and hold that for 15 sec. This would be done for 3 rounds.
The first round starting with the 40 breaths, I started to notice that a lot more lower back muscles of mine were loosening up that I never even knew I had. Gradually, I started to feel that tingly feeling on my fingertips and toes, and getting a bit colder. When we got to the exhale part, I was only able to hold it for about 30-40 sec before I felt that sense of panic. Taking that huge inhale was a feeling of relief. Holding that inhale for 15 secs was way easier than holding an exhale. Round 1 done.
Same thing for round 2 but this time we were to breath a bit slower but still full breaths. I found doing this was easier cuz I’ve already built that habit of slow breathing. The big thing I noticed what how cold my hands and feet were getting, which led to me getting colder. When we hit the end of the 40, we had to hold the exhale. I was determined to beat my old time and focused on this part. When I had that urge to want to breathe, I surrendered to the moment and let go. I heard Ron’s voice coaching us to hold it. While surrendering to the moment, I felt so many muscles on my lower back & glutes loosen up. The one thing that took me by surprise was how tight my Butthole was clenched. I never realized that part of the body could relax cuz I was never aware of it. I held that exhale for just over 1 min this round. Ending off with the 15 sec hold of the inhale. Round 2 done.
Before we got started with this round, I took my towel and covered myself cuz I got cold. This time we were coached to breathe a bit quicker and fill our guts with air and let go quickly. During this time, I really felt my fingers and toes being more numb and I was definitely colder than before. We were always given a heads up before we had to do our exhale and I really wanted to test myself this round. While holding, I can start to feel my body shake, feeling that panic to breath, but I really had to dig deep and control those thoughts. I went back to my purpose and what I wrote on my card. I then was able to make my whole body relax and convinced myself that everything was fine. Ron told us to release and inhale for the 15 sec hold. The time I held my exhale was 2 mins. Round 3 done.
Having a coach present with you with the 40 Breath count was beneficial because I had one less thing to think about. He would count the breaths for us and control the timer for more accurate data. During the exhale hold, I had that sense of panic wanting to breathe in air, but listening to a coach to hold it in for a bit longer really did push me further than doing it on my own.
There was a scientific study done with this Breath-work technique that proved to be beneficial to boosting your immune system. Our bodies developed a high level PH Alkaline level for a good period of time as opposed to high Acidic levels.
We then took a short break before we got to the fun part of the workshop.
The Cold Exposure
After our break, we had to do a few rounds of the Horse Stance exercise to get the internal body warmed up and pump that blood. It finally came to start taking people to the ice bath one by one, while the rest of us would still continue to do that drill. I was wanting to do it first, but someone else beat me to it. I ended up being second.
You can check my video below to see what I had to do while entering the Ice Bath.
Slowly entering the tub, taking long breaths and positive Self Talk.
It's almost been a week since Ive taken the dip and have been able to take longer cold showers. I still know that it's gonna suck, but I do it anyway with more ease. The other relative thing I've notice is that it's much more easier for me to get up and just take on those tasks. I rarely come up with excuses to convince myself not to do it. I also notice that I can get to the feeling of peace much faster and feel even more empowered. I don't allow emotions to control me and have much more ease controlling it. I can take longer fuller breaths without having that weird tingly feeling you first get when you start slowing down your breaths. I can go about 6 secs in and 6 secs out.
I have more control with my mind, I am more aware of my breath, and I can handle the cold much longer than previously had. At the end, I ended up what I wanted to get out of the workshop. Just to level up on all those 3 categories of Mindset, Breathing Exercises, & Cold Exposure.
How I found it easier to deal with was that I visualized myself doing it in every detail. In my mind I already felt the cold water go all the way up to my neck, visualized that it sucked, BUT visualized that I got through it. I was really determined to conquer it and I did using that exercise.
If you want to challenge yourself and learn how to take the Plunge, feel free to reach out to my Coach/Friend Ronville to book a private session, be informed with upcoming group workshops, or any questions you might have with this. Tell him JedRocks sent ya and he’ll take good care of you.
Breath Focus (Wim Hof Instructor)
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