Meet the amazing iceman: Wim Hof.
Wim is a Dutch world record holder, adventurer and daredevil, nicknamed “the Iceman” for his ability to withstand extreme cold.
He holds twenty world records – including a world record for longest ice bath, and has stayed immersed in ice for as long as 1 hour and 52 minutes and 42 seconds.
In 2007, Wim attempted, but failed (due to a foot injury), to climb Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts.
Then, in 2009, he reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in his shorts within two days.
In 2009, Wim also completed a full marathon above the polar circle in Finland, in temperatures close to −20 °C (−4 °F) – dressed in nothing but shorts. He finished the marathon in 5 hours and 25 minutes.
In 2011, Hof also ran a full marathon in the Namib Desert without water.
So how does the Iceman do it?
Wim describes his ability to withstand extreme cold temperatures as being able to “turn his own thermostat up” by using his mind. And in today’s audio episode, we’re going to delve into his tips, tricks and biohacks to conquer the cold and get quantum leaps in performance, including.
-How Wim uses the science of breathing to control his body temperature and resistance to the cold…
-Wim’s meditation technique…
-How Wi ran full marathon in the desert with no water…
-Whether cold thermogenesis give some kind of adaptation to perform better in heat…
-Why cold doesn’t really make you sick, and the true effects on the immune system…
-Why Wim took a group of thrombosis patients into the icy Sweden wilderness…
-How you can learn Wim’s secret techniques from the Iceman himself…
Wim’s Breathing Technique
1) Get comfortable and close your eyes
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.
2) Warm Up
Inhale deeply. Really draw the breath in until you feel a slight pressure from inside your chest on your solar plexus. Hold this for a moment and then exhale completely. Push the air out as much as you can. Hold this for a moment. Repeat this warm up round 15 times.
3) 30 Power Breaths
Imagine you’re blowing up a balloon. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth in short but powerful bursts. The belly is pulled inward when you are breathing out and is pulled outward when you are breathing in. Keep a steady pace and use your midriff fully. Close your eyes and do this around 30 times or until you feel your body is saturated with oxygen. Symptoms could be light-headedness, tingling sensations in the body, electrical surges of energy.
4) Scan your body
During the 30 power breaths, delve into your body and become aware of it as possible. Trace your awareness up and down your body and use your intuition as to what parts lack energy and what parts are overflowing. Scan for any blockage between the two. Try to send energy/warmth to those blockages. Then release them deeper and deeper. Tremors, traumas and emotional releases can come up. It can be likened to kundalini rising. Feel the whole body fill up with warmth and love. Feel the negativity burn away.
Often people report swirling colors and other visual imagery during this exercise. Once you encounter them, go into them, embrace them, merge with them. Get to know this inner world and how it correlates to the feeling of tension or blockages in your body.
5) The Hold
After the the 30 rapid succession of breath cycles, draw the breath in once more and fill the lungs to maximum capacity without using too much force. Then push all of the air out and hold for as long as you can. Draw the chin in a bit so as to prevent air from coming in again. Really relax and open all energy channels in your body. Notice how all the oxygen is spreading around in your body. Hold the breath until you experience the gasp reflex on the top of your chest.
6) Recovery Breath
Inhale to full capacity. Feel your chest expanding. Release any tension in the solar plexus. When you are at full capacity, hold the breath once more. Drop the chin to the chest and hold this for around 15 seconds. Notice that you can direct the energy with your awareness. Use this time to scan the body and see where there is no color, tension or blockages. Feel the edges of this tension, go into it, move the energy towards this black hole. Feel the constrictions burning away, the dark places fill with light. Relax the body deeper as you move further inward, let everything go. Your body knows better than you do. After 15 seconds you have completed the first round.
Start this practice with one or two rounds. Try to do it daily and add two more rounds in a few days. After you feel more comfortable with holding your breath you can start to add exercises and stretches. Work up to a minimum of 15 minutes or 6 rounds with exercises. You can do this practice for how long it pleases you.
If you feel dizziness or pain, get out of the posture and lie on your back. Breathe easily again and stop this practice session.
Reserve at least 5 minutes after this practice to relax and scan the body.
- 30 times balloon blowing
- Breathe in fully
- Breath out fully and hold until gasp reflex
- Inhale fully and hold for 10-15 seconds.
- Repeat until finished
- Take 5 minutes to relax and scan your body
-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!
-Charge the energy up the spine by holding moola banda, contract the rectum & sex organ and pull the navel inward towards the spine.
-Stand up in squat position and do the balloon breath. Try to breathe away the burn. (get seated again the moment you continue the cycle, you don’t want to be standing and faint) See if you can get the energy overtake the pain. Don’t give up easily and see how far you can go if you have the willpower!
Resources In This Episode:
-Wim’s 10 Week Course
-Wim’s book: “Becoming The Iceman“…
-The book “Breathology“…
Did you enjoy this episode? Check out where Wim also appears in:
If you have questions, comments or feedback about cold thermogenesis, conquering the cold, and everything Wim Hof and I discuss in this episode, then leave your thoughts below!
Also published on Medium.