Marta Taylor spends 4 days with Wim Hof where she learns all about his special breathing technique as part of her cryotherapy biohacking experiment.
With every day that passed, it became apparent that the more breathing we did that oxygenated our bodies, the deeper we went into our cells and did a big clean up. The waste was then released in all different ways. Some people had ‘interesting’ eliminations (think number 2); others had physical signs such as bruising all over their body; and the most common one for all of us was having an emotional release. It was not unusual to sit up after a breathing session & look around to see that most people were teary. Every day was different as to whether it tapped into just a small realisation or something really deep and profound. One person in the group had really huge releases & would sob uncontrollably at every session. This also meant that there was a lot of bonding amongst the group. I have to say that in my entire life, I’ve barely managed to see a single male get overly emotional. At the workshop, with 57 males all experiencing emotional releases, I’ve never seen so many guys cry in my life! It was amazing & such an important transformational shift for men to be able to show vulnerability like that. It’s good for the mind, body & spirit to let shit go!
Wim has amazing strength & stamina
GOING WITH THE FLOW
It was obvious from the way we had been given our schedule (oh yeah, there wasn’t one) and from observing Wim’s manner, to eating breakfast at midday, that this was not going to be a rigorously structured workshop that had been scheduled to the hilt. It was a very ‘go-with-the-flow’ & ‘we’ll work it out, somehow’ setting which, for a person like me, a highly organized project manager, would normally be very frustrating. But I have to say, I made a conscious decision to not have any expectations or feel frustrated by this. Instead, I embraced the fluidity & enjoyed the fact that there was nowhere to really be at all times, except when we were together as a group. Remember those days? Remember when you were a kid & got bored because there was nothing to do? I had that again during these 4 days…and loved it! Although, I have to say, I didn’t really get a chance to be bored…I wandered from one bench – where I sat & contemplated life, to another bench to chat with someone, to going for a walk & feeling the wind on my face…it was so good!!
I hope I'm doing that at 57!
MIGRAINE & THE WIM HOF METHOD
On day 2 & 3 I had a bad headache (for those of you that follow me, then you will know I suffer from migraine pain). The only good thing about having the migraine at the workshop was that I had the space & time to just let it be and play itself out. I didn’t add to it by stressing about having to go to work or needing to be somewhere. This in itself brought up a lot of ‘stuff’ for me. Luckily, there was a lady there that practiced kinesiology so she helped me to release those issues that contributed to my headache pain.
Doing the WHM breathing was interesting, as the breathing in itself would make my head pound with pain. This makes sense as migraine’s are vascular in nature, meaning they are to do with the blood vessels. Reduced blood flow in the veins results in, a lack of oxygen in the tissues, and changes in the brain’s chemistry. When an irritation occurs, fluid and protein leave the blood stream and enter the tissue spaces. This slows down the exchange of oxygen and nutrients at the cell level. This, in turn, causes the release of substances that greatly dilate the blood vessels. Local tissue injury and swelling occur as a result – which is why there is great pain associated with migraine. So whilst doing the WHM breathing, the veins would be contracting, causing even more pain.
What was great though, is that an hour or so later after the breathing session, the headache would seem to subside and ease off a bit. This is most likely because the increased amounts of oxygen in the blood would also raise oxygen levels in the brain.
MORE ICE BATHS
Evey day brought more ice baths & by the second day there were multiple sessions. The ice baths also grew in duration until, on the final day, it was for 10 minutes!! What’s important to note about the ice baths is that they are an important tool in this method. Aside from the health benefits of cold therapy, Wim also says that the reason for the ice baths are to remind us of how to use the WHM breathing technique correctly. Fundamentally, if you are in an ice bath & you do not do the breathing correctly, then you will not survive the ice bath without side affects. The ice bath forces you to focus on the method to ensure you are able to withstand the cold & to maintain your core body temperature.
SO MANY REASONS TO BREATHE
Knowing that you are able to consciously affect your autonomic nervous system is amazing. It is the only method that I have learnt where I can immediately see the benefits of how I have affected my body. The part of my body that would normally operate automatically without any conscious input from me. It’s beyond amazing. It’s what makes this method life changing. No longer am I at the whim (sorry! I had to do it!) of what my body wants to do, but what I, want it to do. It really makes me feel like becoming ‘superhuman’ is in the realms of possibility.
Wim not only taught us how to breathe to regulate our core body temperature & raise our alkalinity, he also taught us how to activate our brown adipose tissue (aka BAT or brown fat). BAT burns at a higher metabolic rate than white fat, but unfortunately as we get older, we seem to lose it. With Wim’s help, we are able to regenerate more brown fat, which in turn, burns more energy. That means…you guessed it…a higher metabolism.
Another amazing technique he taught us was how to access our own DMT (Dimethyltryptamine). DMT is supposedly located in the pineal gland – not scientifically proven at this point in time – and when accessed, can transport you into altered states (amongst other things). This was quite an extraordinary experience, especially since people pay a lot of money to have DMT experiences…whether they are buying the pills or travelling to South America for ceremonies with Shaman’s and Ayahuasca. The fact that people ‘chase’ the euphoria of DMT & we were taught how to access this naturally ourselves is mind-blowing – literally!
Within the hour we did the DMT breathing, I got a glimpse of what it might be like to go on a ‘trip’ – which I have never had a first hand experience with. I started off with a purple colour coming through into my mind’s eye & with that a huge emotional release that left me sobbing. After that subsided, I was in another world, just behind my eyelids that were filled with swirling geometric shapes & feelings. It was weird, yet familiar. It kinda reminded me of that toy when you were a kid…that kaleidoscope that you looked through & could see all the colours and shapes. Totally ‘trippy’. If I did that happened on very first try, imagine what would happen with more practice & more experience. I love the idea of accessing the parts of my mind that I don’t have a conscious connection to!
4 LIFE CHANGING DAYS
As you can see, this was a mentally jam-packed, emotional roller coaster & was so much more than just the ice baths – or what I had bargained for. We finished the 4 day workshop purely exhausted and feeling like we had worked hard – yet at the same time re-energised & excited about all of the possibilities that this new -found method was going to bring to our lives.
As I mentioned before, this really was a life changing workshop for me. I felt powerful & in control and I like the fact that I can take more responsibility and conscious, direct action over my health. Thanks Wim – this man really could teach me a thing or two (or more!) about breathing & meditation – I am humbled.
Make sure you watch the one-on-one chat I had with Wim at the end of the workshop – he is a very interesting man & has a real love for people & is very focused on spreading his technique to help everyone heal themselves. As mentioned in the last post, there is a lot of science that already backs up Wim’s methods and he is still involved in a lot more to come. Links below.
I really hope you enjoyed my experience at the workshop.
If you ever have the opportunity, then I highly recommend this workshop and if you want to check out what it’s all about then you can do it from the comfort of your own home with Wim’s 10 week online course.
Access Wim’s >>10 Week Online Course<<
A warning from Innerfire.nl – important message, please read carefully:
The breathing exercise has a profound effect and should be practiced in the way it is explained. Always do the breathing exercise in a safe environment (e.g. sitting on a couch/floor) and unforced.
Never practice the exercises before or during diving, driving, swimming, taking a bath or in any other environment/place where, should you pass out, a serious injury could occur. Wim Hof breathing may cause tingling sensations and/or lightheadedness. If you’ve fainted, it means that you went to far. Take a step back next time.
The cold is a powerful force. We strongly advise to gradually build up exposing yourself to the cold. Always train without force and listen to your body carefully. If it is not practiced responsible, there is a risk of hypothermia.
Do not practice the method during pregnancy or when having epilepsy. Persons with cardiovascular health issues, or any other (serious) health conditions, should always consult a medical doctor before starting with the Wim Hof Method.