This month it’s all about the breath. One thing I’ve been doing to help feel recharged and restored is breath work. I’ve talked about this a before, the energising, restorative and relaxing properties of breath work.
Wim Hof Method
I’ve more recently been playing around with a methodology called the Wim Hof Method. Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof got his nickname “The Iceman” by breaking a number of records related to cold exposure including: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle barefoot, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes. Using “cold, hard nature” as his teacher, his extensive training has enabled him to learn to control his breathing, heart rate, and blood circulation and to withstand extreme temperatures.
The Wim Hof Method is a simple, yet powerful method, based on the foundation of three pillars; Breathing, Cold Therapy and Commitment. It’s the combination of these three elements that makes the Wim Hof Method uniquely powerful. My take is this method is all about using breath work to energise you, to build your resilience and immunity. Resilience to the cold and also potentially to viruses and other illness.
In my time off I’ve been playing around with this, I’m not finished the course yet so I’ll bring you some of my findings when I’ve completed the course.
As part of this exploration I’ve been using breath work to energise myself.
What Is Energising Breath Work?
It’s taking rapid breaths in, and rapid breaths out and it can be very energising. It can fire up the sympathetic nervous system, waking up the body of a little bit. As well as doing it to feel a bit more energised, I’ve also been finishing it off with slow, deep breaths. So I’m practising getting myself into a sympathetic nervous system state, and then back into parasympathetic using breath work.
I can use my breath work in two ways, to fire me up and energise me, but I can also use it to relax and calm me and bring my nervous system down. It’s really clever and interesting what you can do with breath work, to change and improve your physiology.
So you can try the Wim Hof Method or just play around with breath work, do some deep, slow, breathing or do some rapid breathing and see what effect it has on your physiology. What I would say if you’re doing the rapid breathing, the energising breath work, you can sometimes feel a little bit dizzy. In particular, if you closed your eyes for it. So take care, pay attention, start small with this stuff.
You might think it’s breathing, we do it every day, but you can create quite a significant effect. So, go in gentle, but have fun playing around with energising breath work and stay healthy. As always let us know how you get on!
This article first appeared in the October issue of SE22 magazine.