For the most part, my trips out of Nigeria to other countries are planned for summer(except 2015 when I went to South Africa just before Winter ended). But this time I got to the US around winter.
My brain was on a perpetual freeze. Critical thinking and general sharpness were two things I could not do. The cold had blocked my mind. I was always perplexed seeing people handle the cold like it was normal. It was painful to me. The kind of pain where crying was also brought to the table as an option. This was the typical case of
Osofia in London Seye in Amrika.
From inside the house, I’d take the fastest sprint to the car, switch on the engine and pray for the heater to kick in. From the car, I would sprint to whatever location we go. A 20 second exposure to cold would enter my bones and burn so bad that another 2 minutes I’m still shivering. So much drama, I tell you!
I could only turn to the internet for help since every other person around me used me to ‘catch trips’. I discovered Wim Hof and his Wim Hof Method! He promised increase energy, better sleep, heightened focus, improved sports performance, reduced stress levels, faster recovery from illnesses etc.
His bold promise to train people to stay shirtless in the arctic circle, climb to the apex of Kilimanjaro with no shirts on caught my attention. If photos like the one below don’t get you curious, then what will?
I watched 10s of YouTube videos from YouTubers that had practiced his method and claimed that it worked.
You see, Wim Hof is the holder of 20 Guinness World Records for withstanding extreme temperatures.Not only has he climbed to the top of Everest and Kilimanjaro in only shorts and shoes, he has also taught people how to. He has been presented in different shows and challenges where he stayed comfortably in ice baths for hours. Even on a TED Talk. He has run a full marathon in the highest desert with no water & food.
I was curious about his methods, wanted to try it as my February experiment but I’ll pass! I have gone ahead to purchase a book by one of his students, What Doesn’t Kill Us by Scott Carney. It’s a very interesting book. Scott started his journey to controlling his internal body temperatures by first being a skeptic. A journalist who has brought down people who claim to throw amazing fits, he intended interviewing Wim Hof and debunking his claim only to realize that some of his students who he met could also spend considerable amounts of time topless in the snow.
I briefly mentioned this in a HighLifer newsletter sent a while back, one of my subscribers in China said he researched and practiced this method and he worked for him.
I will not be conducting the experiment or trying it out because I don’t need it urgently. But for education, I have studied it, practiced it a little, read a lot about gTummo meditation.
HighExistence has a ‘revealed’ guide on the Wim Hof Method which is included here as an excerpt:
The first part is a breathing exercise which can be likened to controlled hyperventilation. This is, of course, an oxymoron. Hyperventilation is something which happens involuntarily. But just imagine the breathing part, without any of stress triggers that normally cause this way of breathing. The image will consist of rapid breathing that makes one languid, invigorates one, makes one high on oxygen. One mechanism of this practice is the complete oxygenation of your blood and cells.
Before you try this at home make sure that you don’t do this:
- while driving
- while standing up
- without approval of your medical caregiver
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 30 rapid successions 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.
After the body scan of the previous exercise you are ready let your body embrace the cold. It is very important to try to relax as much as you can, really be with the cold, only then can your body process the signals and start thermogenesis. As Wim says, “the cold is your warm friend!“
If you are new to cold exposure, start with cold showers. Begin with your feet and then follow with your legs, your stomach, shoulders, neck and back and finally your head. An initial shock, shivering and hyperventilation is normal. Try to remain calm and breathe easily. Close your eyes and really try to embrace the cold.
If you feel any strong physical uncomfortableness, like heavy shivering, numbness or pain, get your body warm again as soon as possible.
Once you are out of the shower, take a moment to do another slow body scan before you dry yourself.
Cold exposure works like weight lifting, you get stronger over time. There are little muscles around your veins that contract when they get into contact with the cold. After some time (only 1-2 weeks according to Wim) these become stronger, making your veins healthier and reducing the force that your heart has to use to pump blood around your body.
You can increase exposure over time. At one point the cold will feel just as comfortable as wearing your favorite pajamas and you can skip the warm shower completely. Notice how you feel amazing after a cold shower and sluggish after a warm one.
After a few weeks of cold showers you can up the ante to an ice bath. Get 2-3 bags of ice at your local convenience store and put them in a half-full bath tub. Wait until around two thirds is melted or that the water has reached your designated temperature (10 / 12 °C (50 / 59 °F)). You can throw in a couple of handfuls of salt to speed up this process.
As with the cold showers, try to relax as much as you can. Start out with around 10 minutes and increase exposure over time. If you feel uncomfortable or in doubt, get out. After this exercise make sure you do another body scan.
It is normal to feel extra cold after a small period of time after the ice bath. This is called the after-drop. Take a hot glass of raw coca and keep your blood flowing by talking a walk. You’ll feel amazing after!
Please be mindful that you are doing this exercises on your own risk. Using any of these exercises while driving or being immersed under water can be extremely dangerous. When in doubt, talk with your medical caregiver.
These exercises are extremely powerful when done consistently and with intent. Always make sure you are save and can’t harm yourself or anyone else in the process. Try them and out and report your findings in the comments below! Remember, the cold is your warm friend.