A relative kindly bought me the book ‘The Wim Hof Method‘ for Christmas. I’d heard of Wim and also the ‘Method’ before but never something I’d tried.
There’s plenty of info online about the WHM so I won’t detail it here but much of it revolves around breathwork and cold showers (not at the same time!).
The book is a great read – as well as detailing the WHM, he tells you about his life and how he got to doing what he does (the guy is hardcore!). I downloaded the app afterwards as I like to have visual and auditory guidance (and also to keep track of progress).
The breathwork itself is super simple – a ’round’ is 30 rapid breaths (full inhale, then ‘letting go’ of the breath on the exhale), followed by a ‘retention’ (holding your breath just after exhaling).
When I first started I could managed 40 seconds. As I’ve practiced this rapidly increased to a minute, to my ‘personal best’ today of two minutes.
Something I’ve found surprising and incredibly powerful from doing this is the psychological release it gives me, as well as an interesting meditative state when doing breath retention.
Doing the 30 breaths, I find after the first ten, I get some kind of high from it, but also have a sense of being ready to ‘let go’ of stuff. So much so that tons of times I’ve cried whilst doing it. Not a sad cry but almost a happy letting go of… I don’t know what. Old stuff? Feelings? I can’t express it properly.
The breath retention provides an incredible (though brief) meditative state). As you’ve over-oxygenated your body, you can hold your breath for much longer than normal. I’ve been using this time to immerse myself with experiences from my past (nothing bad, just from when I was younger and things were simpler), and being reflective of time passing.
Whilst I haven’t explored most of the WHF physical exercises, I’ve been toying with doing press ups during breath retention. I use pressups in my normal fitness regime, but only to the extent of 3 sets of 10 once a week. I found straight away I could do 20 pressups during retention, which I’ve now built up to 30. It’s a crazy yet empowering feeling.
And about the cold showers – yes they sound horrible but again it’s amazing how quickly you adjust and build tolerance. I could just about bear 15 seconds a month ago, now I can do 50 seconds relatively easily. Although they’re not exactly pleasant, again it’s empowering, as it gives you a small feeling of having accomplished something challenging.
With the showers and the breathwork, I love how I’m able to expose myself frequently to pushing myself – even on a small level. I’m curious as to whether doing so will help with my ultra running and other races later in the year.
Finally, I should note an increased sense of wellbeing – however, I can’t exclusively credit WHM to this as I’m phasing out caffeine and generally being more active since Christmas.
Highly recommend giving WHM a go!