Wim Hof, a Dutch extreme athlete, also known as “The Iceman,” holds 26 world records for his various feats, including the Guinness World Record for the longest ice bath (1 hour, 52 minutes, and 42 seconds).
According to him, the secret to his success is a breathing exercise he developed called the Wim Hof Method.
To perform the Wim Hof Method, all you need to do is take 30-40 deep breaths. After the last exhalation, hold until you feel the urge to breathe again. When you feel the urge to breathe again, draw one big breath to fill your lungs completely, and hold the breath for only 15 seconds, then let go. This completes one cycle of the Wim Hof Method.
Various studies suggest that this method has several benefits (Benefits of the Wim hof method: increased energy, better sleep, reduced stress levels, heightened focus and determination, increased willpower, and stronger immune system).
What makes this method unique from other breathing exercises is that you can voluntarily influence the sympathetic nervous system and the immune system, which was thought to be impossible.
For the first few months I performed this method, I didn’t feel anything. I still added it to my routine since most YouTubers I follow were talking about it.
My routine was simple. Every day during the shower, I performed the Wim hof method along with a little bit of yoga. Now it’s been over 3 years (1000 days), and the difference it made in my life is mentioned below.
Effect of Consistently Performing Wim Hof Method
There is evidence that suggests Wim hof method can lead to stronger immunity, better sleep, heightened focus, and tons of other great benefits, however, I am going to mention only the benefits that I experienced:
1. I Can Hold My Breath For 2+ Minutes
This may not be something you think is a benefit, however, It’s pretty satisfying to do. A lot of people explained to me how one’s ability to hold breath is practically useless since if you are drowning, you are going to drown even if you can hold your breath for 30 seconds or 3 minutes.
And there is some truth to that, however, the ability to hold breath for a certain period of time is so satisfying I can’t even explain it. Every day you practice the wim hof method, and every other day, you increase your breath hold by a few seconds. This small improvement just turns your whole day around.
It becomes a fun hobby.
For those who are wondering, I can hold my breath for 2-3 minutes. I know this may not be a great record, but for me, this is enormous.
When I started performing the Wim Hof method, I could barely hold my breath for 31 seconds, but within a year, I could hold my breath for up to 2 minutes.
Right now, I can hold my breath for 2+ minutes (The average person can hold their breath for 30–90 seconds).
2. Helped Me Deal With Stress, Relax & Change My Thoughts
Stress is a big thing in the modern world. Everyone you meet, everyone you know is dealing with stress at some level. Just like you, everyone’s mind is constantly bombarded with endless thoughts.
But from time to time, you will be in a situation where you need to relax, take a nap. However, depending upon the complexity of the situation you are in, you may be unable to relax, let alone fall asleep.
For those days, the Wim hof method will work like a charm.
What I do is simple. On stressful days, I perform multiple rounds of the Wim Hof Method, and most of the time, I feel much more relaxed after it. Sometimes I perform it so that I can fall asleep or before doing an important task since my thoughts become much clearer after a few rounds.
Moreover, try performing Wim Hof Method before giving a speech or before an important meeting. You will witness a difference in your behavior, voice, and stress level.
3. I Feel Less Cold & More Ready to Do Uncomfortable Tasks
You will always face resistance (Uncomfortable emotions that are trying to hold you back + Uncomfortable circumstances that do not provide perfect timing & situation to execute your task) if you are trying to do a productive task.
The reality is before we even start a productive task, numerous negative emotions fill us up.
If we are not focused, this resistance & emotions distract us and prevent us from doing productive tasks and move in the direction we intend to.
However, by performing Wim Hof Method and cold immersions in the morning, you can set yourself up for uncomfortable tasks. You prepare yourself to stay focused not only during the cold immersions but also throughout the day.
Since nothing in your day will offer as much resistance as cold immersions. Moreover, by performing Wim Hof Method & cold immersion consistently, you will feel less cold.
When I started performing the Wim Hof Method, I avoided cold immersions. I thought they were unnecessary. However, this was me getting beaten by resistance.
I even convinced myself that cold immersions are harmful, and I even found sufficient proof to justify it (Nowadays, you can find enough evidence for just about anything).
Don’t make the same mistake and perform the Wim Hof Method along with cold immersions. If you live in hot weather, try portable bathtubs for cold immersion.
4. I Have Started Breathing With My Nose Consistently
I know this sounds weird. But mouth breathing is bad, and you should always breathe from your nose, even when you are sleeping.
To do this, however, you need to build the habit of nasal breathing.
A lot of people breathe from their mouths due to nasal blockage or habit. However, breathing from your mouth is unhealthy and is a cause of numerous diseases.
However, shifting from mouth to nose breathing takes time, and Wim Hof Method can help you build the habit.
5. Wim Hof Method is Not Enough For Mental Health
Wim Hof Method is great. It has numerous health benefits. However, if you are thinking of performing Wim Hod Method for mental health, then it may not be enough.
In my experience, Wim Hof Method prepares you for uncomfortable tasks, helps you relax and connect with nature, and makes you feel alive, which in the modern world is enlightening.
However, it is still not enough. You should consider performing a meditation technique along with it. Try performing Transcendental Meditation or some other Yogic meditation along with Wim Hof Method.
6. No Point in Doing It If You are Not Consistent
Like everything great in life, the benefits of the Wim Hof Method are also linked with consistency. If you are consistent with your practice, you will gain most of the benefits. However, if you are going to do it once in a while, you may not feel much difference.
The best way to maintain consistency is by doing it at a particular time. I always perform wim hof method while taking a shower. I rarely take cold baths, however, I have consistently practiced the breathing method for over 500 days.
You can do the same. Practice it during the shower. Moreover, if you don’t have enough time to prepare for Cold Water Immersion, stick to the breathing method alone.
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