Do you want more energy, less stress and a stronger immune system? Do you want to sleep better, improve your cognitive skills and sports performance, feel better about yourself, lose weight and relieve your anxiety? What if I told you that you can accomplish all these things, and more, by using the power of your own mind? And that you only need a few days for that?’
This is how ‘The Iceman’ Wim Hof opens his book De Wim Hof Method . In the book you will learn how to use exposure to cold, conscious breathing and the power of the mind to take charge of your mind and metabolism. But Wim’s method goes beyond improved health or performance – it is also a spiritual path to connect with your inner strength.
Using the simple breathing techniques in the book, we can suppress the markers of inflammation in our blood. This gives our body more energy to maintain or strengthen our immune system. Here we share a basic breathing exercise from The Wim Hof Method, to get started right away.
Basic breathing exercise of the Wim Hof Method
Before you get started with this breathing technique, you have to be very conscious with your attention. Listen to your body and learn from the signals you receive from your body and mind during the exercises. Use these signals as personal feedback about the effect the exercises are having on your body and mind, and adjust them if necessary so that they have the optimal effect on you.
- Sit, lie down, or whatever feels right for you in a meditation position and do so in a calm and safe environment. Make sure your lungs can fill with air unhindered.
- Close your eyes and try to clear your mind. Be aware of your breathing and try to connect fully with it. Take thirty to forty deep breaths through your nose or mouth. Fill your belly, fill your lungs, and move on, all the way to your head. Don’t force the exhale. Just relax and let the air go out on its own. Take a deep breath each time, and let go immediately.
- At the end of the last breath, inhale again and fill your lungs completely without any extra effort. Then relax to allow the air to flow out on its own. Don’t breathe again until you feel the urge to do so. We call this the retention phase .
- When you feel the urge to breathe, take one deep breath and hold your breath for ten to fifteen seconds. We call this the recovery breath .
- Let your breath flow out naturally and start a new round. Inhale completely, then release.
Repeat the entire cycle three to four times.
After this breathing exercise, take the time to enjoy the feeling.
With regular practice, this protocol becomes more and more like a meditation. Once you’ve gained some experience with the basic breathing exercise, try an additional technique by trying to “squeeze” the air toward your head at the time of the recovery breath in Step 4 of Round 2. You do this by tensing your pelvic floor muscles and transferring that feeling of tension to your torso and head, while continuing to relax the rest of your body. If it’s right, feel a pressure in your head. Relax everything again when you exhale again.