ABOUT A COLD SHOWER

Has anyone heard of Wim Hof, “The Iceman”? My son gave me The Wim Hof Method book for Christmas and right now I am at the end of week four of taking a daily cold shower. It is both fun and exciting, cold and challenging. Wim Hof explains that by taking a cold shower you activate and exercise all the millions of tiny muscles in your vascular system. He calls it vascular fitness and says that “cold showers are the gateway to flow and energy and peace.” Sounds like yoga to me.

I thought I’d share my experience with you in case you are up for trying it too! Two things made me go for it: I don’t like to be cold and I believe that you learn and grow by doing the uncomfortable. I decided this was a cool and out-of-comfort-zone-thing to try at home this winter.

HOW I GOT INSPIRED IN THE FIRST PLACE

Last year a friend asked if I wanted to join her at the Wim Hof Experience London Workshop in May 2020. I had previously briefly heard of “The Iceman”. Then the Netflix series “the goop lab” came out and I got more intrigued as I watched episode 2 featuring Wim Hof. In this episode there are people with no previous experience jumping into ice cold water.

THE WAY IT WORKS

You build up the exposure to cold water. Each week you stay 30 seconds longer in the cold shower. See the step-by-step “recipe” below. I always start with a hot shower – in the book it says that makes it easier to be under cold water…

  • week 1: half a minute cold shower
  • week 2: one minute
  • week 3: one and a half minute
  • week 4: two minutes

WHAT I LEARNED

  • your mind can tell you it is too cold but it doesn’t need to be true
  • it’s fun to be challenged
  • you have to adapt the body to both hot and cold water
  • hot water can feel “boring”
  • prolonging the cold shower with 30 seconds after a week is okay
  • your breathing can be calm in cold water
  • it is possible to forget that it is cold!
  • it feels super-powerful to embrace the cold instead of avoiding it
  • once you have decided to turn the water to cold, don’t wait, just go for it

This morning, stepping out of my two-minute cold shower, I paused to check how I was feeling right in that moment. The words that came to mind were: new, happy and not bored. I had to smile. So great to feel new at the start of a new day!

Regarding the workshop in London? Well, it could not take place in May 2020 so I am looking forward to being part of it in September 2021. Wish me luck! Brrrr…

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Annette Wiik

My name is Annette. I am a Yoga Academy Certified Teacher (BWY-Accredited School) and started practising Hatha Yoga over 20 years ago. Holding a certificate from Bangor University to teach mindfulness-based courses, I incorporate my knowledge of mindfulness meditation in all my yoga classes. I have two grown-up children and live in Wimbledon.