I could feel pins and needles in my arms. Then my legs started doing the same. And next it was my stomach. I was breathing deep and hard. My body was getting full on electric. And then it was my last breath of the round.
Three minutes without breathing and then it stopped. All I could think of was – what on earth just happened to me?
I felt relaxed, I felt happy and I felt relieved. Almost as if all the stress hormones left my body for a few minutes and I could walk on the clouds. This was the first time I experienced the benefits of Wim Hof’s breathing exercise.
OK, let me tell you a bit more about this.
It was at the start of lockdown that I decided to connect with more people over the phone. And out of nowhere two people told me they’ve been doing a breathing exercise created by Wim Hof.
Who is Wim Hof?
Maybe you’ve heard of him already, but for those who haven’t, Wim Hof or The Iceman as they call him is a Dutch guy in his early 60s who holds a few world records for swimming under ice and prolonged body contact with ice as well as running barefoot half marathons on ice and snow.
If this guy appears to be nuts then why are people around me doing his breathing exercises?
I felt compelled to investigate and here’s what I discovered.
These exercises do appear to have many health benefits including, stress reduction, recovery from exercise, better sleep, improved sports performance, enhanced creativity, focus and mental energy and they also boost our immunity.
And it’s not just Wim talking about it, but all the people who have had him on his show, including Brian Rose, Russell Brand, Novak Djokovic and Joe Rogan.
There’s Wim sitting with them in the studio talking about this breathing exercise and ice bath etc and they all breath with him and ask him so why is it so good for us?
Wim claim’s this technique enables us to access parts of our brain we previously thought were beyond reach.
That’s when I thought I must give this a try. Partially, to find out what would happen, partially for my own health benefits and partially because I thought it would be fun.
But also, after all, I thought as someone whose job is to help people with health, fitness and body transformations, gaining some understanding of this would ultimately help me serve my clients and members better as well.
So, that’s why I decided to give it a go and what an experience it’s been.
Getting rid of every day stresses, reaching calm states of mind, alkalising the body to optimise its internal processes and much more.
Through something as simple as a 10-20 minute breathing exercise that first gets your body over oxygenated and then stimulates beneficial hormonal responses.
And I never thought I could hold my breath for more than three minutes!!
So, if you haven’t heard of Wim Hof and haven’t tried his breathing exercise my closing statement would be the following.
For anyone who exercises partially to destress and thought yoga was very good for that purpose, the end result of Wim Hof’s breathing makes yoga look like kindergarden.
I like doing yoga myself, mainly for stretching but also for a positive state of mind. But for destressing and relaxation it simply doesn’t compare.
So if you already haven’t tried it, I’d highly recommend having a go as you’ve got nothing to lose.
Vlad Galbavy is body transformation coach and author of “Sets in the City”