Two weeks ago I underwent the most mind-blowing experience of my life as I participated at the 3-day Wim Hof Method workshop, lead by Bart Dankers and his wife Tjally Dankers at the Isimila.nl Training Center in Kaatsheuvel. The Wim Hof Method? In this blog I will tell you more about what that is and what it did for me.
The power of the body
Wim Hof got his nickname “The Iceman” after he broke a number of records with regards to resisting cold. Some of his feats include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle on his bare feet, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes. Wim is convinced that our bodies are capable of doing the same exceptionally things his body allows him to do. Therefore, he has developed his Wim Hof Method that gives ordinary people the tools to take control over their body.
Always sick during winter time
When I first heard about Wim Hof, I thought that he must be crazy. Who would embrace the cold? When cold was such a risk to get sick. I would catch a cold after every physical exercise outdoors. I would develop a cough immediately if I didn’t put on a scarf, gloves, hat or close up my zipper to the top during winter. I could even catch a cold in the midst of Summer. And you know those people who can get the flue more than once every winter season? Yep, that’s me. Each winter I would easily get the flue two or three times. And I would always feel cold, have cold hands, cold feet, and feel cold to the bone. No matter how many socks, warm PJ’s or blankets I would use. I could be shivering in a hot bath. I could never get fully warm in a blazing hot Finnish sauna. My upper legs would always feel cold, and I hated winter, snow, cold wind and cold water.
Feeling like 80 in a 40+ year old body
Besides the fact that I would catch a cold at any occasion, the other default for my body was a low energy level and, during times of fatigue, even a depressive state of mind. I also suffered from menstrual headaches and took meds for that. Not the ideal situation, right? Especially with a busy work life and private life with two young children. I have taken several medications for my thyroid, depression, had years of B12 shots and vitamin D shots, migraine tablets, hormonal patches, the works. But nothing lasted. S how could I break that everlasting cycle of battling fatigue, feeling low and getting anemic and sick? That’s why I started googling and ended up watching a Lewis Howes podcast (The School of Greatness), where Wim Hof was the guest and did some quick exercises for more energy. Wow, that was the eye-opener! I felt amazing after just a quick 4-minute exercise! I needed to get to the bottom of this. So I googled and found out about the trainings by the Wim Hof Center. I signed up immediately.
The wonderful weekend at Isimila
On November 9-11 I spent my days with Bart Dankers and his lovely wife and assistant (and vegan chef!) Tjally. What I learned there has changed my life up until now. And it has only been two weeks since the training! I will not go into the details of the course, as it it something that you have to really feel for yourself in order to understand. But I can say that I have learned different breathing techniques for de-acidifying my body, recovering my body after physical exercise, healing my body when I am ill, and a technique called DMT breathing to reconnect your heart and mind and to bring you into a higher state of mind. 4 techniques that are paired up with reset techniques. These techniques imply the use of ice baths and cold water and the right mindset or commitment to heal your own body and knowingly control your immune system for better performance.
Ice, ice baby
Sounds all pretty technical, right? Well it is and it isn’t. The only thing that you need for this method is your own body. And I have learned that I can do pretty much anything that I set my mind to. Being sick of feeling low on energy? That is gone. Feeling cold? That is a thing of the past. I can now regulate my own inner thermostat and I can recover quickly after my running, just by jumping into a cold shower and doing some recovery breathing. My overall mood has improved and changed drastically as I feel so energized and vital! My sleep is very good and my focus has doubled. It is as if my inner fire has been turned on and I feel alive. That has all come to fruition after a weekend of swimming in a lake with water at a 7 degrees Celsius temperature, several ice baths, walking barefoot in the dunes in my shorts in the rain and cold wind. And the group (8 people in total, me included) carried this amazing energy that made us all feel safe to go through these life-changing exercises and come out stronger at the other end.
Swimming at the IJzeren Man
So, after that weekend I feel empowered. And I now go for barefoot walks in my shorts by myself, while it is freezing. I have taken a dip in the freezing waters of the IJzeren Man near my house here in Vught. I ran 2 minutes faster in my 5 k route than the week before and my oxygen usage is way more optimized. My VO2 max has increased three points in a week! And I take cold showers after my normal warm showers and after I come home from running my 5 or 10 km run. I get a lot out of this. The effect is pretty astounding. Is it all really that simple? Can I stay calm and warm and focussed and release all my happy hormones so I perform optimally? It seems I can! How about that?
Up on the mountain
So, after this successful weekend in Kaatsheuvel with Bart and Tjally and the lovely group, I have signed up to go on a week-long expedition to Poland, where I will walk up the Snezka mountain in shorts in the snow. I want to see what will happen if I really go outside of my comfort zone and if I will be able to go even deeper into myself to find more of my inner me. In Kaatsheuvel I have peeled off a few layers and I feel so at ease in my own body and mind. I feel really connected with my own self. But I am sure that the snow expedition and ice baths in Poland will launch me into an even deeper journey. So, this story will be continued.
You can do anything you put your mind to
The biggest lesson for me up until today is that, with the WHM, I am able to do anything I can put my mind to. The biggest obstacle for succes, health, happiness, strength in my life has been me and me alone. I have learned to let that obstacle go. I have learned that I am strong, wise, and armed with a very amazing tool: my own body. I have never felt so much like me as I do today. I and wish that everyone on earth can experience the same feeling, because it is indescribable.
Here is the video with one of the breathing exercises Wim Hof did with Lewis Howes:
I hope you liked this post.
Take care, xo Yvonne