The other day, I completed 30 days of performing the Wim Hof breathing method and I feel amazing. I am focused, determined and at ease in the things I am seeking to create in my life. This article is the start of my next 30 days.
How did this start? At the end of every year, I go through what I call a Completion Exercise. It’s just four questions but it helps me put into context what I’ve created and, more importantly, it gives me momentum for what I choose to focus on next.
One of the things that I decided to create for myself in 2021 is 30-day challenges. The first one I chose was Wim Hof breathing.
I had heard about Wim Hof breathing for years and even have a friend who teaches it but I had never given it a go. In fact, I assumed that it involved some ridiculously difficult practice and that you needed an ice bath to jump in when you finished. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Something prompted me to watch a video on Wim Hof back in December. I don’t know what it was — probably me just being bored and looking for inspiration outside of myself. After one short video, I found my way to an intro video guided by Wim. It lasts 11 minutes.
The method involves three rounds of breathing in and out deeply, followed by a time of holding your breath. You start at 30 seconds and work your way up to 90 seconds by the third round. Wim’s guidance and instruction are very supportive and accommodating. There’s no points subtracted if you don’t make it all the way to 90 seconds. There is also a shorter, beginner version that tops out at 60 seconds of breath hold.
I assumed that I would struggle to hold my breath for 90 seconds. In my experience, the breathing method facilitated a meditative state that makes the breath hold natural and easy and I was holding my breath to 90 seconds within the first day or so. By the end of the 30 days, I was regularly holding my breath for around 3 minutes and I never imagined that was possible for me.
What I found is that it’s not a contest for how long I can hold my breath. My progression was not linear and one day might be followed by 15–30 seconds less the next, or vice versa. The thing that made the biggest difference for me is the advice I got from another Wim Hof video about lying down and performing this practice first thing in the morning, before checking emails or social media or anything else.
There have been numerous studies and anecdotal reports on the benefits of this method of breathing, including: increased energy; strengthened immune system; reduced stress; boosted release of endorphins; and improved focus. In 30 days, I felt like I got all of these things.
It has become the most natural way for me start my day. We sometimes take breathing for granted. Generally, we do not have to think about doing it. Yet unlike most other autonomic functions in the body, we can control it with conscious action. It’s difficult, for instance, to control blood flow, digestion or the lymphatic system.
Breath is life. If you ain’t breathing, you ain’t living! Any practice that brings conscious awareness and activity to breathing is a benefit to your overall functioning as a human being. If you are looking for something to supercharge your potential and your life, consider 10–15 minutes of Wim Hof breathing.
Today was Day 40and I could not imagine starting my day without performing this short exercise. Try it for 30 days and let me know how you get on. Heck, try it once and feel the power and potential within your breath and within your life!