Pranayama breathing opens our lungs, and minds. It connects us to our inner strength, energises the body, soothes the mind, and generates positive heat.
All of this is well-known to yogis and a key part of our practice, so I was fascinated to learn about someone who is takes breath and mind-body function to another level.
Wim Hof, known as the Ice Man, practices meditation and breathing techniques that enable him to be comfortable in extreme conditions.
The Dutchman has a number of remarkable accomplishmentsto his name, including
- Running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle, barefoot only wearing shorts
- Swimming underneath ice for 66 meters
- Climbing the highest mountains in the world while wearing shorts
These might seem like stunts (albeit incredible ones) but Hof considers all of this part of his mission to teach people how they, too, can learn to control their bodies through using the breath and meditating.
Hof’s achievements have drawn the attention of scientists, who have verified his ability to control his breathing, heart rate, and circulation, and documented how these factors have improved his immune system and allow him to withstand extreme temperatures.
While leaping into iceberg-studded waters might not be on your to-do list, it is exciting to think about the power we can access through breathing and mediation.
And the idea of being able to keep warm in the coldest settings, simply by controlling the breath, is very appealing!
For more on Wim Hof’s method, visit his website.
If you’ve ever tried his techniques please share your experiences in the comments!