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It was in Barcelona three years ago that I met Wim and was introduced to the Wim Hof Method. To be honest at that moment in time I didn’t know much about it and little did I know that it was going to have such a dramatic influence on my life and that one day soon, I would be a Wim Hof instructor.
A Cold Winter In Barcelona
It was a cold winter’s day in February and having heard about Wim Hof on a podcast I decided to take a look online. I typed in The Wim Hof Method In Barcelona and to my surprise I saw that Wim was coming to Barcelona the next day to teach.
Fate had spoken, so I immediately bought a ticket, not having the faintest of what I was getting myself into. Upon arriving I was greeted by an unruly mob of hippies & outdoor enthusiasts sprayed out across the floor in various yoga stretches and chatting expectantly about the day ahead.
Then without warning, Wim appeared on the stage. What struck me straight away was his energy, he was quite literally bouncing up and down as he spoke to us. The passion and belief in his method were immediately evident.
The Breathing Method
After receiving the breathing instructions from Wim, a didgeridoo started to play and I layed back to focus my attention on the breath. With the sounds of tribal music and Wim’s encouraging voice, it didn’t take me long to notice the effects, a tingling sensation in the fingers and toes. Then came the breath hold. I felt a rush of relaxation and well being flood over me as I went into a deep meditative state.
Wim became famous for taking on world record challenges and it was this that caught the attention of the scientific community who were baffled by Wim’s claims that he could voluntarily tap into his autonomic nervous system.
Starting with the Feinstein Institute in 2007, Universities all over the world were finding that not only could Wim tap into his autonomic nervous system, but in doing so he could influence his immune response, endocrine system and parts of the brain responsible for self reflection and pain control.
Today, Wim aims to share the method and all of it’s benefits with the world, but is quick to point out that we must practice it in a safe way. As Wim says, the cold is a powerful force and should be treated with respect. We should always listen to our bodies and never perform the Wim Hof breathing techniques in or near the water or when driving.
Moving Towards Discomfort
For me having struggled with anxiety virtually all my life, I saw the cold exposure component as an opportunity to overcome fear. Perhaps the most important thing i’ve learnt over the years is to move towards discomfort and the cold certainly offers that.
I started with cold showers and then progressed slowly to ice baths. I started heading to the Pyrenees on my weekends to practice in rivers and lakes and this is where I started to deepen my understanding of the practice.
For years i’d been playing with the concept of acceptance and found it to be like a spectrum. Some days I was able to do it more, than others. Despite reading so many books on the topic there’s a big difference between intellectually understanding something and actually experiencing it.
The discomfort of the cold provides an incredible opportunity to learn experientially about acceptance. It firmly reminds you that discomfort is a normal part of life, a part of your nature and to approach, rather than avoid it.
Building Acceptance With The Cold
When in the cold waters of the river I would repeatedly feel quite intense pain in my hands and feet. But now, rather than trying to ignore the pain, I would try to move towards it, to feel it more and in doing so I could notice it changing. This subtle, but powerful change has helped me to bring more acceptance to difficult mental states and to take on new challenges.
I’m so happy that I found the Wim Hof Method in Barcelona as it has had such a positive impact on my life. Of course, like all of us I still struggle sometimes, it’s a natural reaction to move away from discomfort, but the ice can teach you to be more accepting .
The Wim Hof Method In Barcelona
More recently the method has helped me to change my profession from a primary school teacher to a coach, helping people with anxiety and to setting up a successful podcast. Moves that have allowed me to live my life more by values and to have more time for the outdoors, friends and family.
Today I teach the Wim Hof Method in Barcelona. If you would like to know more about the method and upcoming workshops, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch, I will be happy to speak to you about it.
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