What exactly is a breathing exercise? And why would I need to practice breathing?
These were my thoughts before someone sent me a Wim Hoff video during the early pandemic. “Just try it once, for me” they said. Reluctantly, several days later, I sat down and hit the play button on this bad boy.
As Wim Hoff "the ice man" led me through 30 in and out breaths, I felt so annoyed but pushed through until the breath hold. The practice seemed obnoxiously simple. As I was holding my breath longer and longer, without much straining at all, I was kind of shocked. I’m notoriously bad at holding my breath and we were already close to a full minute. Suddenly, I felt tingles in my hands and a chill sweep over my entire body. My heart rate started to increase as the stress of not breathing began to panic my system.
“Relax, it’s O.K.” Said the ice man.
He has an oddly trustworthy voice, so I allowed myself to let go of the panic. To my surprise, it faded and I felt the most overwhelming sense of peace. Taking a recovery breath in, I felt a sense of relief and then pressure build up again as he asked me to hold for 15 seconds until...sweet release! Wait we're doing three rounds of this? Now I’m really curious what will happen next…
Yes, I made it through the 10 minute video and realized I had never felt that relationship to my body before. It was a conscious introduction to my nervous system like “oh hey girl!” - and she was like “bitch, where have you been? We could have been friends this whole time rather than enemies?”
And this is why I did the Wim Hoff again the next day, and then the day after that. Bitch, I've been doing the Wim Hoff breathing for 2+ years now. I feel off-balance when I don’t do it, and often find myself taking deep conscious breaths in the middle of the day. It’s especially helpful when I’m on social media, where we are more likely to shallow breathe and create unconscious stress for no reason.
In summary, this shit changed my life in the most subtle and gorgeous way so I had to share it with you. Find out if you can make friends with your body and become confident in your ability to regulate those stress and panic responses. You’re a lot more powerful than you think. Just try it once, for me :)