I think the Wim Hof Method (WHM) is a great new way of spreading the word about some very old principles that had faded into relative obscurity. Personally, I really like the newfound discipline of combining structured breathing and better oxygenation with the system shock management of cold water showers. Many people get it and can just apply Wim’s approach, but others can’t or they want to try different nuances on his method. Here I will share a couple of ‘addins’ from the work I do on moving energy and explain why.
I’ve read a number of discussion posts from people that find the breathing exercises difficult to master. I’ve outlined this before but here’s a more comprehensive description of, what I call, structured breathing: think of your body as having three ‘organic’ balloons centered 1) in your lower abdomen 2) in your chest (mid sternum level) and 3) in the middle of your head (mid-way between your ears).
When you breathe in, 1) tip the top of your pelvis forward and allow air to ‘inflate’ your lower abdomen, and as this fills-up, 2) allow the next batch of air to inflate your chest ‘balloon’ in 3 dimensions – not just raising your rib-cage. Then, even though you may have taken in most of the air you can, continue to feel that your body is expanding, but this time, 3) focused on your head, allow the sensation of expanding to give you the feeling or air going into and inflating your head. As you do this, let your head tip slightly backwards. Together with the pelvis tilt, this will give you a noticeable arched back and neck – try and keep your eyes horizontal as you do this.
Now, the breathing-out is essentially the opposite of the breathing-in pattern. Sigh and relax slowly, then let the balloon in your head contract and your head tip slightly forwards (eyes level). Let the air in the top of your lungs start to come out , followed by the mid-chest balloon contracting and releasing air, and then contract your abdomen as you let the pelvis top tilt backwards. You can practice the pelvis and head movement as being big movements, but after time even small movement will help trigger the movement pattern.
The next post is this series is: Breath Holding