I’ll be honest — despite the title of this article, I usually wear shorts, and it’s not always in the mountains. More often than not I’m in the forests near my house. But, “I Walk Around Outside in My Shorts” doesn’t quite have the same pull, and I really want you to read this, because this technique changed my life, and maybe it could change yours, too.
A couple of years ago I was hosting a workshop where I invited a bunch of my friends to come and join me so that I could share some of the things I had learned. I showed some videos and asked some really deep questions, and we explored topics ranging from meditation and manifestation to nutrition, human potential, and spirituality.
Nine people showed up.
After the first presentation, I felt I had to really inspire them during the second one the following week. I needed to find a short video of a guy who could make anyone believe that anything was possible. I didn’t know at the time who I was looking for, but when I found him, I knew right away.
His name is Wim Hof, the Iceman.
He holds 26 world records and has accomplished some pretty incredible superhuman feats.
He climbed to 6.7 kilometers (22,000 ft.) altitude at Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts and shoes, but failed to reach the summit due to a recurring foot injury
He reached the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in his shorts in two days.
He completed a full marathon (42.195 kilometres [26.219 mi]), above the Arctic Circle in Finland, in temperatures close to −20 °C (−4 °F). Dressed in nothing but shorts, Hof finished in 5 hours and 25 minutes.
He also broke the ice endurance record twice, in Intel in February and in New York City in November. The Guinness World Record is now set for 1 hour and 52 minutes and 42 seconds by Hof.
Hof also ran a full marathon in the Namib Desert without water. The run was performed under the supervision of Thijs Eijsvogels.
Impressive, right? It gets crazier…
I’m no scientist, but I’ll try to explain to the best of my understanding here. Wim claims he can tap into the autonomous nervous system, which is the system responsible for controlling unconscious bodily functions, such as breathing, heartbeat, and temperature regulation.
To prove it, he did a study where he was injected with an endotoxin that would illicit an intense immunological response. Where most people would get flu-like symptoms — nausea, vomiting, etc. — he experienced little more than a mild headache, which means he essentially shut off his immune response. We still really don’t know how it works exactly, and more studies need to be done.
If this incredible feat can be replicated, it could have tremendous implications on the current healthcare system.
The good news is that it can, and this has been proven. Check out the study here.
“What I am capable of anyone can learn.”
– Wim Hof
When I first came across this information, there were so many questions racing through my mind, I didn’t even know where to start. I decided to watch his VICE episode where he trains the interviewer and camera crew to climb Mt. Snezka in Poland in less than a week. These were two ordinary people with absolutely NO mountaineering experience whatsoever, and they not only summited a mountain, but did it in nothing but a pair of shorts.
I was sold. I had to try this.
A couple weeks later, I unexpectedly met him. He just showed up to the Bulletproof Conference in Pasadena I was attending. I was in shock and didn’t even get his contact info, but was happy to meet my newfound hero (See video below for the footage of that first meeting).
I took this as a sign from the universe, so as soon as I returned home, I contacted Wim for an interview, and shortly thereafter I was in L.A. for the new facilitator training workshop. Not long after that, I found myself climbing the Rocky Mountains in Colorado as I completed a weeklong intensive training with Wim and about 30 future American facilitators to become the first certified Wim Hof instructor in Canada.
What shocked me the most was that my initial motivation for learning the whole method was to be able to brag about this macho feat. Something to add to some commendable bucket list of sorts. What I was trying to prove and to whom I still have no idea. (“Mountain climbing in my shorts! Check!”)
(If you listened to Episode 1 of The Way Within, you’ll know this happened well before that humbing experience that caused me to question why I do the things I do in the first place. If you want to watch it, CLICK HERE.)
A LESSON IN AWARENESS
Through the process of really learning the method something changed.
I mean, sure, the breathing exercises get you high off your own supply (air), and the cold gives you a rush of adrenaline that also makes you feel incredible after each cold spurt, but that wasn’t quite it.
Something powerful started shifting in me. With every ice bath and long, cold walk through nature, I started to feel a little different.
A deeper connection and awareness started to develop within me, and the need to climb the mountain diminished. With every round of breathing and extended breath holds, I became more aware. With every cold shower and ice plunge I felt something growing inside me.
Finally, in Colorado, after listening to all the other future facilitators’ stories, it really hit me. This was much more than a physical accomplishment or a test of strength; this was a journey within, a way to reconnect with myself on a deeper level. People were sharing stories of how the method helped them with their battles against PTSD, Depression, Anxiety, Self Confidence, Physcial Ailments and so much more.
In my own case, through the practice my intuition would increase along with my awareness. The ability to get into a state of mind to not only take on the ice but anything else that stood in my path was rapidly increasing. It didn’t make me invincible, but it helped me develop the confidence to do things that I once thought were impossible. And this led me to start questioning almost everything, what is truly possible?
I believe this method led me to my 55 day fast (click here for that article) and so many other incredible benefits I recieved and am still receiving by allowing my intuition and self awareness to develop.
The greatest part of this journey for me and by far the most fulfilling is the ability to share it with others. I have helped people to break through their barriers — physical, mental, emotional — and truly witness them find their inner strength, sometimes in a matter of hours.
Once they realize the power lies within, it’s game on.
The method involves three main components: breathing, gradual cold exposure, and mindset/focus.
I’ve heard the saying a million times that “the best things in life are free,” and breathing, cold air, and a focused mindset, once you learn the technique, will cost you nothing to maintain for the rest of your life.
I encourage everyone to visit www.wimhofmethod.com and try the free mini course.
Here is Episode 3 of The Way Within show where I got to ask Wim some more questions about his personal story and how he became the Iceman. I hope you enjoy it! ( I apologize for the quality of the video and sound, as it was very windy and sunny and we didn’t get the shot we wanted.)
Please feel free to connect with me on Facebook HERE or Instagram (@thewaywithin.me) HERE if you wish to follow my journey.
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