Goddodin

Experienced views on Wim Hof method

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Hi all,  I've been using this method as my main practice for around 6 months, having got to a point with my previous work where I just craved a fresh, uncomplicated change of scene.  I have 10+ years of experience in meditation practices and have previously worked with well respected teachers in a pretty consistent manner.  So I'm not a total newbie, but I have to confess I am still undecided on this practice even after half a year of diligent application.  

 

It is certainly enjoyable and provides some quite pleasant sensations during and immediately afterwards.  I have also noted a general reduction in anxiety and depression (these weren't significant anyway) and a slight increase in energy levels.  HOWEVER....  I still can't work out if this is a bona fide path with real depths to plumb or else just a neat little trick to give you a lift in the morning.  There appears to be energy movement taking place and there appears to be a degree of tranquillity/bliss after the breathing....  but I suppose it lacks the kind of detailed framework I am used to.  

 

The internet is a frustrating place to search for answers too, as it seems filled with people blogging about how life changing and amazing it is and this must be true because they've done 4 days of it now and their friends all say they look awesome etc etc

 

SO, does anyone have any balanced, informed opinion on this method?  

 

Thanks in advance

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6 hours ago, Goddodin said:

Hi all,  I've been using this method as my main practice for around 6 months, having got to a point with my previous work where I just craved a fresh, uncomplicated change of scene.  I have 10+ years of experience in meditation practices and have previously worked with well respected teachers in a pretty consistent manner.  So I'm not a total newbie, but I have to confess I am still undecided on this practice even after half a year of diligent application.  

 

It is certainly enjoyable and provides some quite pleasant sensations during and immediately afterwards.  I have also noted a general reduction in anxiety and depression (these weren't significant anyway) and a slight increase in energy levels.  HOWEVER....  I still can't work out if this is a bona fide path with real depths to plumb or else just a neat little trick to give you a lift in the morning.  There appears to be energy movement taking place and there appears to be a degree of tranquillity/bliss after the breathing....  but I suppose it lacks the kind of detailed framework I am used to.  

 

The internet is a frustrating place to search for answers too, as it seems filled with people blogging about how life changing and amazing it is and this must be true because they've done 4 days of it now and their friends all say they look awesome etc etc

 

SO, does anyone have any balanced, informed opinion on this method?  

 

Thanks in advance

 

The science studies have shown that the cold water plus the breathing. So you do the breathing first to activate the heat - but then cold water immersion doubles the adrenaline levels since the cold water forces your heat internally. Then holding the breath after exhale doubles the oxygen levels into the brain - this is described in the Taoist Yoga book as forcing the qi back up through the 8 main channels.

 

So also Wim Hof says to visualize fire in the stomach - and so this is the standard Tummo training as he got the training from reading Tibetan yoga texts.

 

So essentially you have yang qi - which is the "steam" that sores up - after the deep breathing but only after you visualize by concentrating the spirit fire back into the earth - or lower tan t'ien stomach. So the "yin qi" of the heart enables the generative force from food - the yang jing created through deep breathing - to then create "yang qi." And it is the "yang qi" that TAoist Yoga then calls the "inner fire" that is luminous. So that is the Tiger or the secret Sun (Lung qi) in the Moon of the water.

 

So I think Wim Hof says he starts every day with 2 hours of his breathing meditation - and then I suppose he does the cold water immersion. Then he does more meditation breathing - I suppose. And then he eats only one meal a day - because he says otherwise the food in the gut prevents the deep breathing. What the science has shown is that you are physically activating the adrenal medullae through the deep reverse breathing and so that is what increases the adrenaline levels significantly. But one of the scientists studying Wim Hof says there is some special protein that is activated by the cold water immersion - which then doubles the adrenaline levels.

 

So the qigong training shows we store up the energy through the vagus nerve but we do so as a "parasympathetic rebound" which means that the more we can push the sympathetic nervous system then it causes an opposite extreme. So Wim Hof also then suggests push ups or the horse stance. So with horse stance the legs are shaking 7 to 9 times per second - and the ELF harmonic is the Schumann resonance - as a standing wave with the Earth's cosmic energy. So again this shaking from the thighs sore in horse stance or with the legs bent - then causes a parasympathetic rebound reaction as a deep vagus nerve opposite extreme. This then stores up the energy - and just like with the breath held AFTER exhale - that also activates the vagus nerve.

 

The Yang qi is actually what Dr. Mae-Wan HO postulated as superconducting proton-proton energy - as Dr. Puharich also postulated. So the ELF subharmonic is actually a reverse time phase coherence - the spin magnetic moment between the proton and electron as the water in the body is harmonic split. This happens from either pressure or density. So with full lotus or horse stance you get the pressure on the collagen that is piezoelectric and traps the water - and splits it via an ultrasound-ELF subharmonic. But with the cold water you get density that does the same - since the colder water is more dense and so traps the energy at a smaller wavelength with the same frequency. So you get reverse time superluminal phase coherence as virtual photon energy that is trapped.

 

That is the secret of tummo creating such great heat in the body. But mainstream science has not figured this out - it is from quantum biology that was considered "woo woo" science just ten years ago. So with the yang qi - you would also need celibacy to keep building up the energy and as the yin qi combines with the yang qi - then you activate the yuan qi - after you have restored the generative force from the celibacy. My guess is that Wim Hof doesn't go into this since obviously he could not market himself so easily. But think about it - he got into this cold water treatment because he had depression from his wife committing suicide. Depression as per Daoist alchemy - is a lung energy blockage from lack of yang qi and is fixed by deep breathing. But since he was training to recover from his wife and so we can assume he was also celibate.

 

So he says now he can just use his mind to create great heat in his lower body - and so he opened his third eye through his training. Dr. Herbert Benson tested the Tibetan monks who did have the real tummo ability - so this stuff is real but then they also practiced celibacy and meditating all the time. So Wim Hof was celibate for a long enough period - before he got famous - where he opened his third eye up enough so then he could keep maintaining the tummo heat. AS he said when he swam under the ice and he got lost - he was not afraid - so he had activated his vagus nerve so deeply that it went beyond his heart stopping - under water. He said he was dying but he was not afraid and he saw very bright light. So he had activated his yuan qi energy and his yuan shen - his original prenatal spirit.

 

Personally I have not practiced his method - since I live in Minnesota then I have gotten a lot of cold immersion in my life - I also lived in a cabin in Alaska. But actual ice water submersion is something I have never done. I know the St. Francis Assisi monks relied on the same cold water submersion in order to maintain celibacy. So with the Taoist Yoga method you do the deep breathing to then "shink" the life force energy and drive it back into the body.  But what I have done is after small universe meditation - when the yang qi is activated and so I have great strong internal heat - then I like to go outside in the snow barefoot to freak my family out. haha. Because they don't know that I have this great heat inside to keep me warm.

 

 

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I went through both courses and have been doing it for 2 years.  I enjoy it, but think of it more as a good tool w 2 good exercises (breathing & cold showers) then a complete practice or bona fide path.   I think its helped my meditation practices.  

 

Too often newbies look at things goo goo eyed and miraculous.  Maybe I was a little bit like that when I started, it's nice to see steady progress and there are some nice benefits, its also not easy, I bet most people don't make it through the 10 weeks, so there's also survivor bias at work. 

 

It's too much to think any seminar or 10 week program is going to revolutionize ones life.  But if you can get a couple good practices from them, it worthwhile. 

 

I found the program a welcome change to the usual sitting & standing & philosophizing I do.  It's vigorous and demanding.  A real test of mind/body coordination.  At times  painful and uncomfortable (not so much now, the new program w/ sticking your hands in ice water for 2 minutes owww).  Make it through and you've picked up some real physical skill and toughened mind set.  Its not a 'way', there's no particular philosophy to it, other then you're tougher then you seem.

 

I admire Wim Hof, though his cheerfulness can get on my nerves. 

(FWIW I blogged about it in my PPD)

 

Edited by thelerner
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9 hours ago, voidisyinyang said:

http://www.qzwb.com/gb/content/2010-03/28/content_3298631.htm

 

Daoist alchemy beat Wim Hof's record

Nice to see people breaking records, but its even better when they can teach people how to do what they do.  Ie the value of Wim Hof isn't watching Youtubes, but gong through the method and greatly improving your breathwork, immunity, cold tolerance and general toughness

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I’ve done the latest 10week course so I’m not blundering on with this, guess I just needed some validation of my efforts. My current practice does have a big noticeable effect on energy and mental health but I suppose there s part of me thinking this is too rapid to be authentic.

 

for info, current daily routine is this:

 

5 tibetans

nauli kriya 

bhastrika x 3 rounds

nadi shodana x 6 rounds 

Wim Hof method x 4 rounds varying practice method 

brahmari x 7

trataka

 

i then exercise and then have an ice bath, practicing either ujayi or central channel tummo breathing during this.

 

good way to start the day... just wondering about long term unintended consequences 

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You do quite a bit.   Which is great.  As per the Wim Hof method as time went on I do it, but don't push myself.  Because I want to do it long term, I no longer do 10 minute cold showers, matter of fact I step into them warm and only do the cold at the end.  Maybe two or three minute.  With breathing I do 3 sets and don't push the retentions,  rarely even time them anymore.  At about 1:40, 1:50, I get the tingle, my diaphragm pulses, maybe I'll see some light in the 3rd eye region and I give up, without fighting for longer, before the panic instinct cuts in. 

 

What I'm getting at is I worry about consequences if I continually pushed for longer.   Better to find the sweet spot for oneself, then risk blowing out through doing too much.  Or maybe that's just middle aged guy talk. 

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Yes totally agree. I have a similar view. I’ve trained physically since I was 12 or so and a lot of the lessons I’ve learnt there apply with internal practices too; quality over quantity, emphasise safety, consistency over intensity. The above is my go to week day morning routine. Weekends tend to be a stripped back version and if I feel tired or not quite ‘on it’ I’ll dumb things down. Very easy to enthusiastically throw yourself into novel routines which simply aren’t sustainable.

 

plus I think On more subtle levels you need to pace your practices.  Too much at once is like a kid winning the lottery; you don’t necessarily have the wisdom to skilfully deal with your new status

Edited by Goddodin
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FWIW if anyone wants to try the 10 Week course here's a link for 50% off.  I found it a bit pricey but at half price it may be worth a try.  Plus it offers an e-copy of his book for free whether you sign up or not. 

http://explore.wimhofmethod.com/wims-birthday/?utm_source=wimhofm&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=wimhofmethod&utm_content=It’s+Wim’s+birthday+so+we’re+giving+YOU+a+present

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Posted (edited)

A wonderful young lady came here to work as a volunteer, and she is an amazingly healthy massage therapist who is also a shaman. She taught me the Wim Hof breathing method and it's very interesting.  No way in hell I'm going to get in ice water though!

 

She told me about some powerful healings that she had due to the breathing method, and it looks like a good thing.

 

I'm going to do this some more, and I just realized that we do something similar in my chi kung, but we only do a few repetitions.

 

Anyway, after the breathing you're supposed to breath out and then not breath for two minutes if possible.  I found that even after two minutes I still don't feel like breathing, but then I decided to breath anyway, just so I don't scare the volunteers.

 

I think maybe this is tapping into something that some yogis do, where they can stop breathing for exteneded periods, so I'm going to try that again whilst lying down.

 

 

Edited by Starjumper
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It’s basically a method of quickly tapping the energy reserves of your kidneys to strengthen your Wei Qi...

 

the concern is that you’ll deplete your kidneys - the damages of which will show up in later life.

 

Some constitutions can handle it for longer than others.

 

Sounds like it’s great for mental toughness though.

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3 hours ago, Starjumper said:

I think maybe this is tapping into something that some yogis do, where they can stop breathing for exteneded periods, so I'm going to try that again whilst lying down.

 

It is actually the opposite. I have a good friend who is a practitioner of this have tried it and tend to agree with freeform. I will also add that it is taking in Prana from the air as an outside source of fuel and likely does bolster the energy reserves of the kidneys and or run the intake of prana / QI throught the Kidney system and as such is probable very unsafe in the long run.

 

Retention of the breath is not something that is done on purpose in yoga, it is something that happens as a side effect of Samadhi and pure life force entering the system from the Crown Chakra.  

 

When the mind becomes one pointed enough and the absorption is complete and or very near complete and the zero point has been achieved from this zero point which is in itself like an inter-dimensional lens there is a great influx of raw life force from the other side of the lens.

 

The lens itself is single pointed stillness and silence. The lens is made up of mind stuff that requires no visualization at all only profound stillness and single pointed absorption.  When this happens the body does not require breathing for long periods of time and in very deep levels the heart stops beating as well. 

 

When you experience this you will know the most profound peace the most satisfying rest you have ever known. The problem is you will not want to come back either. Choose you Mahasamadhi well and have your earthly affairs and will in order.

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1 hour ago, freeform said:

It’s basically a method of quickly tapping the energy reserves of your kidneys to strengthen your Wei Qi...

 

the concern is that you’ll deplete your kidneys - the damages of which will show up in later life.

 

Some constitutions can handle it for longer than others.

 

Sounds like it’s great for mental toughness though.

This has generally been my concern of this practice.

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Posted (edited)

I've practiced the WH breathing method for a while and I think that none is authoritative enough to define and describe the long term effects of this exercise at this time. 

 

The breathing pattern (without the retention segments ) is sometimes seen as a spuntaneos reaction to keto-acidosis in diabetic patients and it's called Kussmaul breathing pattern. 

 

In my personal experience with the practice, I started to have hairloss after a few weeks of 1+ hrs of daily exercise. So, I stopped the routine and went back to normal. 

Maybe it's just me and my hormonal balance, but I decided not to rely on it as a main practice. 

 

I do it occasionally to get relief from occasional muscolar pain (due to excessive exercise) or to reduce sugar's level in my blood: I haven't tested this with scientific means, but I have the subjective impression that it does so... mainly because I always feel a titanic hunger for sweets after the practice. 

 

So, no more than a session every 2-3weeks or so (or even more) for me, and it's a nice weapon in my spiritual armory. Thank you Wim ;)

Edited by Cheshire Cat
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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Pilgrim said:

 

It is actually the opposite. I have a good friend who is a practitioner of this have tried it and tend to agree with freeform. I will also add that it is taking in Prana from the air as an outside source of fuel and likely does bolster the energy reserves of the kidneys and or run the intake of prana / QI throught the Kidney system and as such is probable very unsafe in the long run.

 

Retention of the breath is not something that is done on purpose in yoga, it is something that happens as a side effect of Samadhi and pure life force entering the system from the Crown Chakra.  

 

When the mind becomes one pointed enough and the absorption is complete and or very near complete and the zero point has been achieved from this zero point which is in itself like an inter-dimensional lens there is a great influx of raw life force from the other side of the lens.

 

The lens itself is single pointed stillness and silence. The lens is made up of mind stuff that requires no visualization at all only profound stillness and single pointed absorption.  When this happens the body does not require breathing for long periods of time and in very deep levels the heart stops beating as well. 

 

When you experience this you will know the most profound peace the most satisfying rest you have ever known. The problem is you will not want to come back either. Choose you Mahasamadhi well and have your earthly affairs and will in order.

 

This was my experience as well.  I only had to make a little effort to not breath at the beginning of the first two times, because it's a natural instinct.  Later I tried it lying down without all the mouth noises, with nose breathing, and experienced similar to what you are describing, and I discovered some cool stuff, like i figured out how to control my heart rate and slow it way down, but I was chicken to try to slow it all the way down or do it for too long.  

 

Them Mr. Hof sez to focus on your pineal gland to energize it.  Lately I've only been practicing getting my crown point super energized so it sends out that beam of energy, and whew, it can get annoyingly strong feelings of energy (buzzing, tingling, itching, vibrating) at head top.

 

I tried focussing inside my head many years ago but was unable so never considered doing it.  Now I can feel energy inside my head so I was able to focus on the center of it and I felt the energy start to get stronger there.

 

So, would you say that this kind of stopping of breathing that I described, evidently like some yogis do, is draining of the kidneys?  I don't think it is, I think it can drain adrenals if not done in a real relaes way, which is the way I did it, lying down.

Edited by Starjumper

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45 minutes ago, Cheshire Cat said:

In my personal experience with the practice, I started to have hairloss after a few weeks of 1+ hrs of daily exercise.

 

Yeah - that kind of hair loss is linked with kidney deficiency... also sore knees, lower back issues, graying hair etc...

 

I’d say that if anyone is really set on carrying on with the practice, just bear this in mind... and maybe nourish blood and kidneys as much as possible... 

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It is best not to mess with the heart you can inadvertently trigger an irregular heartbeat. This is not good because if you establish a neural pathway it can become chronic A Fib

 

It is with the feeble calm breath that comes from correct practice where the life force fills you so much very little breathing is needed that the switches get thrown lungs rest, heart rests mind ceases as ecstasies beyond description fill and overflow the awareness to the point where mind becomes one pointed and so still it dares not do anything least it interfere with the divine and it does this out of immense attraction and love as the mind is purified as well.

 

It is like coming home after being in a foreign land and finding all you thought were dead and gone are actually alive and well and it was just a nightmare.

 

then direct being followed by direct awareness is yours followed by the fall from grace and the descent into mortal life with human body.

 

Once this happens it changes you for ever. You will no longer fear death because you have become death itself. You will no longer fear life because you will have become life itself.  You will need time to grow into this however.

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1 hour ago, Starjumper said:

 

This was my experience as well.  I only had to make a little effort to not breath at the beginning of the first two times, because it's a natural instinct.  Later I tried it lying down without all the mouth noises, and experienced similar to what you are describing, and I discovered some cool stuff, like i figured out how to control my heart rate and slow it way down, but I was chicken to try to slow it all the way down or do it for too long.  

 

Them Mr. Hof sez to focus on your pineal gland to energize it.  Lately I've only been practicing getting my crown point super energized so it sends out that beam of energy, and whew, it can get annoyingly strong feelings of energy (buzzing, tingling, itching, vibrating) at head top.

 

I tried focussing inside my head years ago but was unable, now I can feel energy inside my head so I was able to focus on the center of it and I felt the energy start to get stronger there..  

 

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Posted (edited)

My breathing sessions, doing 3 rounds at 30 breaths plus retentions are done pretty quickly.  It only takes about 10-15 minutes start to finish.  I do it a couple days a week, first thing in the morning  Doing it for an hour + is pushing and stressing quite a bit.    The method is all about stress but you gotta find your sweet spot. 

 

Haven't experienced hair loss, matter of fact I think the cold showers have my hair & scalp at there healthiest. 

 

 

what else.. taking a less yogic approach I figured the 'secret' of the strangely long retention after exhaling is that the rapid breathing, not quite but similar to hyperventilation, tricks the brain.  Tapping into some deep survival mechanism where you don't breath (ie good for sprint) and you get pain is reduced, maybe endurance enhanced.

 

Its is a stressor though.  It was interesting putting on a cheap finger pulse/0 2 meter and seeing the the pulse go up a bit, then during the latter stages of retention it starts dropping along w/ the Oxygen reading, waay down, into the 50s.   Kinda like watching your life force ebb away. 

Edited by thelerner
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I mentioned that I got better results while lying down and trying a modified method.  What I did was blend the Wim Hof method whith the following:  Transformational Breathwork. It is akin to Holotropic Breathwork, which was developed by Stanislav & Christina Grof.

 

They are different forms of Pranayama, the different forms lead to different results.

 

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Posted (edited)
On 6/19/2019 at 4:18 PM, Cheshire Cat said:

In my personal experience with the practice, I started to have hairloss after a few weeks of 1+ hrs of daily exercise. So, I stopped the routine and went back to normal. 

Maybe it's just me and my hormonal balance, but I decided not to rely on it as a main practice.

 

I noticed the Wim Hof method is the same as the typical physiological drowning response.  The breathing pattern produces a lot of adrenalin, which can lead to all kinds of health problems.  THe Holotropic method gets you to a similar place, but it is much softer and I think it does not stimulate an adrenalin response, or if it does then it is very mild.

Edited by Starjumper
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On 6/19/2019 at 5:48 PM, Pilgrim said:

It is best not to mess with the heart you can inadvertently trigger an irregular heartbeat. This is not good because if you establish a neural pathway it can become chronic A Fib

 

It is with the feeble calm breath that comes from correct practice where the life force fills you so much very little breathing is needed that the switches get thrown lungs rest, heart rests mind ceases as ecstasies beyond description fill and overflow the awareness to the point where mind becomes one pointed and so still it dares not do anything least it interfere with the divine and it does this out of immense attraction and love as the mind is purified as well.

 

It is like coming home after being in a foreign land and finding all you thought were dead and gone are actually alive and well and it was just a nightmare.

 

then direct being followed by direct awareness is yours followed by the fall from grace and the descent into mortal life with human body.

 

Once this happens it changes you for ever. You will no longer fear death because you have become death itself. You will no longer fear life because you will have become life itself.  You will need time to grow into this however.

 

I was experiencing similar things without having done the breathing method, but always when lying down.  My breath gets super shallow and I feel blissful.  There are physical, non-breathing Taoist methods which get you to a similar place, a reclining exercise.

 

Concerning slowing the heart down on purpose, I don't see any point in joining that particular circus/detour.

 

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3 hours ago, Starjumper said:

 

I noticed the Wim Hof method is the same as the typical physiological drowning response.  The breathing pattern produces a lot of adrenalin, which can lead to all kinds of health problems.  THe Holotropic method gets you to a similar place, but it is much softer and I think it does not stimulate an adrenalin response, or if it does then it is very mild.

Can you tell us more of the holotropic method? I had a friend who actually paid someone a mental health professional as I recall and she employed this with him but he did not say too much abou tthe actual technique other than he thought it helped.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Pilgrim said:

Can you tell us more of the holotropic method? I had a friend who actually paid someone a mental health professional as I recall and she employed this with him but he did not say too much abou tthe actual technique other than he thought it helped.

 

The main difference is that it is done more slowly and only done while lying down.  The inhale is still 100% full but there is no hurry to fill, then when full let it out, like in Wim Hof.  The Wim Hof thing I was shown had 40 breaths, all done fast.  Then the requirement to just let it out and stop is similar in both except in Holotropic breathing there is no directive to avoid inhaling for a long time, but just to relax in to it and breath softly, normally.  The Holotropic breathing does not tend to trigger the drowning physiological response the way the Wim Hof method does.  This morning we did the Hof breathing again, and the first two times I tried it on my inversion table so during the 'relax' part my lungs filled instead of emptying.  Then for the last one I did it lying on the floor.  I hardly felt the need to breath even after two and a half minutes.

 

In the drowning response the first thing that happens is your blood stops circulating through your limbs and goes into your body to nourish your organs and brain.  After this the heart starts to slow down and blood pressure drops.  After more time the circulation in the torso diminishes and is concentrated mostly in the spinal cord and lower brain.  Wim Hof describes this as accessing your reptilian brain, which I guess is correct in a way.  When the circulation stops in the limbs there is a noticeable relaxing and dropping of tension in the limbs.  Then later the same thing happens in your torso, everything slows down and gets real relaxed, which coincides with the heart rate slowing down.

 

Then later in the Wim Hof method you take the big breath at the end and hold it for 20 seconds.  When I do that I get real high, I've been looking for that for millions of years.  Then later there is a feeling of strong clarity and awareness.

Edited by Starjumper

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On 6/19/2019 at 6:08 PM, thelerner said:

My breathing sessions, doing 3 rounds at 30 breaths plus retentions are done pretty quickly.  It only takes about 10-15 minutes start to finish.  I do it a couple days a week, first thing in the morning  Doing it for an hour + is pushing and stressing quite a bit.    The method is all about stress but you gotta find your sweet spot. 

 

Haven't experienced hair loss, matter of fact I think the cold showers have my hair & scalp at there healthiest. 

 

 

what else.. taking a less yogic approach I figured the 'secret' of the strangely long retention after exhaling is that the rapid breathing, not quite but similar to hyperventilation, tricks the brain.  Tapping into some deep survival mechanism where you don't breath (ie good for sprint) and you get pain is reduced, maybe endurance enhanced.

 

Its is a stressor though.  It was interesting putting on a cheap finger pulse/0 2 meter and seeing the the pulse go up a bit, then during the latter stages of retention it starts dropping along w/ the Oxygen reading, waay down, into the 50s.   Kinda like watching your life force ebb away. 

 

That's what it looks like, yes.  Earlier Earl Gray did a  reading on me and said my blood pressure was really high, so I checked and it was - too much salt.  So I stopped salt and started measuring.  Some quiet times my pressure would go as low as below 60 to below 80, like 58/78 with a pulse around 50.  The first time I did the Hof breathing lying down, when I saw my pulse going dow, it must have been like 30 bpm, maybe less.  I was watching the heart beat and trying to slow it down, but maybe it was just slowing down naturally, it felt like I had some control of it though.

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