The breath is pretty powerful – it continues to amaze me just how powerful it can be. Breathing is something we take for granted every moment of every day. We don’t tend to stop for a second to think about the action that is taking place every waking and sleeping moment of our lives. Our bodies do the hard work for us – we’re hard-wired to just breathe. Breathe in, breathe out.
We do it on repeat. Breathe in, breathe out. I wonder how many times we’ll breathe just in the short amount of time it takes to read this post? We all have our own unique breathing patterns, speeds or styles yet it is something we all have in common. When it comes down to it, we are all living, breathing beings regardless of class, colour, race, ethnicity, food preferences or lifestyle choices. Isn’t that pretty cool?
There are a few reasons why breathing has been at the forefront of my mind recently. One is to do with Wim Hof aka the Iceman. He is a very impressive individual, the extreme athlete known for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures. He has set numerous world records to do with ice swimming and being in ice for long periods of time – think yoga in the snow, running half-marathons barefoot on the ice and you get a picture of what he does.
“The Wim Hof method can be characterized by its simplicity, applicability and a strong scientific underpinning. It is a practical way to become happier, healthier and more powerful.”
The method is based on cold therapy, breathing and commitment – it is the breathing element that really stuck with me after watching a documentary on it recently.
“Heightened oxygen levels hold a treasure trove of benefits, and the specialized breathing technique of the Wim Hof Method unearths them all: more energy, reduced stress levels, and an augmented immune response that swiftly deals with pathogens.”
How many times do we get in a stressful situation or get angry or feel sad and someone tell us to take a breath, take a step back and just breathe? There’s a reason pregnant woman are taught how to breathe and why yoga practices focus so much attention on the breathe – it is all-powerful.
One main thing with the breathing technique is to fully breathe in and fully breathe out- using all our concentration and focus. It feels really amazing afterwards the few times I have tried it. I am aiming to include a few really deep breaths every morning and then throughout the day to reset and realign my mind. It’s been really interesting so far and I hope to continue doing so.
On a similar note, as much as I love yoga and try to practise as often as I can, my breathing often gets pushed to the back of my mind. I focus more on the movement, the flow, the angles and the strength within me, whereas I know I need to shift this focus to bring it back to the breath. There is so much to think about when we really think about it.
We take breathing for granted as a means to an end, but actually, if we prioritise breathing enough, I think we could all feel rather amazing. That’s not to say that every single breath we take must be conscious and with purpose, but just a few times a day to check-in.
Beyond learning more about Wim Hof, I notice that breathing has come to the surface quite a lot in my day to day life recently. I’ve been to a couple of exercise classes where I have realised, I really need to focus on my breath to maximise my efforts. I’ve noticed a few more social media posts pop up reminding me to breathe. Even as I sat down to write this, the most recent quote I had seen on Pinterest was “inhale courage exhale fear”.
I think this is all something we can take away with us at this time of year where the seasons change. The world shifts, our mood similarly sway, and we can face challenges and trials that test us. Remember to take a breath. Take a deep breath and let it all go.
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Wim Hoff quotes taken from: https://www.wimhofmethod.com/breathing-exercises