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Wim Hof Live Retreat Review

Wim Hof (the Iceman) hosted his first ever Live Retreat Weekend on Feb 13-14 2021. Overall, it was an amazing couple of days! Here is my short review recorded Sunday night right after the event. I have committed to 30-days of breathing and cold showers and will have a follow up video with my results!

If you prefer to read rather than watch the video of my Wim Hof review, I have included a transcript below. Enjoy!

Wim Hof Review Video Transcript:

Hey everybody, James Murphy from Evolution For Success, and I’m so excited to bring you this impromptu Sunday night video. I just completed the first ever Wim Hof Live weekend, it was a Saturday and Sunday –six hours both days– and it was absolutely wonderful! I just had to make this video because I’m like I’m feeling so great after two cold showers. I wanted to just give you a couple of a couple cliff notes of the seminar, and how great it was. 

[0:30] First of all, some of the pros: It was really easy. It was only $60 for the two days. The Zoom meeting went off perfect. I t was easy to log on and off. They did a great job bringing some simple structure to it. They had the itineraries mapped out  both days which was really nice. And they did have a couple of little audio snafus here and there with the microphone and some music at one point at the end of the meditation on day one. But what I learned from that was absolutely fantastic! How Wim Hof reacted to that… talk about great!  It was just a great learning moment. He was absolutely perfect for what needed to be for that event in terms of actually illustrating how to deal with stress. 

[1:10] So, for those of you who don’t know, real quick, Wim Hof is famous for his ice immersion and breathing. He’s called The Iceman because he does immersion cold therapy or cold immersion. And, but what’s really interesting about it is about the man himself. He opened up on day one about some of his life struggles which I had no clue about, but it’s really really interesting. And what I love about him is number one that he’s absolutely a man on his purpose. He’s here to change the world by basically helping people from the inside out shift and change their physiology, improve their immune systems, and really become back in tune with themselves and who they are and what they are. Because then you can find your purpose. So in terms of a man who’s purpose driven, oh, he steals the show!  He has my heart, absolutely 100% in terms of purpose. 

[2:00] The second thing is, you know, we talked about values that drive our behaviors, his values are really really simple. It’s just happiness, strength, and health. That’s it. He just wants people to have more strength, be stronger with better health, and be happy. That’s it. It’s really simple. So his values are very clear. Where he’s coming from is very clear. He’s very genuine and he holds no punches. 

[2:29] And he really holds an interesting juxtaposition between science –because everybody has been studying him, science wise so he’s very very clear on the scientific aspects of his work and what it does, but at the same time he’s like, “look past science to just experience it”. He keeps saying “feeling is understanding”. And he said, the breathing and the ice immersion/cold baths are really meant to do two things. One is, of course, the benefits for the immune system. But, but really it’s about deepening the awareness of who you are inside. Aligning and integrating your whole brain. He’s always like going ”We need to bring your brain and your heart back into center.” But it’s not fluffy; that’s the weirdest thing. Some people say that’s definitely soft or fluffy, but he’s actually saying “Hey there’s science behind this, it works on so many different levels.”  

[3:30] So whether it’s the breathing, or whether it’s the cold shower aspect of it, basically he wants to have you build awareness of your body, and reset your immune system by resetting the autonomic nervous system. Now the autonomic nervous system is what guides all of the unconscious systems in the body (i.e. processing our food, growing our fingernails, thinking, breathing… all those things). Now, under the autonomic nervous system, there’s the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system, and I need to look at my notes on this one, to make sure I get right… the sympathetic nervous system is our fight or flight. It’s active. The parasympathetic system is the breathing and the relaxation piece.  

[4:28] So is all the breathing tools, the ice work, and the cold shower stuff, what that does is just helps balance those two systems. 30 to 40 breaths of the breathing, fully in and then out the 30 to 40 breaths of that actually engages that sympathetic nervous system to make you act. But then when you hold your breath at the end that engages the parasympathetic nervous system to bring you into balance. And when those two things are in balance, that’s what everybody wants. In that meditation, I had some really wonderful deep intense meditations. It was absolutely crazy. So, there’s some real aspects to opening up the brain in the mind by doing this. 

[5:15] They went over five simple reasons for doing the Wim Hof Method. Let’s talk about this real quick. One is that it strengthens your immune system. I just said that. Number two is it lowers inflammation in the body and he believes that inflammation is the core of most disease in the body. Number three is that it helps with pain reduction. Number four, is that it helps train the cardiovascular system for greater balance.  And as I said it balances the autonomic nervous system. 

[5:44] What else is really great about this is he kept saying “Feeling is understanding”, and “Let’s go past the science to the experience of it.” That’s the other thing I absolutely love. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve never done it before or if you’ve done it before… any of the breathing, he’s just like: “Just experienced it”. There had some people who were saying “Hey I don’t want to do the showers.” His response is “fine, don’t do the showers, just do the breathing. You don’t need the showers.” 

[6:07] Even with the cold showers or cold immersion or cold bath, he said “two minutes is all you need for the health benefits. Anything after two minutes is just mental and emotional training.” So he’s like: let’s move past the complex back to the simple. And that’s what I love. It’s just like in Kung Fu, or Tai Chi, or any of those martial arts, the body moves in so many ways  and it bends or in so many ways or it breaks. So he really keeps it simple, but it’s powerful, it’s effective and I feel like a million bucks. 

[6:40] So ultimate leverage coming out right now, and then I’m going to wrap this up real quick. I’m going to commit to doing this for the next 30 days, and by the way if you want more information around this, we just released a little bit ago, on our website EvolutionForSuccess.com, an actual full Wim Hof article with links and everything included He does have a Wim Hof Method mobile app as well. I’m going to download that tonight. It’s free initially. After that it asks you to pay for a membership, and so I’m going to go in and I’m going to buy that and for the next 30 days, I’m going to do the Wim Hof method every single day. Might not do a cold shower or an ice bath necessarily, but he said you can just walk outside on the deck and just stand in the corner.  You can do whatever you want to do, but I’m going to do the breathing, and something cold for the next 30 days. And I’m going to give you an update and see how it goes. 

[7:30] They’re even giving us access to the webinar after they edit it so we can view it for another 30 days afterwards so I think they really over delivered on the price. I would absolutely do it again. And I’ll be blasting out to the network next time it’s out there.  

[7:45] I get nothing from it, except the, knowing that I helped you maybe change your life so there’s plenty of other reviews online too but I’m giving you this one. So take care and continue to run your race, and we’ll talk to you soon. Have a great day!

Does Wim Hof Breathing Increase Alertness in the Morning? I’m Testing It Out!

Need a little caffeine-free boost in the morning? Using the Wim Hof breathing technique is supposed to quickly increase your energy, elevate your mood, and help you be ready for whatever life throws at you. 

Your mood affects your physiology —how you sit, how you breathe, how you hold your shoulders…– but it’s a two way street. Your physiology *also* affects how you feel. Just like a walk or a good workout can radically alter your mood, changing your breath pattern, even for a few minutes, alters your body chemistry and your emotional state. 

When it comes to feeling alive and energized, a lot has been said and written lately about the Wim Hof method. And for good reasons. While breathing techniques are ancient, the scientific study of breath is still in its infancy, and Hof has been very willing to have science take a closer look at his method. He contends that by committing to a consistent practice of a combination of meditation, Wim Hof Breathing, and cold exposure, you can change your mind and body —particularly your energy level, stress response and immune system response. 

The breathing portion of his method goes something like this: While sitting comfortably or laying down, take 30 to 40 quick, deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Then, breathe in deep, breathe out and hold until you need to breathe (30 seconds or more). Inhale again, as deep as you can, and hold it for 10 to 15 seconds. Repeat the sequence 3 times. 

A 2014 dutch study lends scientific credibility to Hof’s claims and adds credence to the idea that conscious breathing can allow us to influence deeper processes in our bodies, and more recent studies seem to have confirmed that you can control your autonomic nervous system, alleviate arthritis, and even cause a shift in your metabolism which strengthens the immune system. Anecdotally, many people have found clear health benefits from adopting a regular practice of his method. 

Ultimately, you will have to decide for yourself if this breathing practice (or the whole method) is effective in your own life, but the initial science is compelling so far. I have started incorporating this type of hyper-oxygenated breathing as part of my morning routine and I have found it tremendously effective at quickly increasing both my physical energy and my mental alertness. The adrenaline boost you get from this type of breathing, is paradoxically accompanied by a great sense of calm. That makes it a great precursor to meditation and it’s a fantastic way to set myself up for a productive day. 

Since it’s best done on an empty stomach, after getting a few minutes of sunlight, hydrating, and reading for a few minutes, I move on to the Wim Hof breathing. I follow that up with a quick meditation to set my intentions for the day and clear any head trash and negative emotions likely to hold me back, and I’m ready to take on the day. 

If you decide to try it, I suggest checking out this beginner’s tutorial from Wim Hof himself first. If you find it effective at boosting your energy, the app is a good option. 

One word of caution worth mentioning: some breathwork experts like Patrick McKeown, author of The Oxygen Advantage, warn that this type of Hyper oxygenated breathing is not for everybody. Because you are off-loading a tremendous amount of CO2 over those few minutes, your urge to breathe will be greatly diminished during the long hold, and you should never do it near any bodies of water for instance. Use caution and common sense.

Whether you choose to try out Wim Hof Breathing or not, breathing exercises in general can help you quickly shift your state by shifting your physiology. Some practices will help increase your state of arousal a bit by upping your adrenaline. Others will help lower anxiety and stress levels by downshifting your heart rate. You can play with those exercises and use them as quick tools to change your emotional state. Like any tool, you should incorporate it for at least a few weeks to experience the benefits instead of trying it just once.

Mood follows action. 

You have control over these physiological levers in your daily life. Don’t be shy. Try them!

5 Strategies to fight off stress, anxiety and growing irritation during the current Coronavirus pandemic

Stay calm and fight off stress, anxiety, and irritation during Coronavirus quarantine

Or… “how to not go off on the people you love and stay calm when you are in quarantine together”

Between the stress, anxiety and uncertainty the coronavirus (Covid-19) has brought to everyone’s life and the added strain of working from home, self-isolating or self-distancing, it can be a struggle to stay patient and calm with our loved ones at home. It’s easy to slide into a permanent state of irritation and moodiness, particularly when the days stretch on and on. Even with the best of intentions, quarantine doesn’t always bring out the best in us. Nerves can get frazzled and tempers can grow shorter, no matter what our normal temperament’s baseline is.

But even in a crisis, we have control over some things. Namely, we can control our emotional state and we can work to show up as the best “self”, “parent” or “spouse” we can. Here are my top 5 tips to show up as the “best you.”

First, the obvious: Make sure you feel good physically. 

Some basic self-care will go a long way to control your emotional state. Make sure you get an adequate amount of sleep (that’s not optional – there is no substitute for sleep), fuel your body a wide variety of nutrients-rich foods (code word for increase your intake of fruits and vegetables both in number and amount to ensure you get both the macros and micronutrients your body needs to feel its best) and get a minimum amount of exercise to keep your immune system humming normally (try to do an hour per day of moderate intensity exercise –it will boost your mood and your immune system).

Beyond the basics, here are some tips to help you keep your patience and wrangle in your temper in the days ahead.

 1- Stand at the gates of your mind

Know yourself and use the strategies that works for you.  For some people, reading about the coronavirus and Covid-19 brings them a sense of knowledge they find reassuring or comforting. Knowing is better than not knowing. But for others, consuming this information only adds to their anxiety and overwhelm. Be honest with yourself and determine how much information you need. One strategy is to limit yourself to this type of news to once a day in the morning for instance. 

Another very powerful strategy is to be very selective as to where you get your information from. Social media and traditional news channels are not always the most credible source. Get your information from the most direct, neutral sources you can. The World Health Organization, the CDC or Johns Hopkins can provide you the facts you need without editorializing or promoting a political agenda.

Ultimately, for most of us, no matter how much we might crave information, “standing at the gates of our mind” means periodically taking a break from the barrage of news so we can detach and recharge.

 2- Don’t reinvent the wheel

Although this crisis is unprecedented, this is not the first time you have experienced stress. Trying out new coping strategies in the midst of turmoil can be daunting, so double down on the strategies that have worked for you in the past. 

If you know going on a run or working out has a calming effect on you (and it’s feasible), fit in a few extra sessions throughout your week to burn off some of that excess nervous energy. If meditating has been effective in the past, be more diligent at fitting meditation and mindfulness sessions into your daily routine. Keep your CEO Morning Routine to stay focused on your business and finding opportunities.

For some, getting up before everyone else in the house and doing something for yourself to stay centered is a very effective strategy. Whether it’s making yourself a cup of coffee and getting a little bit of alone time to center yourself, getting some fresh air and sunlight before the busyness of the day starts, or spending that time journalling or writing down what your goals are for the day, taking a little time for yourself first thing in the morning can make a big difference in how you approach the rest of your day. 

 3- Use a pattern interrupt to stop yourself from losing it in the heat of the moment. 

When you feel the growing irritation and you feel yourself getting angry, use a pattern interrupt to delay your response to the person you want to address.

One of the most effective way to do that is to do a self check of your emotions. Are you actually angry about the situation? Is something your spouse or children doing truly driving you crazy because it’s going against one of your internal rules? Or are you displacing tension you feel about something else and placing it on this situation. Taking a minute to stop and do this self-checkin of your emotions, forces you to step back from your immediate response and analyze what is really going on. It might be that you are ytuly annoyed about what is going on, or you may find that frustration has been building up inside of you all day and it’s not at all about your loved ones’ behavior. Regardless, taking stock of where you are in your head, gives you a chance to delay your response so that when you do respond it is more intentional and less reactionary.

At times, interrupting the pattern might mean stopping yourself short by focusing on gratitude or using humor to relieve the tension.  It might not be your instinctive response, but just like a muscle, it’s a skill that can be learned and practiced until it can become your default response which will buy you time until you can think it through.

For instance, before you go off on your 10 year old for barging into your conference call, take a deep breath (from your belly) — and a few seconds– to direct your mind to notice what is good around you. Mentally list what you are grateful for in that moment. What is good about this? What is funny about this? Relax your face, breathe and reframe your thinking. 

If you can feel the anger, frustration or irritation still lying underneath the surface, start a conversation with someone about an unrelated topic, or make a phone call to someone who matters to you. By forcing your mind to change gears and your body to adopt a softer demeanor, you will give yourself a fighting chance to regain control and perspective about the situation. 

Delay your reaction and response to frustration. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Instead of giving your kids a Time Out, give yourself a Time Out to regain control when your patience runs thin. 

4- Take action

Part of the growing restlessness and irritability that comes with being under stress for prolonged periods of time is that our bodies are designed to respond to stress by producing chemicals to reduce pain and prompt action. It makes sense from an evolutionary background, faced with a bear, the rush of adrenaline to escape immediate danger is a good thing. But that same physical response doesn’t serve us very well when we are under chronic stress and perpetually stuck in close quarters with our loved ones. 

Instead of fighting the biological urge to do something and respond, go with it and take action. In the moment that might mean finding the most immediate solution and removing the current stressor like closing (and locking) the door so you can focus on your call and delay addressing your child. Or it can mean harnessing your emotions and frustration, and focusing them on something you have control over like making an action plan for your business, or starting on a home project. 

 5- Cultivate an attitude of compassion and gratitude 

If you do lose your cool, remember that compassion towards yourself is just as important as showing compassions to those around you. Recognize you let your emotions get the best of you, take responsibility for your words and actions, own the shame and guilt that comes with disappointing yourself and hurting the people you love, recommit to showing up better, and give yourself some grace. 

These are trying times and often it’s the little things that set us off. It’s the child who leaves the lights on, it’s the spouse that takes the last drop of coffee or the dog that barks during a conference call. Allow for some irritability and emotionalism both in yourself and those who share space with you. Recognize that everyone under your roof is adjusting to a new situation and it’s natural for your 5 year old to want you to play with him in the middle of the day for instance. Afterall, until recently, your being home meant you were “off” and available to read a book or play. Practicing compassion and empathy each day can help you keep in mind that your loved ones are doing what they’re doing because they are trying to meet their needs, and not intentionally trying to irritate you or stop you from doing what needs to be done. 

It’s easier to let things go with a few simple words, “please forgive me, I didn’t mean to…” accompanied by a short phrase of why you were stressed. Kids forgive and forget so easily, take it easy on yourself too.

Over the longer term, focusing on something other than your own life, whether it be volunteering or helping neighbors for instance, can also help you harness that excess tension and use it to make a difference for your community. 

Helping others can give you an outlet and be an effective antidote to the feelings of powerlessness or frustration you might experience in the face of this pandemic. It can provide you with a sense of higher purpose from which you can draw strength and perspective when the crisis drags on. And it can be a powerful  “compared to what” that keeps you centered on what matters. 

When anger and frustration strike, remember the effective strategies and coping tools you have used in the past. Bring them to life again, adjust where you need and add any new ones to fill in the gaps.