Wim Hof’ Breathing Technique for Mind, Body and Soul

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

Wim Hof, known as the Iceman, caught the attention of scientists when he was able to use meditation to stay submerged in ice for 1 hour and 53 minutes without his core body temperature changing.

In Dec 2016 I came across this beautiful soul on a mission to share his experiences in this beautiful mystery we call life. Wim Hof known as the Iceman caught the attention of scientists when he proved he was able to use meditation to stay submerged in ice for 1 hour and 53 minutes without his core body temperature changing. Since then, he’s climbed Mount Everest in his shorts, resisted altitude sickness, completed a marathon in the Namib Desert with no water and proven under a laboratory setting that he’s able to influence his autonomic nervous system and immune system at will.

I watched this Documentary where Wim offered to teach Matt Shea and Daisy-May Hudson to climb a freezing cold mountain in their shorts without getting cold. But when Matt and Daisy signed up for the training, they had no idea that the so-called Iceman was planning to lead them on a psychedelic journey across Europe that circled the chasm between science, spirituality and mystery.

Since December I have been using the basic breathing technique which I have added below for you to begin practicing too. It has helped me with concentration during my meditations and yoga practice. It has helped me to get more present and aware and supported my physical strength. We do the technique before meditation, yoga and other physical practices. Dara and myself now share this technique on our events and NAKED retreats. The results people are having are inspiringly profound. We love hearing the stories friends share once they have begun implementing this simple practice into their daily routines. Recently we have just purchased the 10 week online video course and will start exploring this method a little deeper.

Wim Hof Method revealed

The Wim Hof Method is similar to Tummo (inner heat) Meditation and Pranayama (yogic breathing). Yet it is something else entirely. While Wim has read a lot of books on yoga and meditation for many years, this technique primordially comes from what he terms ‘cold hard nature’. By subjecting himself to the bitter conditions of nature, he learned to withstand the extreme forces of cold, heat and fear. If you learn this method or technique correctly, it will empower you to do to the same.

The first part is a breathing exercise which can be likened to controlled hyperventilation. This is, of course, an oxymoron. Hyperventilation is something which happens involuntarily. But just imagine the breathing part, without any of stress triggers that normally cause this way of breathing. The image will consist of rapid breathing that makes one languid, invigorates one, makes one high on oxygen.

Step by step explanation breathing exercise

1) Get comfortable

Sit in a meditation posture, whatever is most comfortable for you. Make sure you can expand your lungs freely without feeling any constriction. It is recommended to do this practice right after waking up since your stomach is still empty or before a meal.

2) 30 Power Breaths

Imagine you’re blowing up a balloon. Inhale through the nose or mouth and exhale through the mouth in short but powerful bursts. Keep a steady pace and use your midriff fully. Close your eyes and do this around 30 times. Symptoms could be light-headedness, tingling sensations in the body.

3) The Hold, retention after exhalation

After the 30 rapid successions of breath cycles, draw the breath in once more and fill the lungs to maximum capacity without using any force. Then let the air out and hold for as long as you can without force. Hold the breath until you experience the gasp reflex.

4) Recovery Breath

Inhale to full capacity. Feel your chest expanding. When you are at full capacity, hold the breath for around 10 seconds and this will be round one. The breathing exercise can be repeated 3 rounds after each other.

5) After having completed the breathing exercise take your time to enjoy the feeling afterward. This feeling will be more and more like a meditation.

When you start doing these exercises we recommend taking your time recovering from the breathing exercise. After doing the breathing exercise and you feel good, you can start with taking the cold shower.

Summary + 30 times balloon blowing / circular breathing Breathe in fully Breathe out without force and hold until gasp reflex Inhale fully and hold for 10 seconds. Repeat until finished and recover from the breathing exercise.

Bonus Power-ups Add push-ups or yoga poses during the time you are holding your breath until you wait for the gasp reflex. Notice that you are stronger without air than you would normally be if you could breathe!

Daily stress disconnects you with your brain stem which keeps you in fight or flight. The Brain Stem is the reptilian brain / Amygdala which governs survival mechanisms and physiological motor control / hormones.

This breathing technique gets rid of the co2 in the body which will enrich the oxygenation and O2 in the body. It takes you deep into the nervous system.

Controlled hyperventilation Hyperventilation usually makes you gasp for air and triggers the fight & flight response. In this controlled well instead you oxygenise the blood and cells. CO2 goes down and Oxygen goes in and the PH levels in the blood goes up. Your body becomes more Alkaline


  • You get a surging rush of Dopamine (Pleasure Hormone)

  • Oxytocin (Love hormone)

  • Serotonin (Relaxation hormone) & Taps into pure adrenalin +

  • Breathing is chemistry / oxygen is chemistry in the bodyEnergy raises which makes our mood change in positive waysImproving health and gaining inner powerImproves circulation

  • Improves mental and physical well-being

  • Improves cardiovascular healthHelps control your autonomic nervous system

  • Helps clear your mind and great before meditation sitting

  • Makes you more present and awareIts aids in stress release

  • Helps cure depressionEnables you to take more oxygen into the body when relaxed

  • Increases oxygen levels — exceeding the 100% into the cells and lymphatic system which makes the chemistry Alkaline.

I hope this article was of benefit to you.

Keep loving yourself enough to do the things that make you thrive and enrich others lives ❤

If you want to learn more about the mental and physical health benefits related to open water swimming and cold exposure, feel free to join our ICEWIM Facebook group.

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