Women, Say YES to ICE!
Every single thing I had to do during the 6 days of the Wim Hof training, I did not want to do it. It was actually pretty unique to have a definite “NO” supplied by my mind every single day. I did not want to undress in the snow, jump into a mountain river with freezing water, take ice-baths or climb a mountain naked in minus temperatures. I was scared, terrified and contemplating how to escape. But you know what? I did everything my mind told me not to do.
It was 17 December 2017, my birthday, when I found myself on top of Mount Śnieżka in Poland, wearing just summer shorts, with temperatures falling to –14 (with wind it felt more like –35) as the final task of the Wim Hof Winter Expedition training. My partner Swaram gave me this trip as a birthday gift, so needless to say he is not an ordinary man. That day I was so full of animal fear in anticipation of the mountain climb, which normally takes around 3 hours to climb up, and a little less to go down (dressed). I was scared for a reason. It was brutally cold!
When I arrived to the training I had a massive sinuses pain for which I had to take tablets to restore some sleep, I had arthritis joint aches which I have developed after getting very sick in Nepal 10 years ago, and I was obviously grumpy about getting exposed to the cold.
From Day 2 all headache was gone and the join aches reduced. So much so that after the mountain climb the aches that I could still sense in the body were not disturbing me at all. As if the connection between pain and nervous system was broken. I am absolutely amazed by how my fragile body was able to withstand those brutal wheatear conditions with no clothing protection. And I am even more amazed by how my body regenerated itself in just 6 days. My immune system had a visible boost and I feel healthier than ever before in my life.
So now I am asking myself, a week later, what has the experience taught me?
1. Female and male bodies are in essence the same – strong and ready to protect us. Seeing super fit macho guys, and girls from hot climates with diseases doing exactly the same was an eye opener for me. How is it possible?
2. I love my body. After the climb, I was lying in bed and looking at my body with a new understanding and depth. I love you, my body. I thank you! There was a moment during the climb when the temperature dropped sharply, as we climbed higher, I physically could feel my body changing the gear and pumping heat into my organs and limbs. I was feeling warmth and comfort. I relaxed as it got colder.
3. Cold is the best tool for practising awareness. We walked for 3 hrs without talking and it was the most conscious walk of my life where I was aware of each breath. Why? Because cold is so painful and powerful that you cannot afford to fall unconscious. Wim often says that cold will help us see deeply within and find the soul. He is right.
4. Cold exposure is not a power trip – it is a different type of strength. I do not think anybody is able to remain an ego under icy water in the middle of nature. Cold and nature overpowers you so the ego shrinks and hides. Even though I felt a lot of pain most of the time, the pain of the mind was reduced to zero, so there was no discomfort or suffering.
5. The best moment for me in this whole trip was when I truly had to let go. Near the final peak, when it had gotten really tough and cold I had nothing left but LET GO. The mind was useless in –35 in shorts. The only truth I found was in cold itself and trust. Trust in staying alive and being one with nature.
6. I found that cold was not only surrounding me outside, I was also breathing it inside. Being cold inside and outside was a totally difference experience for me. To my great surprise I did not get sick or even had a sneeze. Cold was just another state of being and it was possible to remain calm.
I would love more and more women to do this training with Wim and/or his team. As women, our conditionings are so powerful and subtle that I believe during cold exposure we can face them truly without escape. I found it very liberating to face my own fears and struggles, anti-life attitudes and complaints that turned out to be nothing but a passing thought.
It is truly the set of mind that negatively controls the body, but the body is so much more powerful and free, especially when stepping out of the comfort zone. If only we learnt to allow the body do its miracles as we travel through life without fear, and just be naturally healthy, strong and happy.