Wim Hof Method – Day 24

A questioning attitude. I remember my friend telling me that having a questioning attitude was one of the best things he learned in regards to working with a team. When someone makes a mistake, or if you are about to make a mistake, the best way to communicate in order to avoid unwanted aggressive behavior is to do so with a questioning attitude. In some instances it could be seen as passive aggressive, but as a general rule, it is just a nice way to question something or someone without putting them on the defensive. The practice is as simple as turning an inquiry into a question. This even works in ideological debates. Again, it’s not the best rule for every situation and can be seen as rude (answering a question with a question), but in general, a questioning attitude promotes learning and shows humility.

I find myself questioning many things as I learn. And this Wim Hof method is particularly curious, due to my lack of information, particularly in regards to the breathing methods. I have read quite a bit about the benefits of pranayama, controlled breathing, full breathing vs shallow breathing, breathing and movement, and the benefits of enriching the body with O2. But, I don’t understand the practice of holding the breath with lungs empty, or what it benefits. What is the difference if I hold my breath with empty lungs or full lungs? It appears, based on my observations, that full lungs alone (with depleted O2 in the blood contain enough O2 to sustain the resting body for about 1 minute. Assuming there is no oxygen in the body, after holding your breath, an immediate inhale will sustain the body for about a minute. After deep breathing and charging the body with O2, the body is good for 2 minutes with empty lungs. And with a practice of breathing to enrich the lungs + holding a full breath, I can withhold from breathing for about 3 minutes.

But with understanding all that, what is the point of holding the breath with empty lungs? Is it the panic feeling that is worth overcoming? Can the body actually hold less time with empty lungs, and it is simply that the practice is building confidence/trust in the body’s ability to do more?

Really, my big question is this: What is the benefit of holding the breath? I will try and look for some studies on this. But I think maybe it is just part of being discipline and listening to the body.

________________

Observations 

Breathing

Times : 1:30, 1:40, 1:55, (2:50 with full lungs)

Physical: Fairly comfortable seated and lying down. The mobility work is certainly helpful. My neck and shoulders are feeling a bit better (stressed from jiu jitsu). After the breath hold, I do feel a jolt of energy and will often stretch quite soon after. It almost feels involuntary like my body just starts stretching and moving…

Mental: I was focused and calm. I found that noting (which comes from Vipassana) during the breath hold is very helpful. Instead of letting my mind wander, I note sensations as they come and go. This allowed me to focus not on holding my breath, but just being present.

Notes: Question everything.

Shower: Pretty refreshing. Sensitive areas are hands and neck.

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4 thoughts on “Wim Hof Method – Day 24

  1. That’s a good question. I think I heard Wim Hof saying that having empty lungs activates a different mechanism in your body (can’t find the soundbite so maybe I made it up). I assumed that empty lungs was the most efficient way to trigger the production of adrenaline. And the exercise is to be able produce adrenaline at will while staying calm. It’s hard to relax holding a big breath of air but when my lungs are empty I’m completely relaxed until the panic starts creeping up.

    I’ve started to measure my blood pressure and pulse before and after cold baths. Was curious how much if any the cold affected me but I can’t see a big difference before and after the baths. Getting around 135/79 / pulse 72-89.

  2. With full lungs there is a constant pressure to exhale, which you have to counter. With empty lungs there’s only the breathing reflex to ignore.

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