Wim Hof nicknamed "The Iceman" for his ability to withstand extreme cold, is the holder of 20 Guinness World Records for withstanding extreme temperatures.
He has climbed Everest and Kilimanjaro in only shorts and shoes, stayed comfortably in ice baths for hours, and run a full marathon in the highest desert (50 degrees celsius, 122 Fahrenheit) with no water & food.
I became fascinated with breathing techniques from trying to increase free diving depths & during surf coaching encouraging students to focus on breathing techniques before, during, free surfing & competition to de-stress, aid mind & physical preparation. At the end of this article I have outlined a simple technique you can start to implement now.
Wim attributes his abilities to exposure to cold, meditation and breathing techniques #mindovermatter Extensive research & testing on the Wim Hof phenomenon conducted by Drs at Yale University School of Medicine (see the study parameters & results sourced link) discovered that such methods caused "voluntary activation of the sympathetic nervous system and attenuation of the innate immune response in humans". Both the autonomic nervous system and innate immune system were regarded as systems that cannot be voluntarily influenced.
The present study demonstrates that, through practicing breathing techniques mixed with cold water immersion, the sympathetic nervous system and immune system can indeed be voluntarily influenced. Healthy volunteers in the study learned the techniques exhibited profound increases in the release of epinephrine, which in turn led to increased production of anti-inflammatory mediators and subsequent dampening of the pro-inflammatory cytokine response elicited by intravenous administration of bacterial endotoxin. Increased oxygen retention in the cells leads to a greater state of alkalosis & reduced production of the stress hormone cortisone. It is well thought of in modern medicine that stress is a major underlying cause of many illnesses.
Wim Hof method is very simple, deep breath retention slow exhalation & gradual immersion into cold water. A similar practice of many yogis for thousands of years.
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 to take your time recovering from the breathing exercise. After doing the breathing exercise and you feel good, you can start with taking the cold shower.
Watch the documentary of Wim Hof he outlines & proves his extraordinary simple methods.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA
Author: Justin West
Surfer, Freediver & MMA enthusiast runs surfing & training programs in the Portuguese Algarve, Maldives & Madagascar.
I am a happy, positive person although I have not always been this way, through trial and error, through pain and a bit of suffering I have found what works for me;
There is always "that guy or girl" in the line up that seems to effortlessly paddle in to the best set waves and is consistently in the right spot!
Locally to where I surf it is usually my buddy Miguel Mouzinho, his wave count in an average session is incredible, even after a serious knee operation. How does he do it? How can you increase your own wave count? More waves more improvement more fun.
From my experience coaching intermediate to advanced level surfers the key area to increase wave count is becoming more aware and analytical of your positioning. Of course there is also increased paddling fitness but in the ocean I always advise "energy conservation"....how often do you see those guys paddling like crazy looking straight to the beach and the wave just passes under them?
I like to coach my surfers to not follow the crowd, to learn the techniques to safely surf a less crowded line up. At a competitive level positioning in a heat is like a game of chess...get it right and you can take out the heat. Kelly Slater during his heats actually conceals and bluffs his line ups, surfing is a sport where intelligence, analysis & wave knowledge can out surf physical fitness.
Energy conservation "go with the flow";
So you have made it to the line up hopefully without expelling to much energy duck diving, remember "go with the flow". Where should I position myself? Where are the waves peaking?
My advice to all my students is to be aware of how the waves are breaking even as you paddle out, take time to sit and "recover" in the channel (stating the obvious be aware too the line up of surfers and not to jump the line and snake a wave).
Ask yourself where is the wave sectioning, is it a fast take off with a slowing up section, can I make the wave if I take off on the first part of the wave to break...should I take off further down the line where the wave is more makeable? Know your level, be honest with your self are you going to catch any waves on the outside peak into an immediate fast section with a slightly slower take off?
Line ups. The ocean is always moving you must be aware that you will be out of position very quickly unless you increase your own awareness of where you are. Do not rely on other surfers the line up, you are not a sheep. You can do this by using fixed markers on the land that you can pre define before paddling out, in my coaching sessions I use two poles in line with each other...a gap appears between the poles and you have drifted out of your planned take off zone. Be aware of the tide, your take off zone will move! If you haven't caught a wave for awhile return to the beach, recover, energise and reassess.
On a long period swell I advise never to take the first waves in a set, let the first few pass, it clears the line up but also you can re position and re assess by watching the first few waves from behind running to the beach.
Analyse what was the shape of the incoming swell as it approached and how did it break to the beach? Smaller sets the swell wont break on the main peak but it will rise up and indicate where the sandbar/reef is underneath.
As you paddle for your wave prepare early, oxygenate by taking three deep breaths, ensure correct trim position; look to the approaching swell over you shoulder increase decrease paddling, refine direction, adjust trim nose to tail and also rail to rail..the last few strokes & trim position should be decisive in helping direct your board in your chosen drop line.
Once you have worked out your take off zone, a couple of strokes and you will be in to a great wave......how you paddle, how you drop the wave, the line you take is another article!
Justin West is based in Portugal, a coach to two national champions, a regional champion and fitness trainer of two professional surfers. He has been coaching surfing to intermediate, advanced and elite level surfers for over 20 years. For more information on how you can improve your surfing check out his website www.justinwestcoaching.com
Two hours farming, six hours surfing with Luca Guichard & San Pindsle and an HiiT post surf work out; we deserved a dinner out with our buddy San and a special vitamin juice smoothie thanks to Luis from Agua Salgada in Sagres!
We had plenty of footage on the video camera today but it will be necessary to cut & edit, surf was small but with the occasional doubling up of a wave with some good shape.
Key learning & coaching objectives: