You find yourself out of breath. Gasping.
You don’t have any breath to draw.
Is this panic or anxiety? Or something worse?
You can’t write at this moment. You can’t talk. People are asking for things of you and you have answers lodged inside of you you know you are saying but they aren’t coming out, you can’t figure out how to get them out.
If only you could just breathe.
Wim Hof wanted to replicate the rush of cold he experienced after diving in ice water, which led him to find out how to control his breathing. The man from Amsterdam took a plunge and was addicted to the rush he felt in the cold water, how it made him feel so much more alive.
What Wim Hof eventually figured out through self trial and error was his breathing pattern would change from submersing in cold water daily. He was breathing deeper. This rush of feeling good was concentrating his breathing as a reaction to the cold. He soon would go on to develop breathing methods separate from cold water stimulation to mimic the rush of adrenaline and improvements to his mind’s condition. He replicated the cold therapy through deep breathing patterns.
What Wim has discovered, and is being backed by scientific research, is a method of breathing and mindfulness which actually controls the body’s autonomous system. Wim is altering and controlling his body’s immune system, state of well being, fighting depression, and reducing stress levels. Even making him a better athlete overall.
All by starting with breathing and embracing the cold.
If all it takes to calm ourselves down and establish a greater level of wellness is to deeply breathe and enter in a mindful presence, then there is a deeper connection I’ve always found myself astounded by.
The Hebrew word ruach can be defined as wind, breath, or spirit. It is exactly the word describing the Spirit of God hovering over the waters of creation. The strong connection in the Hebrew language between the Spirit of God and breath is poetic. God breathing into the nostrils of His creation. Job welcomes the breath of God as that which sustains him.
It sounds more essential than mere poetry. Breath as the life sustaining Spirit of God.
If people like Wim Hof have stumbled upon the strong connection of physical well being and breathing deeply, then there is some notion God is hinting at us.
Just breathe son.
Just breathe daughter.
All that stress and worry and anxiety. Just breathe it in and out.
No really, just breathe in deeply 30 straight times. Hold the last breath in. Then let out.
Then think of your Abba, Papa, good good Father God as He embraces you exactly where you are in life.
Wim Hof’s wife committed suicide in 1995. By then, Wim had already been doing his daily cold therapy and breathing for years.
After his wife’s death, he doubled down on the concept of redemptive purpose. He dealt with the pain and grief he was experiencing by assuring people like his wife don’t have to make the decision they made, but instead, can resort to breathing and cold therapy to find healing.
Wim breathed in deeply. And he wants to help as many as he can to breathe as deeply and as often as they can.