On a recent blog post, I mentioned a new habit I am trying to cultivate as part of my morning ritual…cold showers.
Everyone seems to be talking about cold showers (okay, maybe not everyone but many of the people in my social circle are so I decided to give it a try.) What kind of cray-cray is this all about? Well, my introduction came about because I have friends who use cold therapy to help them deal with chronic pain and are huge fans of Wim Hof and his method to connect to his breath and use cold therapy to stimulate deep physiological processes to realize one’s full potential.
My yoga mentors at Yoga Studio Satya have really gotten into this and use cold submerges to great success. Given the chronic inflammation and pain I deal with due to arthritis and spinal injury, I have dabbled with cold therapy in the past. When co-founder of Whole 30, Melissa Urban, posted about the notion of starting her day with a cold shower, I decided to give it a try. I am a total wuss when it comes to getting into anything cold but figured a lukewarm bordering on cold shower could be something I could do. So, one morning during my Whole 30, I hopped into what I call a cold shower, after I had scraped my tongue and splashed my face with cold water (these are also part of my dinacharya morning ritual that is part of a 40-day yoga program I do every year called Begin Again by Janet Stone.) I think I lasted about 30 seconds. Maybe less. But, when I got out, dried off, and allowed my body to warm up as I completed another daily ritual called abhyanga, I grew alert, felt amazing, and wide awake. Not a bad benefit for someone who is not a morning person but, because of Begin Again and Whole 30, has been rising before the sun and my alarm.
According to Hof, there are both physical and mental benefits to this technique. Obviously, cold water wakes you up and increases your energy! It is known to reduce inflammation but also has been proven to boost your immune system, metabolism, improving your sleep, sports performance, workout recovery, lowering your blood pressure, and even has shown to provide relief from fibromyalgia, migraines, COPD, and Lyme disease. The method also helps relieve stress, boost concentration, improve creativity, boosting your endorphins naturally.
While I am currently just dipping my toe into this, I plan to explore the Hof method more as part of my 300-hour yoga teacher training. I am focusing on chronic pain and inflammation and hope to integrate this into my experience and knowledge. Stay tuned for more blogs on this and what I discover for myself.
Cheers and namaste,