24Life’s Lashaun Dale has embarked on “Iceman” Wim Hof’s 10-week InnerFire challenge to better her health. Follow her adventures as she provides a weekly update, or read more about the man behind the challenge in Volume 2, Issue 1 of 24Life magazine.
Did I mention that I hate cold showers? I’m not really sure why I signed up for this challenge, and especially not sure why I signed up to make a public expression of it. Regardless, day one of my Wim Hof Method (WHM) adventure is off to a start – perhaps not a good one, as I’ve already contemplated quitting.
I must say that I feel a little at a disadvantage, as if I’m not fully equipped with the same sense of adventure and diehard spirit for physical endeavors as the rest of my fellow WHM members, who enthusiastically post about their successful plunges into the coldest lakes across the globe in our private Facebook group. They all seem to have a vigor that I’m perhaps lacking, and it never surprises me to learn when I click on their profiles that they have also climbed Mount Everest or shimmied down the face of a ravine somewhere with a look of glee. Not me!
I can’t help but think that this challenge is not for me. That is not to say that I’m not open to trying new things — I’m always in for a new experience, especially when it comes to learning something new. I can even recall a particular moment of irrationality at the age of 21: I took a spring break dare and paid $30 to bungee jump off a crane, which to me felt as if I was about to plunge to my death over pavement. After surviving that jump and taking a shot of tequila to calm my nerves, I promised myself I would never be that stupid again. My new mantra: Hold life precious and stay alive. I realized then that amazing physical feats are not the source of my flow.
All of this is the chatter in my mind as I hop into the shower on my first day of the challenge. The resistance that bubbles up to my mind — well it’s just self-doubt. It’s what you can expect when you take on a new way of living and a life change.
“That’s the way the mind works. It tries to rationalize a reason to not endure change – it tries to keep the status quo and stay in a comfort zone.”
Yet, I persevere. On day one, I completed the breathing practices and prescribed stretches, which Wim shares with humor and a touch of mischief in his voice, speaking to all of us in the challenge group. And because I’ve practiced meditation and yoga for more than 20 years, I understand the sophisticated simplicity of his techniques, and I’m feeling really good about that part so far.
But the shower … the cold therapy (cold shower) that Wim assigns. That’s the hard part. As instructed, I planned my cold therapy for the beginning of the day, so as to reboot my nervous system for the day. I started with warm water, enjoying its soothing sensation on my skin. I put conditioner in my hand and into my hair …. then it was time. I grabbed the golden knob and slowly began to crank the temperature down. Immediately, my breath seized and my mind screamed. (It’s amazing how cold makes you naturally inhale and retain your breath — which just so happens to be one of the breath techniques we practiced.) But on that first day, it was just too cold.
I moved the temperature back up and back down until I found one I could tolerate. At this point, I began thinking in my head that I’m going to fail this challenge — why in the world did I agree to write about it?
Under the cold-enough-for-me stream of water, I counted to 30 seconds, and I turned the water off as fast as I could. But of course, I forgot that I still had conditioner in my hair to rinse. Once I realized this, and also realized the fact that I would have to repeat the entire cold treatment again or suffer the coldness on my head (which along with the front of my body was the most intense part and which I promise to investigate later) — so I decided to skip it. I left the conditioner in and went to work wearing a baseball cap for the day. Regardless of how I looked, I felt a change. I actually felt awake — I felt very alive and very alert. And that was only 30 seconds in to my journey with Wim … needless to say, I’m excited to see what’s next.
Stay tuned for more, as I continue to update you on my progress. For more information visit, Wim Hof’s website.
Photo credit: © Discovod – stock.adobe.com.