The cold is a very personal thing. We each practise the cold in different ways for different reasons and your journey is your own. Only you can get yourself through it and only you can conquer the cold. But there are some techniques that can help you prepare. Here, we explore the three ways Daniel Kluken prepares for the cold to help you get the most from your practice.
Breathe in breathe out
Number one is breathwork. This helps us shift from one mindset to another, bringing focus to our minds and bodies in preparation for the cold. Explore the techniques out there, and see what works for you.
It’s crucial to note that the videos recommended below are only to be exercised before your cold water practice and not during, as you can experience light-headedness. Make sure you are stationary and comfortably lying or sitting down. Do not practice these breathwork techniques while in a vehicle, in a swimming pool, or in a shower.
Explore the power of breathwork basics, understand what is happening to your physiology when you learn how to breathe properly, and as Wim puts it, “get high on your own supply”.
When you’re ready to take the next step, why not explore a real-time breathing session guided by the Ice Man himself?
Still the mind
Second on our list of cold water preparations is meditation. This will help quieten that chattering inner voice inside your head and encourage the mind’s connection with the body as well as self-regulation. It brings your mind back to the present moment and helps focus on the current challenge.
Meditation comes in many forms so it’s worth exploring which will work best for you. Here are three to help get started:
With Buddhist roots, this form is perhaps the most well-known. In mindful meditation, you allow your thoughts to pass freely through your mind. You don’t judge them, hang on to them, or engage with them, merely let them come and go. You are not these thoughts, they are simply manifestations of your consciousness that do not define you. They carry only the importance you give them.
A little more advanced, this form is all about concentration on one of your senses; smell, sight, sound, touch, or taste. This helps – as the name suggests – encourage awareness of a very specific thing. Counting beads on a chain, counting your breaths or listening to meditative chanting or gong music are some of the ways you can bring in external elements to help bring this focus.
Yoga and Tai Chi are the usual suspects that come to mind when you hear ‘movement meditation’, but it can cover a wide variety of movements. The important part is that it encourages a connection with the present moment and an awareness of your body. Gentle walking or even gardening can fall into this category, as long as it works in the right way for you. We prefer 5 to 10 minutes of The Horse Stance.
Bend and flex
The final cold water immersion preparation technique is stretching. There are so many benefits to stretching as a practice in its own right but it also serves as a great way to prepare you for the cold.
Stretching increases your body's intelligence and relieves stress by increasing blood flow and releasing muscle tension. Focusing on a specific set of body movements helps still the mind and brings your attention to the present moment. As you enter the cold post-stretch, your body will be more relaxed and aware of the information you’re receiving, giving you a better experience.
To get you started, here are a few stretching sessions of varying lengths depending on how much time you have. They include both static and dynamic stretches to help bring a fuller range of movement as your body adapts over time, just like we do in the cold.
Why not try one out today?
Up next, learn how to warm up after an Ice Bath.