If you don’t know who Wim Hof is, watch the short documentary at the bottom of the post.
If you do know who Wim Hof is, then you know he has been on a mission to show that we are capable of much more than we let ourselves think.
And, in a recent interview with Aubrey Marcus, also featured below, he has some new scientific studies to talk about. I highly recommend this interview, if only for the fact that Wim Hof is beaming with positive energy.
In previous interviews that I have seen, he was excited to show that through his breathing technique he could, for example, resist infection from an injected pathogen. Not only that, he taught others how to successfully replicate his abilities.
Now, he has shown that with just his mind, without the use of any special breathing techniques, he can actively manipulate his body temperature. He sees this as proof that we are under-utilizing our minds in a dangerous way. If we can manage our cardiovascular system with just our minds, then the cure to one of the greatest killers – heart conditions – is easily within our grasp.
Which begs the question:
Is it really that easy to control the mind?
I’m a big fan of Wim Hof. I remember in high school seeing a special on TV about a crazy Dutch man–Wim Hof– who walked around barefoot in the winter. That TV special inspired me to face the winter head on in Montreal, where I had moved to go to university. That first winter, I didn’t make it as far as walking barefoot in the frozen tundra that is Montreal in the winter, but I did wear my fall jacket for as long as possible. Yet, in all successive winters, my tolerance to the cold seemed to be getting weaker, not stronger. By my fourth winter in Montreal, I was ready to get out.
It was years later that I rediscovered Wim Hof because of my interest in breathing techniques. I recalled the TV special from years before, but now I had a new perspective. Wim Hof wasn’t just some crazy Duthman with a high cold tolerance, he had had a breathing technique that he used to allow him to perform his feats.
I finally realized why my attempt to imitate his success had failed. I thought that simply by exposing myself to the cold I would build up a tolerance, which did work to a certain extent. What I didn’t know then was that I also needed to be doing supplemental breath training on a daily basis to supercharge my immune system.
One thing that struck me after watching the above-mentioned and below-featured interview, is that Wim Hof makes a point of contrasting himself with yoga practitioners in the east. They spend years and years training and learning special chants and techniques, he says, but his technique, on the other hand, is simple and just as effective.
This is a bit misleading. Wim Hof has also been spending years and years training. Not only that, before he became the Ice Man, he did involve himself in a deep study of yoga. Clearly, he has a knowledge base as well as years of experience backing up his current, enlightened state of mind.
This is the misunderstanding that prevented me from truly conquering the Montreal winter. The key to Wim Hof’s abilities, just like the seemingly-impossible abilities of the master yogis, who, for example, meditate in the Himalayas and melt the snow around them, lies not only in the techniques themselves but also in their continued, focused and systematic practice.
The goal of the Yogi is to surpass physical constraints in order to deepen the connection with the metaphysical. By that definition, Wim Hof sounds like a Yogi to me.
Maybe it is just a question of semantics. Maybe Wim Hof would be considered a Yogi had he been born and raised in India, but since he is Dutch, he can be called something else, like the Ice Man, for instance. Perhaps he wants to distance himself from the eastern traditions in order to make himself seem more scientific and legitimate.
The downside of distancing oneself from the yoga tradition is that you risk losing the emphasis on discipline and slow and steady progress that yoga and other eastern traditions promote.
I love Wim Hof’s enthusiasm, and I think he is doing very important work.
It is important to listen to him with the knowledge that, yes, anyone can do what he does, but he didn’t get there overnight, and neither will I.
Our minds are capable of a great deal. But, it’s not as simple as switching on a part of my brain and then I am suddenly fine. Even if I turn on that switch, that is just the first step. I still have years of practice ahead of me, my whole life in fact.
Only with systematic, consistent training, can you permanently shift your consciousness and begin to operate on a healthier level. Though he may say otherwise, Wim Hof himself is proof of that.
Straight from the man himself:
Disclosure: There are no vulgar topics, but there is some use of profanity in the form of common, relaxed speech
Learn more about Wim Hof