My Wim Hof Experience
By: Dr. Yashar Khosroshahi, ND, ACC
“If you can learn how to use your mind, anything is possible.” ― Wim Hof
If you are at all interested in mind-body techniques then the Wim Hof Method (WHM) should definitely be on your radar.
I have had the great pleasure of researching, experiencing and helping others with multiple mind-body training techniques, both with and without the use of technology. In my experience the Wim Hof Method has provided me (and others) with great benefits – psychologically, physically and spiritually – in just a short amount of time. It has helped me feel more confident and connected to myself and those around me. It has helped me be a better leader, because it has helped me do better, by thinking better.
The WHM has three pillars:
- Cold Exposure
- Commitment/Mindset Training
Each pillar is more powerful because of the other. Each pillar drives the experience of the individual further into the realm of psychological, physical and spiritual possibilities.
For many, when first exposed to the WHM method they are captured (or repulsed) by the cold exposure aspect of the training. I guess this is for good reason as Wim Hof, a.k.a. The Iceman, has set over 20 Guinness World Records using his own method, including sitting in ice for nearly 2 hours. However, prolonged cold exposure is only one pillar, and none of his records could have been achieved by bravado alone. Something much more sustainable and powerful is at work within the mind and body when all 3 pillars of the training are honoured, and that is what captivated my interest in learning the WHM.
This mind-body relationship, this power, is fundamentally what makes a leader great – understanding the necessity to first commit to leading themselves before they attempt to influence others. A great leader chooses to consciously step out of their comfort zone, become curious about their perceived limits, and see challenges as opportunities for growth. This is the type of invitation great leaders are willing to accept. This is who a MINDSHIFT NINJA is, and this is why I continue to practice the WHM.
Below are photos of me at a WHM workshop in Toronto recently. This was my first experience sitting in an ice bath. After months of practicing the WHM, including implementing cold showers, I was interested in learning how my mind and body would react to sitting in an ice bath for 1 minute. Needless to say, it was a challenge and it pushed my comfort zone, but it was manageable. In fact, about 15 minutes after my first round I got into the ice bath for another 1 minute round. Why? Simply because I wanted to practice mental and physical control, one more time! Like any other skill, mental (and physical) toughness or resiliency is not something we are born with, it is something we consciously decide to cultivate.
Here are my 3 major MINDSHIFTs since practicing the WHM:
1/ Even though I would consider myself someone that likes to push myself and understand my limitations, I have found since regularly incorporating the WHM I have a much clearer grasp of what my perceived mental and physical limitations are. I have become more enlightened to the more subtle, less consciously apparent, limitations. I have learned better ways to make peace with my monkey mind and to move beyond its insatiable broadcasting of ideas and thoughts.
2/ I have connected with a state of gratitude for myself, and for others, more deeply. Again, I was very familiar with the practice of gratitude before embarking on the WHM. However, since the WHM, I have found that my practice and feelings of gratitude have intensified. This has allowed me to stay more grounded in situations of conflict or challenge, and also more present experiencing the joys of family, friends and work.
3/ After months of practicing the WHM I have begun to really noticed how much untapped potential was sitting within me. As I continue to explore this reservoir of mental and physical strength, I also find myself keenly aware and in tune with the reservoir of untapped potential that lives within all of us. I have a renewed vigor for the importance of facilitating mental and physical strength development in others, as opposed to simply informing my patients and clients of their untapped potential.
With the help of these 3 MINDSHIFTs, I believe I have become a stronger leader of myself and my internal experience. This has, therefore, allowed me to be a stronger father, husband, son, brother, friend, teacher, coach, doctor, and business owner.
I invite you to give the WHM a try. Start slowly, and respect the edge of your comfort zone as you take steps towards moving past them. The WHM is not about ego, it’s about something much more powerful and sustainable. This is why it has the power to help you do better, by thinking better.
Learn more about the Wim Hof Method: