The “inner truth” group go with how the breath-holds make them feel. In addition, they are looking to gain an edge, to recover quickly or to settle down completely when they are performing under huge amounts of stress.The “inner truth” group go with how the breath-holds make them feel. In addition, they are looking to gain an edge, to recover quickly or to settle down completely when they are performing under huge amounts of stress.
I’m in the “inner truth” group. I have noticed that breath-holds provide clarity, reduce stress, and make me feel great. If I’m not stoked about the events of the day, three sets of Wim Hof breathing take me out of the sympathetic “fight or flight” and put me clearly into the parasympathetic “accept what is and take charge of your life” mode which I prefer. The parasympathetic allows me to be present and feel confident in my ability to get the job done. While the sympathetic is a distraction that brings up doubt and anxiety about the future.
A few years ago, when I was drawn to develop a breathing practice, Wim Hof was hard to understand and a little frustrating. As a result, I created my own routine and called it the “Pump!” The pump worked fine. And then Wim Hof came out with his book the “Wim Hof Method,” which I really like and prefer.
My understanding of the “Wim Hof” process calls for three sets of extremely deep nasal breaths where you make the “homely face” with flared nostrils for about four seconds, slight pause and then let the “taaaaaah,” exhalation breath just drop out of your mouth.
Each set of deep breaths lasts for 30 to 40 breaths or a minute and a half. At the end of this time, you forcefully exhale for as long as possible. Then you begin the breath-hold. For best results, it helps to settle down, be comfortable, and enjoy the tingly feelings of being lightheaded and totally present.
For each set of breath-holds you want to do a standard time amount for the first set and then increase the breath-hold for the next set say by 30 seconds and then add 30 more seconds to the breath-hold for the last set.
At the completion of each set of breath-holds, you want to take a deep exhale through your nose and then a deep inhale and hold this breath for 20 to 30 seconds… and then do the next set.
At the end of the three-set process, you want to continue to breathe in and out of your nose slow and deep, holding each inhale and exhale for six or more seconds. Be sure to focus on what you are feeling and how you want to apply these feelings to what’s in front of you to accomplish this day.
You may want this time and these feelings to help identify a challenge you’d like to work on, to plan the day, to prepare for a major challenge, to recover from a hard workout, and/or to reframe an upset related to bad performance or tough loss.
To help with this inner work, I have developed six steps to help you focus your breathing and visualize the results you want to produce, and possibly write down these thoughts, feelings, and actions.
Step One: Put Some Love on It!
Breathe by settling down, to accept the situation and to convince yourself to be present, to embrace the related challenge and to be grateful for the opportunity to perform at your best under pressure.
Step Two: Learn to Like it
Continue to breathe your way to the “light” and resist the temptation to go dark and create drama or, worse yet, issues, conflicts and negative situations that require major intervention, healings, and recovery. Instead consider finding joy and fun in this situation.
Step 3: Pull it Off
Breathe until you feel ready to move forward. To demonstrate some character, to act on what’s expected, to prepare with confidence, to execute with intensity and passion, and to complete each aspect of the challenge.
Step 4: Respect the Process
Be deliberate, to have compassion for yourself and others, and to be kind. The caution for people who push the limits of what’s possible is to know when they have lost the self-respect and the concern for their own and others individual and group well-being.
Step 5: Build Trust
Breathe and feel the confidence and power to give your best effort under pressure. Settle down, be present, to battle with the distractions and to experience the ease of performing in the flow.
Step 6: Find Truth
Establish the capacity to maintain a lens to seize the opportunities to learn, get better and experience satisfaction from your efforts. In the completion of this process your best effort becomes an outward expression of who you are that feels natural and appropriate.
In the field of education, a clear distinction is made between having an inner locus of control and an outer locus of control. The inner locus welcomes the opportunity to take control and oversee their lives and learn lessons to experience growth. The outer locus resists taking control. They blame… and give their power away and remain stuck. The process presented here is most certainly a statement for having an internal locus of control.
“Brad, thanks for sharing the process of using breatholds to Go Deep and settle down. I recently completed my 19-day leadership evaluation field training for Air Force ROTC, and I was really pleased with the results. I kept the go deep process close and near throughout the training. Whenever the training made me feel the ‘intended stress,’ I used my breath to settle down and get back on track. I fell back on my gratitude and excitement towards the training process to keep me strong everyday. I even taught some of my classmates to do the same with great results.”
Awesome Ocean Athlete