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  • Linde van der Heijden

How to carry yourself in the cold

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After my week with Wim at the Poland Expedition ​​I felt so powerful! I continued to train every day with breathwork and the cold and with each year more and more depth came to my practice.

In the first winter after the Poland trip, I swam every morning in the cold water of a nearby lake. In the summer when the water of the lake became too warm for me, I took a cold shower every morning.

After a year of cold training, I went for a swim in the sea during winter with a friend. I had met him in Poland at the Wim Hof ​​Expedition, but he had long since abandoned his daily cold training.

The sea was 6 degrees Celsius this cold winter day and there was a strong wind. When we walked from the beach into the sea, I realized that I could probably last longer, because I had continued my training and he hadn't. He had the advantage of having a little more meat on his bones, but I kept training every day.

But to my surprise, I only lasted a few minutes in the icy water. He floated easily for five minutes. I was amazed. I couldn't understand why someone who didn't train could last longer than me. (yesss I know a very ego driven thought, but I am only human )

Yet I continued to train faithfully while I was in the middle of my graduation year.

That year I worked my ass off. I studied theatre with an arts minor on the side for which I had to make two works of art to exhibit, wrote my thesis, directing a theater performance of which I also did the production and wrote the script for. For my graduation work, the theatre performance, I was supervised by a horrible, bitter, overworked teacher who was very mean to me.

From that moment on I started to look at the cold in a different way. The cold became my teacher.

When I went into the cold, I let myself feel the cold completely, I was aware of the icy coolness on my skin and focused on the warmth within myself and looking for ways to relax in it. Like a monk I turned inward to my warmth, light and love. Instead of armoring myself, bracing myself and tensing up, I learned that when I could relax in the cold, I could easily carry it.

Just like the stress surrounding my graduation. I did not ignore the mean teacher, I did not close myself off, instead of bracing myself, I practiced relaxing. As uncomfortable as the situation around me was, I am safe in myself, I can relax and my warmth, light and love cannot be taken away no matter how stressful my environment is.

In the end I graduated with a beautiful exhibition, thesis and a very well received final performance that I am still so happy with. And I had a good resolving conversation with my teacher.

A few months later, I dove into an icy lake with that same friend. He came out shivering again after two minutes. I remained seated with my hands in the prayer position with my head tilted slightly down towards my heart, aware of the sensation of the cold on my skin and my focus inward on my own warmth and relaxation. I stayed in the ice water for 10 minutes with ease, without fighting,, without tensing up. Just by being present with the focus on my warm heart.

It is not about how long you can stay in the cold, but about how you show up for yourself when things are uncomfortable.


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