This past weekend I had the amazing opportunity to experience a Wim Hof Breathing seminar with the Be-Jaya team. Chris and Jared lead my community through a series of breathing exercises that stimulate both the sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) nervous systems. They capped it off by putting us through a 20 minute session of DMT Breathing (Dimethyltryptamine is chemical that is found in EVERYTHING in nature, but only produced in concentration within the human body just before you enter the birth canal, and right before you die).
The experience was extremely enlightening and educational. We covered the biological science of making your blood more alkaline through oxygen over-saturation and how that has the ability to suppress the “fight or flight” mechanism that is constantly stimulated throughout the day through exposure to LED lighting on phones and television and the hustle and bustle of everyday life on the go. This boost in blood pH, normal is around 7.4 and Wim has been measured at 8, also has some positive performance benefits as well. The increased alkalinity in combination with higher concentration of O2 in the blood allows the athlete to sustain a higher intensity of performance for a longer period of time before performance declines due to lack of oxygen and increased acidity in working tissues.
They also debunked some myths surrounding nutrient-timing and alkaline hydration products on the market. They were not nay-sayers by any means. However, the efficacy of the product is greatly diminished, and digestion inhibited, when ingesting alkaline water with food. As your gut digests food in an extremely acidic state, by pairing food with a more basic substance, it slows the absorption process of nutrients as food takes longer to break down. That being said, for the best benefits of these supplemental hydration products, they are to be taken before, during, or after training, while the gut is empty for the best results. Be-Jaya did an outstanding job of playing to my inner-nerd by hitting the science behind the methodology.
Furthermore, they went next level and appealed to the yogis and those that think on a higher plain in our clan. They went the way of the spiritual connection people are able to make by using these breathing techniques. Chris suggests that emotions are physically present in the body and manifested as pain in certain areas. For example, fear is stored in the lower back. Sadness in the chest. Anger in the traps and shoulders. All of which manifest as discomfort and inflammation. Without stretching into a single pose, and just by getting lost in my breath, tension that I consistently feel in my lumbar spine was gone. I, for one, felt a massive amount of energy in my “3rd Eye” as I “went clear” and experienced what I can only visually manifest as a bright white light during the DMT Breathing portion of the seminar. A few in our group, became so relaxed, that suppressed emotions came to the surface. Grown men cried. Many had breakthroughs and had realizations of what is truly important to them in this life.
It was quite the experience with such a great collective energy in the room. The culmination, and what has made this experience notable, is exposure to the cold. At the end of the seminar, volunteers are able to demonstrate just how much control we actually have over that autonomic responses inherent to being human through conscious breathing. The tool used to give real-time application of everything we just learned and practiced was an ice bath. Having been an athlete my whole life, I’m no stranger to stripping down and suffering through the first ten minutes nipple-deep in ice water, convulsing as I fight the feeling of pins and needles stinging my body. This morning was different. Being in tune with my breath, with the consciousness of what my body wanted to naturally do as a response to the slow death that is an ice bath, and what I wanted my body to which was simply relax, I was able to slide into the tub at 32 degrees without so much as a shiver. Chris refers to this element as “Going in like a King, and leaving like a King.” As opposed to running out like a thief.
Testimonials of those who I shared this enlightening experience with since have been tales of better sleep, increased clarity and production, enhanced recovery, and lack of prolonged soreness. I now find myself challenged to take cold showers regularly to prove to myself how much control I actually do indeed have over what physically manifests in my body. I am forever thankful for this experience, and more-so those that shared with me.