Week 2: Breath Of Fire

Apr 09, 2021

One benefit of doing this project is being able to share the topic with those around me and also listen in on their feedback and questions. This was recently experienced at one of my soccer practices, where I was explaining to a teammate what I would be doing for the next couple of months instead of traditional coursework. He showed interest in my project and even shared his account to a website called Commune, which has lots of different tutorial videos on yoga classes, exercises, and even breathing exercises. One class that stood out to me was taught by a man named Wim Hof. I enrolled myself in his course and have been watching his videos for the past few days. With his beard and heavy Dutch accent, Wim Hof explains some of his personal feats and Guinness World Records: swimming under ice and prolonged full-body contact with ice, countless barefoot half marathons ran on ice and snow, climbing 27,000 feet up Mount Everest wearing only shorts and shoes. Wim Hof was able to accomplish these things by focusing on his breathing, which he has culminated into a process known as the Wim Hof method. This regimen is similar to that of Tummo meditation. I have begun to learn about Tummo in a new book I am reading by James Nestor titled Deep. It focuses on the lives of free divers all around the world who are able to dive 250 feet into the ocean while using only a single breath. Tummo meditation is practiced in Tibetan Buddhist culture and it utilizes a combination of breathing and visualization techniques designed to unlock a person’s “inner heat.” Similarly, to the Wim Hof Method, it uses breathing to allow the body to withstand freezing temperatures. Both of these techniques demonstrate the power of the breath, which is already a common theme in this project. I continue to learn of amazing examples where our natural resource of breathing is leveraged for ultimate performance, and I hope there is more in store.


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