Meditation can be used for a lot of things. Coping with anxiety and depression, plus helping to lower one’s blood pressure and relieving the stress and fear associated with a life threatening illness are just some of the benefits a person can experience by using a meditation practice. And while the hope is that none of us have to face issues like hypothermia, for some, its a choice.
Guinness record book holder and athlete “Iceman” Wim Hof is the topic of this recent Washington Post. According to the article, Hof teaches himself how to strengthen his body and mind by exposing himself to extreme cold. How does he survive? By practicing meditation of course. Hof explains.
Hof says he can endure cold so well because he has learned to activate parts of his mind beyond the reach of most people’s conscious control, and crank up what he calls his “inner thermostat.”
In one well-documented demonstration in 2008, Hof remained encased in a glass box filled with ice on a New York City street for 71 minutes, at that time a record. Doctors monitoring his vital signs said his body temperature descended gradually to 93.6 degrees as his heart rate rose slowly into the 120s. He didn’t shiver.
It was as if he were running a race without moving.
Hof describes what he does as a kind of internal conversation, in which his mind and body send each other signals. During the Hong Kong stunt, he said he mentally directed warmth toward a specific part of his lower back when he sensed it was feeling too cold and starting to hurt.
Read more about Hof’s somewhat bizarre mind and body strengthening technique combining meditation with extreme cold here.