Ok, so you may be thinking, "GET IN THE THE COLD WATER? Are you crazy?"
And the truth is, perhaps a little. But if you saw what I saw, and had felt all that I had, you'd be loving the water and wanting others to hop in with you. But first, some backstory.
I am not wired differently than anyone else, except for maybe I always thought it was funny to be the first one into the lake in the spring and the last one out in the fall. Was I in long? No. Was it painfully cold? No. Did I do it for the excitement and attention? You betcha. Polar plunges, full moon skinny dips, jumping into mountain streams? You could count on me.
Rewind to February 2020, no idea what's about to unfold on the global stage, and suddenly all the people are talking about breathwork and cold swims and Wim Hof, and my ego was like, "We will NOT be outdone."
In reality, as a water lover, the winter was always incredibly hard for me. Without access to water, I'd feel landlocked and trapped and bummed out, missing my heavy doses of Blue Mind.
So when I realized that the cold water was an option, I ran with it. When I stopped seeing the cold as a threat, and rather, just something different to warm, life changed. Suddenly it was no longer that warm meant good and cold meant bad. There was less judgment. There was only sheer appreciation for water in all its conditions AND sheer appreciation for my mind, body, and soul for the way it could actually partake in cold water activities.
Whether in small groups or larger ones, lake or plunge tank (use code KATHERINE22), I wanted in. The physical benefits are nice and all, but really I was there for the euphoria, the dopamine reset, the access to my soul, and the connection with nature.
Suddenly, limitations felt intriguing. Nothing felt impossible, no matter what we're talking about. When you know that you can do something like walk yourself or sink yourself into temps just about freezing, staying there calmly, and step out of that empowered and unscathed, you start to think, "what else can I do that previously felt off limits?"
If there's magic in the water, what then do we call the cold water? Miracle salve?
If you don't want anything to do with the cold, and it repulses you, that's kinda silly. That's half of life's spectrum that you're writing off as undesirable. How do you know that's the case?
If you don't want anything to do with the cold because you're always cold or have a circulation issue, this is also an opportunity to explore that. Wim Hof argues that you can actually reset some circulation issues WITH the cold, and it's been my experience that using cold water principles outside of the water (if I'm having a flare up) means more mastery over my physical body in other settings.
NOTE: Of course I am not a doctor and there are perhaps extenuating circumstances to anything — so don't take this as advice, which I'm not qualified to give. I simply share my experience and pass along the experiences and research of others. I will highlight so much of this information within the Cold Water Swim Club, AND I find it important to note that you do not need to subject yourself to extreme cold to still get benefits of a cold exposure discipline (again, part of the membership information to be shared).
Practically speaking, there are a lot of things we do to make our swims successful, many of which are widely available in books, the internet, and the like. This research will help and my experiences can support, too, but there is nothing like creating your own formula for a successful swim.
Do you know what time of day your body will "integrate" the cold best? Do you know how your body experiences and releases stress?
You'll learn that quickly.
Do you have extra mittens and blankets and parkas to make undressing and dressing a breeze, especially if you have a time in the water that catches you off guard and you end up feeling crispier and shakier than planned?
It happens. We plan for everything.
I do my best to warm my core temperature and simply my surface temp before and after I swim. I'm not a reptile and I'm not a superhuman and I don't show up in a bikini and flip flops — I am a human with an average amount of body fat and I'm bundled madly and have alllll sorts of tools to make it comfy.
If I don't totally control my response to the water — because sometimes you just won't, and you'll learn how and when that happens — I put my feet and hands on the vents of my car and blast that heat hiiiiigh.
I'm just keeping it real with you, because even though this practice is designed to teach you mind over matter, like all things, we meet the water with an open, beginner's mind every time we get in. We empower ourselves with our talk, our movement and our breath, and then we see what the conditions want to say about that plan. It's not meant to be scary, it's MEANT TO BE CURIOUS!
Please also note, this is not medical advice and it’s on you to consult an open-minded health care professional before dabbling. As someone with sporadic circulation issues, as well as menstrual considerations, there are numerous ways to address this and tend to the well-being of the body while still participating in cold exposure. FULL details of this will be provided in Telegram and other documentation.