I’m a father of six. The four oldest children, from my first marriage, work with me. Enahm is thirty-seven now; Isabelle is thirty-five; Laura, thirty-three; and Michael, thirty-two. They work with me every day, and I’m honored. It’s a privilege to work with your children. When they were little and I would go to the primary school, they wanted me to act normally, but of course I was doing handstands and wearing T-shirts in the wintertime. The other parents would see me and say, “Look at him! He’s crazy!” And that was embarrassing for the children. But now everything has switched; they serve the same mission. They see health turnarounds every day.
We work with another half-dozen people in the office, so the operation consists of about ten people altogether. I am so grateful not to be alone any longer in this. I was so used to being the black sheep, the crazy guy. What a blessing it is to have more hearts on board. Now I have a wonderful, beautiful, crazy, mischievous little two-year-old with my partner, Erin. He exudes an almost mystic cuteness when he walks around with his face all like this or like that, and I just melt. Me the Iceman. I melt all the time in his presence. I love him so much.
I also have a son that I have not seen in a long time. He is eighteen years old now. My breakup with his mother really affected me. I was quite down because of it. I was able to perform well, to do all the world-record attempts and everything, but it definitely cast a large shadow over me. At this point I have made a certain peace with it. I have found love again, and I am blessed not just with my own family but the larger family. I love the community we are building. I love life in general — to be honest, I’m crazy for it. My life hasn’t always been easy, and I’m well-acquainted with pain, but I’m happy. I’m as happy as I’ve ever been.
I was alone for five years after I lost my wife Olaya to suicide, left with four young children to care for. With no partner, was I lonely? Of course, and I felt a lot of sadness, but I had four kids. There was no time to be lonely. Waking up at 4:00 a.m., doing my breathing for an hour, that helped me cleanse myself, to grieve. When you have four kids, you are right there with them, not anywhere else. I had the energy to be there for them because of the method. It allows you to feel renewed every morning, ready to meet the day with ease and joy and sense of openness. It trains you to be flexible in life.
I rise in the morning, and I do my breathing. I don’t do it because it’s good for me, which it is, but because it feels good. That’s why I want to do it. And then shortly after, I take my cold shower, or an ice bath if I can. I love it, and I never skip a day, even when I am on the road. The ice bath, combined with the breathing, generates a ton of metabolic activity in the body. I stay in the cold water until I feel a deep peace, which comes from complete adaptation. I’m at rest, just looking around, and I’m charging up. My body is in a deeply stimulated metabolic state, because it has to work to withstand the cold. This makes me feel alive, with an absolute sense of being present — “I am here.” I know all that, so I just do it, and it feels great. When I get out of the water, I don’t jump directly into a warm shower or anything like that. No. I let the body work, and it’s amazing what it does, what it can do. All the metabolic activity and biochemical processes are priming the body for ultimate functionality. Everything works. I do some stretching, some splits, some balance exercises. I’m in my sixties, and I can still balance my entire bodyweight on one arm. That might seem impressive, but I know that ten years from now — when I’m in my seventies, a senior citizen — I’ll still be attempting to set all kinds of records and succeeding, just as I always have.
Until the day I die, I will be able to flee, fight, find food, withstand the cold, handle my emotions, and make love. Is that all possible? The five F’s: freeze, flight, fight, food, and fuck? I believe it is, and it’s beautiful. It’s who we are. We’re not these hollow vessels staring at a tiny screen in our hand. We’re not the lethargic couch potato watching the football match. How do you feel? I feel fucking nice! That’s the way I choose to live my life every day.
Whatever it takes, I want to feel that this body is serving me. So I do my splits, suspend my body on one arm, balance on or hang from one finger even. My middle finger, naturally. I still hold the world record for that, you know. I hung from a rope tied between two hot air balloons back in February of 2003. We were more than mile up, and it was very cold. I wasn’t wearing a shirt, and I lost the dexterity in my finger, my extremities. But still there I was, hanging by my middle finger for 23.5 seconds like some kind of lunatic. It was on television, and you can still find the clip on YouTube. I’ve been able to do that and a lot of other crazy things with this body of mine. But even when the stunt is dangerous, which it often is, I always feel in control. Perhaps even more so. And that gives me a feeling more intense than any daredevil thrill. Like the cold water, it makes me feel truly alive.
Showing people how to access their light is a big part of what I do, but besides that, of course, I breathe. I get high on my own supply. It’s your supply too remember because we are all connected. Breathing changes your cellular construction, the molecular structures. It changes everything. It brings the light; it creates the right biochemistry within the body for the light to appear. Breathing marks the beginning of life, and it will show you the way to health and happiness. I know this because it happened for me and for so many others who have practiced the method.
Once you get a taste of that feeling, you crave it. You chase it. You can’t get enough of it. You’re like a man on a mission — never asleep, always available, always alert. Every single day, no matter how long it takes.
WIM HOF, a.k.a. “The Iceman,” holds multiple world records for his feats of endurance and exposure to cold. The benefits of his method, now practiced by tens of thousands, have been validated by eight university research studies. He is the author of THE WIM HOF METHOD: Activate Your Full Human Potential (Sounds True, October 20, 2020). Hof lives in the Netherlands with his family. For more, visit wimhofmethod.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Advance Praise for THE WIM HOF METHOD
“This spirited and humane guide will inspire self-help readers who are looking for a challenge.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Wim Hof has inspired millions of people to use just their bodies and breath to heat, then heal, themselves of a laundry list of chronic illnesses. Dubious, you say? I certainly thought so, until I discovered the real scientifi c research from real scientists around the world proving these ‘impossible’ claims were in fact true. This book is a valuable guide to anyone looking to take better control of the health, heat, and untapped potential locked away within us all.” ―James Nestor, New York Times bestselling author of Breath
“Wim is a force of nature and love! I have been lucky enough to spend intimate time training with him in person. This book is the next best thing. Take the journey with Wim through his stories, the science, and the method to discover that you are capable of more than you thought possible.” ―Lewis Howes, New York Times bestselling author and host of The School of Greatness
Photo Credit: Author
This post is a sponsored book excerpt from the publisher, Sounds True.