Reflections on Ice and MovementBy Talismanicidols on April 29, 2016
It has been just over three months since I turned 33 and began the newest rabbit hole I’ve fallen into. It began on a dreary day in Holland… just three months back now that you mention it. And on this fateful day a kids pool was staged as a makeshift mote to keep the white walkers at bay.
However, since I found that the white walkers were intelligent to circumnavigate the pool rather than stand in front of it like Forest Gump stumped on Sudoku, I began to use the kiddie pool for Ice baths.
I’ve been using Wim Hof’s breathing method primarily. He is one of the most inspiring, in the moment and authentic guys I’ve ever met. He’s not even in the same public genre that I was thrown into that other fateful day back in 2007 when I released the first clip of Esoteric Agenda. (Tangent detected…Blocked… have a nice day)
Wim’s breathing techniques have been compared with tummo breath from Tibet. Holding many world records in various categories that defy standard human will but he never forgets to mention that anyone and everyone can do it. You’ve just got to commit.
Especially when you’re about to go into the ice bath. After three months of consistently challenging myself in new ways with cold baths, ice baths and cold dips in nature, I can say the biggest result is how much I feel centered in my posture, relaxed in my breathing, soft in my vision yet more observant. I spend a lot more time outside the mind and in the feeling on the body.
Dr. Rhonda Patrick, as I’ve mentioned @FoundMyFitness has shown extensive research on cold water immersion’s effects on the body and brain. Here is what her pdf download covers from (text taken from www.foundmyfitness.com:
- Cold increases norepinephrine up to 5-fold in the brain
- Norepinephrine effects mood, increases vigilance, focus, and attention.
- Cold exposure increases cold shock proteins including one in the brain that repairs damaged synapses and in muscle prevents atrophy.
- Cold-induced norepinephrine lowers inflammation and pain by decreasing the levels of 3 inflammatory mediators.
- Chronic cold shock may increase immune cell numbers and particularly a type of immune cell that kills cancer cells.
- Cold exposure increases metabolic rate, the number of mitochondria, and the burning of fat.
- The effects of different cold exposure temperatures and timing on athletic performance, recovery time, and muscle mass.
- Differences between various types of cold shock protocols including cold water immersion and whole body cryotherapy.
At knowledge of Health I found this article on brown fat by Bill Sardi published on March 24, 2015.
It shows that certain foods, or nutraceuticals as all them younguns are calling it, can activate brown fat. These foods are garlic, resveratrol, capsaicin, melatonin, fish oil, turmeric, fucoxanthin from seaweed and green tea.
For those that don’t know, brown fat is what people like Wim Hof activate with his breathing. It’s the kind of fat that sits around the neck and collar bone rather than the white fat that sits around the hips and waist. Brown fat has a large amount of mitochondria in it that cause it to appear brown.
White fat’s purpose is to store energy so it works when you gain weight. Brown fat’s role is to expend itself and create heat. Brown fat is said to reduce high cholesterol and improve artery health.
But to get to the heart of the matter, I’m not just talking about eating a few different foods to increase brown fat. I’m talking about taking an ice back. A FUCKING ICE BATH!
There’s something unspeakable about putting your entire body into a different element (water) and temperature (#ColdAsDragonBallZ) and just sitting with it. Just being okay with it for as long as you can.
For me, I was doing two cold baths a day at 20 minutes. I didn’t always add ice but the tap gets mighty cold here in Nor Cal. I’ve since slowed down to once a day… and admittedly I skipped the last few days. But I can’t get it off my mind and that’s why I’m writing this blog.
So, to segway this mutha funbag into movement and I have to tell you how I feel just after getting OUT of the ice bath. A….Mazing. Amazing. Amaze…Ed!
I never feel my lungs the way I feel them after an ice bath. I never feel my muscles the same way either. In fact, there’s a peculiar state of mind Post Cold Dip that I cannot find anywhere else. I make no claim that you can’t find it if you try, but I haven’t experienced the level of clarity I feel. The noise, the inner chatter and questions and statements… they all stop. It’s all just a body, an animal. Fully alive and activated.
The feeling of being completely in your body and confident of how to use it (that’s a big one), it only seemed natural that my obsession with these ice baths translated into a love for movement.
Movement or Mobility training has been breaking down into specialties like hacky sack, gymnastic rings, free running (parkour), tree climbing, animal crawl improv, hand stands and martial arts for me lately.
I’ve been working with a friend on a big project coming out soon called SparMat. I’ll have more info on that later but the reason I mention it is because this is the project that inspired the new season of Waking Infinity that I’m currently producing. It started with MMA obsession and fighters like Conor McGregor, Jon Bones Jones, Anderson Silva, GSP, etc…
I knew there was more than meets the eye when it comes to mental training for fighters. Needless to say, the mentality of elite fighters was my next obsession. I began moving more. Doing Cross fit a lot. I eventually came across Naudi Aguilar from Functional Patterns who finds that Cross fit might reinforce bad posture and doesn’t focus on the most functional or useful of movements for real life, only for fat burn.
I know I’ve mentioned this topic before but where I’m going with this blog is in what I’ve found through the work of Stephen Jepson. He runs a site called NeverLeaveThePlayground.com which encourages movement over sedentary lifestyles. The specific aspect of his work that I like is how he focuses on learning new tactile tasks with all four limbs. Learning with your hands and feet.
It’s called bi lateral training and the key is to give new challenges, new textures, new sizes and shapes of things to hold with the hands and even feet. Like picking marbles out of a bucket using only the toes. Then increasing the challenge by putting the bucket on a chair.
The ability to increase the challenge incrementally is the key to keeping it fun and quite simple at the same time. The key is to keep it up and focus on strength and flexibility creeps in, then later its the will power that keeps you going.
Then finally you push past a limit or barrier that you weren’t expecting to push past. Not one that was amazing to beat, but one you didn’t consider that you’d actually surpass. That’s a “Eureka!” moment. An “Aha, I’ve got it.”
This only happens when you truly challenge yourself. Doing handstands aren’t really going to train me for a real world scenario, but attempting this inverted balance pose and anchoring with the hands instead of feet, you learn some things.
It’s great when you reach this moment but let’s reflect on the whole process and pay it all a bit of homage.
An article called “What Are We Thinking When We (Try to) Solve Problems?” by Nikhil Swaminathan talks about the ACC (a region in the front of the brain responsible for decision making, conflict monitoring and reward feedback).
When a group of Rhesus Monkeys were give a laser point to aim it at a dot on a board, they eventually would hit it and receive a reward. They steadily got better and better as you would imagine from continued practice in refining that motor skill.
However in the ACC of the monkeys, scientists record increased neuronal activity when they began searching. Then once they hit the dot successfully, the neuronal activity was still high but not as excited. Once the monkeys got the hang of it, the neuronal activity dropped off.
A study by Professor Beeman studied people given simple mental tasks to focus on and the subjects were studies by fMRI and EEG. What they found was that just before the ACC solved a problem, the brains visual activity lowered. This is possibly because “Seeing” things takes a lot of energy.
Beams also found that subjects watching comedy like Robin Williams standup improved the subjects ability to solve problems. If the subjects watched an anxiety ridden movie like The Shining, the problem solving capability plummeted. Mood enhances problem solving abilities.
So the point of this all is that I believe Ice baths and Movement or Mobility training with bare feet, Rafe Kelly style, is a form of medicine. It’s just a working hypothesis but if you can class something like “working the graveyard shift is a carcinogen” then fuck it, right?
I’m not all hopped up on exercise lately, I’m hopped up on living from a different perspective. The instinct and daring and breathing through stressful life situations that it takes to train the body into good health, discipline the mind into the simplest and most effective problem solver, and pay special attention to desire and ambition without benefit for all.
If you like this blog and know someone who might benefit from it, SHARE IT!
Start touching and stepping on shit. New shit. Natural shit.
Start breathing and enjoying the feeling of breath in the lungs.
Battle the cold once in a while and let nature teach you about temperature.
Challenge your strength and agility with Hacky Sack.
Go on a hike.
Bite a dog.
I love you guys.
I mean it.
I really do.
Farewell and Goodnight.
Live from Humboldt… going offline.
Categories: Creative, Dahli's Journey, Movement and Mind Training, Uncategorized.
Tags: Breath Techniques, Evolve Move Play, Ice Baths, Ido Portal, Innerfire.nl, Life Coaching, Mental improvement, Mental tricks, Rafe Kelly, Wim Hof.