"It is a very simple thing:
If I, with my body, can conquer the chilliness of the water, I can take away the chilliness of my life." Late Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini Yoga Master
My old cat is a heat junkie. In the winter time she makes sure she is as close to the stove, the heater, the radiator as possible, cuddled up in a cosy blanket or in my arms. The though of taking a cold shower in the morning is probably as far reached as it is for you....
Or you have lately become curious by watching videos of excited people dipping themselves into an icy bath, frozen lakes or cold rivers?
Wim Hof, the Iceman is a great man for bringing an ancient combination of breath, focus, courage and intention into the world's limelight. He got science involved, so now we have the Western proof that cold is not only good, but extremely healthy for us.
When I started to take cold showers in the early 90ies, I had previously moved from Switzerland to the north of Germany. Different climate, and my body reacted with reoccurring colds, every 4 weeks a new one, which lasted for at least 2 weeks to heal
As a Kundalin Yoga teacher, enlightenment is my thing. At least the thought of it and the intention to move towards.
Ishnaan is an eastern form of hydrotherapy. In plain words it is taking a cold shower while massaging the body and late Yogi Bhajan claimed that it would cleanse the body on the deepest level. Especially if you do it at 3:30am, just before you sit down onto your yoga mat to stretch and meditate!
In recent times a wave of excited, enthusiastic people have been following the teachings of Wim Hof, famous for his nick name ‘The Iceman’. He adapted ancient Tibetan techniques like the Tummo meditation (Inner Fire Meditation), enabling him to swim in arctic waters (without a wetsuit), sit in an ice bath for almost 2 hours with no sign of hypothermia or withstand injections of bacteria without getting sick. Quite impressive!
He also comes up with increasingly more research about cold swimming, so keep an eye on his website www.wimhofmethod.com.
Back to the traditional Ishnaan, as taught be late Yogi Bhajan. It is a good way to start any exposure to cold water with cold showers for a few weeks – dipping into an ice cold Irish lake in March can be … too challenging.
Benefits - It's Good For You!
Brings blood into the capillaries
Flushes internal organs and supplies them with blood and oxygen
Strengthens the nervous system
Gives you capacity to act
Brings power and resilience into your body
Trains the neutral mind
Balances glandular system
Prevents circulatory and nerve problems when applied regularly
Enhances auric filed
Relieve symptoms of depression, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia.
During the first 3 days of her cycle a woman is advised to shower with lukewarm water.
Also, if you suffer from a fever, flu, rheumatism or heart disease, do not take cold showers.
Always contact your doctor to get an all-clear first before starting Ishnaan or any lifestyle changes.
How to Do Ishnaan
Drybrush your skin from your finger tips and toes towards your heart
Take some Almond oil and massage your body all over – this will soften the shock of the cold exposure
Get into the cold shower and massage your body vigorously while taking the shower.
Great time to chant out loud your preferred mantra!
Avoid direct exposure to thighs, genitals and head.
You can wash your face with cold water
Get out, rub yourself dry with a coarse towel, back into the shower for a few minutes
Repeat one more time
Have a ginger or yogi tea ready to drink – it will warm you up from inside out!
You can soon share your experiences with Ishnaan in our Facebook group!