3 breathing techniques to prepare for the cold

3 breathing techniques to prepare for the cold

The colder the water, the more brutal it can be at taking your breath away. It’s essential to control your breath when doing any form of cold water immersion, but in an ice bath as cold as ours, it’s absolutely vital. Discover three breathing techniques you can use to control your breath and prepare for the cold:

The Wim Hof Method®

Put in the simplest of terms, the Wim Hof Method® is a way to keep your body and mind in its optimal natural state. Get comfortable in a meditation posture, close your eyes and try to clear your mind. Inhale deeply through the nose or mouth, and exhale unforced through the mouth. Fully inhale through the belly, then chest and then let go unforced. 

Repeat this 30 to 40 times in short, powerful bursts. After the last exhalation, inhale one final time, as deeply as you can. Then let the air out and stop breathing. Hold until you feel the urge to breathe again.

When you feel the urge to breathe again, draw one big breath to fill your lungs. When you are at full capacity, hold your breath for around 15 seconds, then let go. That completes round number one. This cycle can be repeated 3-4 times without intervals. After having completed the breathing exercise, take your time to bask in the bliss.

You can find out more about the Wim Hof Method® here, or download the free mobile app. 

Box Breathing

Box breathing is also known as resetting the breath or four-square breathing. It’s simple, quick to learn, and can be highly effective in regaining calm. This type of breathing technique is even used by Navy Seals to help them prepare and deal with high-stress environments. 

  1. Ensure you’re sitting comfortably with room for your lungs to fully expand.
  2. Inhale for a count of four seconds. 
  3. Hold for a count of four seconds.
  4. Slowly exhale for a count of four seconds.
  5. Hold for a count of four seconds.
  6. Repeat!

You can do this for 3, 4 or 5 rounds or 4 minutes. Simple, yet highly effective!



Five Deep Breaths

Now, you can’t get much simpler than this breathing technique! It’s great for beginners and really easy to remember. 

  1. Ensure you’re sitting comfortably with room for your lungs to expand.
  2. Take a deep breath and pull it down in between your hips. 
  3. Exhale. 

It’s a similar process as box breathing, but you’re practising pulling the breath down from your chest. The cold is going to try and push your breath into your throat and give you a gasping, breathless response however you can control that by pulling it back down with 5 slow deep breaths.   

Whichever one of the breathing techniques you choose to prepare, entering the cold is when you’ll really need to control your breath. No matter how you do it, just grab hold of your breath. Some days it’s easy, some days it’s more challenging, but push through and pull the breath down into your pelvis.