Cold Water Plunges Are Free and Uncomplicated
The wellness industry is a dizzying mess of recommendations that very often over promise and under deliver. It’s a bottomless pit of people selling the supposed keys to “living your best life.” However after 20 years in this industry, I have learned that the best things for me are often very simple and inexpensive.
Cold water therapy has been growing in popularity thanks to cool dudes like Wim Hoff. Cryotherapy places might be popping up all over your town touting the benefits of a few minutes in their chilly chambers. Submersion in cold water or a cryo session can reduce inflammation throughout the whole body, inside and out. It’s also great for sore muscles, which you’re sure to have if you’re doing the FlowLIFT and yoga challenge.
Another inexpensive and simple way to level up your overall health is to establish a consistent connection with nature. No matter where you live, there is earthly majesty available in some form whether it’s in a city park or the rocky mountains. We live in La Jolla, CA and we are lucky to have the pacific ocean at our doorstep.
At the end of 2020, these two simple ideas of cold water and connecting with nature came together for me in the most perfect way. I was on a beach walk with two friends on a sunny yet chilly day. We all immediately wished we had bikinis on as we watched a woman walk casually into the ocean for a quick swim. Right then and there we decided that we would jump into the ocean together everyday for 40 days. The only rule was that you have to dunk all the way under, hair and all. It was a tremendous experience that showered us with a variety of joys and benefits. It was so simple and completely free.
5 Things I Learned From 100 Ocean Plunges With Magnificent Women
The More You Don’t Want to Do Something, The Better You Feel After
We started plunging on December 20th. We live in La Jolla and the weather is obviously really nice here. By no means would Wim Hoff be leading his ice water workshops in sunny San Diego. However the Pacific in the winter here gets down to the low 50’s. It’s cold! There were a few days where it was raining, extremely windy and the ocean was downright wild. We stood on the beach, stripped off our sweats and launched ourselves into that water while our minds screamed no, no, no!
On-lookers thought we were nuts, and perhaps we were. However those bad weather windy days were by far the most exhilarating. The whole body tingles, the mind becomes alert yet calm, and any sign of a bad mood or discontent immediately evaporates into the waves. Pushing through mental resistance day after day builds confidence and clears the way for our god given creativity to come alive.
Create Authentic Connection With Other Women
When other women saw us jumping in or saw one of our posts on instagram they became curious and wanted to join. It’s a drama-free way to connect. The fact that it’s free and only takes about 15-20 minutes makes it very easy to fit into your day. More and more women came to meet us when they could to plunge.
Some of the most special times were after dark under the light of the full moon. It was more fun than any night out we’d had in years. It took 20 minutes and the injection of joy we felt was immense. Authentic connection often happens when you’re not trying. We had no leader, just a group of women who understood why this simple exercise had such power to it. Run straight toward the horizon, into the cold, into the discomfort. We emerge reborn with a genuine bond that needs no words to express or formal ceremony to validate.
Let Go Of Your Beauty Routine to Accommodate Dates With Nature
We embraced a new version of beauty. Forget the smooth, silky locks and rock the sandy, salty beach waves. Forget the makeup and let the glow from the cold water flush our cheeks and make brighten our eyes. The elation we felt inside from submerging in the gorgeous ocean on the mostly empty winter beaches became far superior to the feeling of being perfectly put together. I’ll take the radiance I get from a plunge over a blowout any day.
Cold Water Plunges Have Physiological Benefits
Immersing oneself into cold water has some real, tangible benefits. Wim Hof, aka The Ice Man, sites the following on his website about cold water therapy:
“Scientists have found evidence that exposure to cold speeds up metabolism. Another benefit of exposing your body to cold is that it reduces inflammation, swelling and sore muscles. Therefore, many athletes use ice baths and other types of exposure to cold as a means to speed up recovery after physical exercise. Furthermore, cold body therapy is also linked to improved quality of sleep, more focus, and even to an improved immune response.”
We ended up doing a little over 100 days in a row. Both our 40th and 100th days happened to fall on full moons, auspiciousness that we celebrated but didn’t plan. A woman who lives near the beach where we most often plunged handmade flower crowns for our 40th day and left them hanging on her gate for us. Small acts of love and magic happened all around us. It made me think that perhaps they’re always happening but it took this commitment to each other and ourselves to enable us to see them.
Take the Plunge
This experience was subtle and radical all at the same time. People constantly asked us, “why are you doing this?” and “what is it doing for you?” And to this, I only have one answer. Try it yourself. You most likely have a lake, river or ocean somewhere near you. One woman I messaged with bought an old claw foot tub for her garden and fills it with water straight from the hose along with a splash of fresh herbs, olive oil and plant medicines every morning.
Find a friend or two that will make the commitment with you. If you live somewhere very cold, talk to your doctor first before swimming in natural bodies of water. There is definitely such thing as too cold and you don’t want to put yourself in danger. However we knew of a group of women up in Bend, Oregon that would all jump in the Deschutes River after yoga everyday. At around 33 degrees, that is one freezing cold plunge!
If cold water isn’t for you, than perhaps it’s another simple daily exercise to stir your soul, warm your heart and fill you with appreciation for the glorious lives we live. It’s from this state that we heal and find inner peace. You don’t need to pay a life coach to find what’s already inside of you. There are simple and inexpensive ways to connect with yourself and those around you in a meaningful way. Commit to something uncomplicated for 40 days and let the landslide of magic take you for a ride.