"Cold water immersion activates the body’s natural healing powers which can relieve the symptoms of many medical conditions and promote a sense of health and well-being. When practiced on a regular basis and turned into a habit, you begin to experience health benefits, including long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems which enhance your quality of life."
I will be really honest, Ice bathing is uncomfortable mentally, physically, and emotionally. But sometimes stepping where we feel uncomfortable is what we need. This year has been uneasy for all of us because of the current world situation. We all needed to step into the unknown and just try to survive it. Probably some people found it a very difficult and challenging time, I believe for some people it was easier but it so much depends on our mental health. Good Mental Health is the key. This topic is slowly becoming more popular and more people talk about it. But still, there is this stereotype that you have to keep your own "shit" to yourself because nobody cares or sometimes we feel it is embarrassing to share, we don’t want to be weak and vulnerable because the world waits for us to be superheroes.
I am so sorry I have been gone for some time. All summer I couldn’t force myself to write a blog post. There is so much I want to share with you but I just simply needed time for myself and work with my mental health. I finally learned my lesson and started listening to myself more. Every time I feel I need time for ME, I prioritize Myself and it doesn't matter if I have to keep something aside, I am first. During the lockdown, I was so busy trying to share as much I can and spread the power of yoga that after the rules were eased I decided it was time for myself to recharge and go deeper within. I felt a call from my Inner ME and it was saying it's time to connect on a deeper level with yourself. The process and inner work are never very gentle and I can confess I had not the easiest summer this year…And then in the end news about a close family member's death got me in the state where I knew I need to work more on my mental health. The Grieving process is never easy even we know that one day someone close to us will die but it never gets easy. I will not talk in this post about grieving too much I am still in the process. Maybe when it will feel it's the right time and I am ready I will share my experience through this process…
I think I should say Thank you for Yoga in my life one more time. It always works, it's not the first time when it helped me go through darkness. Meditation is an amazing tool when we suffer. It helps not to just let go but accept too. Acceptance of what we need. Accept who we are. Accept the way our family is. Accept the current situation. Accept your life the way it is now. Just simply be in the moment. Honestly, I can say even after years of practice the mind is not always calm, empty and sharp, or steady. We always need work to improve our mental health.
I saw for some time people posting on social media about cold showers. I was following people who do ice baths too but never thought I would do it. It just felt so insane to put yourself in such an uncomfortable situation. And I am not a fan of the cold. I was never really using cold water for a shower even when there was a heatwave outside. I love warm\hot showers. I always find it relaxing and pleasant. But after listening to all these people talking about such amazing benefits and clearness in the head, I thought okay I will give a try.
My first experience started with a cold shower…and it was not something that you really enjoy but I start feeling the effect in few days…even people around me start seeing I looked more energized. Summers here in Turkey can be really hot and not just in the day time but all 24 hours. You wake up it's hot and you go to sleep it's hot. Especially when we have heat waves it's even difficult to sleep and my energy levels stay low. I found having a cold shower first thing in the morning boosts my energy straight away, and makes me feel energized and awake. Even though it's a really uncomfortable experience but it is 100% worth it. After a cold immersion, you feel amazing and ready for the day. It's not just about your energy, it also helps to clear your mind. A cold shower cleanses your head before it starts being too busy with daily thoughts.
But what I want to mention is you need to learn how properly to have a cold shower. It's not the way that a lot of people imagine and I realized I was doing it wrong before too. Normally we put ourselves suddenly under cold water and the body gets in a shock. If you try slowly to adapt the body to cold and use your breathing it becomes much easier. For example, start first with your arms or legs and slowly move cold water all over your body. When you feel ready stay under the water stream and breath deeply. Bring all your focus to the breath and you can feel how it gets less and less uncomfortable. Through your breath, you get acceptance of the current situation and being fully in the present moment. Learning uncomfortable can be changed to comfortable.
But how have I ended up having ice baths? Through my grieving, I found I was waiting for the morning and a cold shower because it was my time with myself. Even though it was a time when I wanted to run away from uncomfortable and not be under the cold water, it was also at the same time the clearest time of my day when I could be just there for me. Accepting the cold and seeing how body and mind adapt taught me it's the way I can accept the death of a loved one. Stepping into uncomfortable and being there. I wanted to challenge myself more. Cold showers were still cold in the beginning but not so cold after some time and I wanted to sharpen my mind more and learn more from this process. Then I started the ice baths and the water of course is freezing. But you know what … it is all inside our head. Your mind is powerful. Okay, I am not seeking a World record but 5 min in ice water is the best morning ritual nowadays for me and it has many benefits for body and mind.
Cold therapy benefits are numerous, including:
Improves blood circulation
Strengthens nervous system
Reduces blood pressure
Speeds injury recovery
Increases energy and wellbeing
Decreases seasonal anxiety and depression
Keeps hair and skin healthy
Lowers body fat
Lowers blood sugar, thus cutting food cravings
Improves adrenal function
Fixes thyroid issues
Improves deep sleep quality
Increases pain tolerance
Strengthens and trains your positive brain muscle
"Taking a cold shower\ice bath benefits numerous body systems. Cold showers help your nervous system, manage stress better and help you build your willpower. They can also help improve the condition of your skin and hair. Since taking a cold shower benefits mental alertness, it’s an excellent way to get an edge on your day."
Is it worth it to start cold showers or ice baths and make it your daily habit? My answer is definitely YES! Choose to train your body and mind in an uncomfortable situation such as cold to be able to deal with unexpected life events and experiences. Your mind is powerful and can be trained to stay calm under stressful situations, panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and etc. Ice water forces you to stay present and deal with it, and of course accept it. There is nothing else you can do just breathe. Coldwater therapy helps us to understand we can survive difficult times and we are able to do hard things.
Love and Light
"Yoga with Eagle"