The cold is my warm friend

In November 2018 ago I underwent the most mind-blowing experience of my life as I participated at the 3-day Wim Hof Method workshop, lead by Bart Dankers and his wife Tjally Dankers at the Training Center in Kaatsheuvel. The Wim Hof Method? In this blog I will tell you more about what that is and what it did for me.

The power of the body

Wim Hof got his nickname “The Iceman” after he broke a number of records with regards to resisting cold. Some of his feats include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, running a half marathon above the Arctic Circle on his bare feet, and standing in a container while covered with ice cubes for more than 112 minutes. Wim is convinced that our bodies are capable of doing the same exceptionally things his body allows him to do. Therefore, he has developed his Wim Hof Method that gives ordinary people the tools to take control over their body.


Use Cold Exposure Therapy to Keep Your Health & Mindset at Top Level Wim Hof

Always sick during winter time

When I first heard about Wim Hof, I thought that he must be crazy. Who would embrace the cold? When cold was such a risk to get sick. I would catch a cold after every physical exercise outdoors. I would develop a cough immediately if I didn't put on a scarf, gloves, hat or close up my zipper to the top during winter. I could even catch a cold in the midst of Summer. And you know those people who can get the flue more than once every winter season? Yep, that's me. Each winter I would easily get the flue two or three times. And I would always feel cold, have cold hands, cold feet, and feel cold to the bone. No matter how many socks, warm PJ's or blankets I would use. I could be shivering in a hot bath. I could never get fully warm in a blazing hot Finnish sauna. My upper legs would always feel cold, and I hated winter, snow, cold wind and cold water.


Feeling like 80 in a 40+ year old body

Besides the fact that I would catch a cold on any occasion, the other default for my body was a low energy level and, during times of fatigue, even a depressive state of mind. I also suffered from menstrual headaches and took meds for that. Not the ideal situation, right? Especially with a busy work life and private life with two young children. I have taken several medications for my thyroid, depression, had years of B12 shots and vitamin D shots, migraine tablets, hormonal patches, the works. But nothing lasted.

So how could I break that everlasting cycle of battling fatigue, feeling low and getting anemic and sick? That's why I started googling and ended up watching a Lewis Howes podcast (The School of Greatness), where Wim Hof was the guest and did some quick exercises for more energy. Wow, that was the eye-opener! I felt amazing after just a quick 4-minute exercise! I needed to get to the bottom of this. So I googled and found out about the trainings by the Wim Hof Center. I signed up immediately.

The wonderful weekend at Isimila

On November 9-11 2018 I spent my days with Bart Dankers and his lovely wife and assistant (and vegan chef!) Tjally. What I learned there has changed my life up until now. I will not go into the details of the course, as it it something that you have to really feel for yourself in order to understand. But I can say that I have learned different breathing techniques for de-acidifying my body, recovering my body after physical exercise, healing my body when I am ill, and a technique called DMT breathing to reconnect your heart and mind and to bring you into a higher state of mind. 4 techniques that are paired up with reset techniques. These techniques imply the use of ice baths and cold water and the right mindset or commitment to heal your own body and knowingly control your immune system for better performance.

Ice, ice baby

Sounds all pretty technical, right? Well it is and it isn't. The only thing that you need for this method is your own body. And I have learned that I can do pretty much anything that I set my mind to. Being sick of feeling low on energy? That is gone. Feeling cold? That is a thing of the past. I can now regulate my own inner thermostat and I can recover quickly after my running, just by jumping into a cold shower and doing some recovery breathing. My overall mood has improved and changed drastically as I feel so energized and vital! My sleep is very good and my focus has doubled. It is as if my inner fire has been turned on and I feel alive. That has all come to fruition after a weekend of swimming in a lake with water at a 7 degrees Celsius temperature, several ice baths, walking barefoot in the dunes in my shorts in the rain and cold wind. And the group (8 people in total, me included) carried this amazing energy that made us all feel safe to go through these life-changing exercises and come out stronger at the other end.


Swimming at the IJzeren Man

So, after that weekend I felt empowered. And I now go for regular barefoot walks in my shorts by myself, while it is freezing. I have taken a dip in the freezing waters of the IJzeren Man near my house here in Vught. And I take cold showers after my normal warm showers and after I come home from running my 5 or 10 km run. I get a lot out of this. The effect is pretty astounding. Is it all really that simple? Can I stay calm and warm and focussed and release all my happy hormones so I perform optimally? It seems I can! How about that?


Up on the mountain

So, after that successful weekend in Kaatsheuvel with Bart and Tjally and the lovely group, I signed up to go on a week-long expedition to Poland in February of 2019, where I walked up the Snezka mountain in shorts in the snow. I really went outside of my comfort zone and I was be able to go even deeper into myself to find more of my inner me. In Kaatsheuvel I'd peeled off a few layers and I felt so at ease in my own body and mind. I really learnt how to feel connected with my own self. The snow expedition and ice baths in Poland launched me into an even deeper journey.

You can do anything you put your mind to

The biggest lesson for me up until today is that, with the WHM, I am able to do anything I can put my mind to. The biggest obstacle for succes, health, happiness, strength in my life has been me and me alone. I have learned to let that obstacle go. I have learned that I am strong, wise, and armed with a very amazing tool: my own body. I have never felt so much like me as I do today. I and wish that everyone on earth can experience the same feeling, because it's indescribable.

Below are some pics of the WHM weekend at Isimila with trainer Bart Dankers. You can follow him on Facebook or on his website.

Breathing exercise before going in the cold water with trainer bart dankers from isimila at kaatsheuvel photographers coach

Breathing exercise before going in the cold water with trainer Bart Dankers


Feeling happy and centered in the cold water at the whm workshop weekend with isimila at kaatsheuvel photographers coach

Feeling happy and centered in the cold water at the WHM workshop weekend with Isimila at Kaatsheuvel


Cold not at all we felt great and warm and jumped for joy photographers coach whm at isimila kaatsheuvel

Cold? Not at all! We felt great and warm and jumped for joy!


Thumbs up for the ice batch number two at the isimila training center in kaatsheuvel photographers coach

Thumbs up for the ice batch number two at the Isimila training center in Kaatsheuvel


Warming up over a wonderful lunch made by Tjally Dankers at Isimila Kaatsheuvel

Warming up over a wonderful lunch made by Tjally Dankers at Isimila Kaatsheuvel


Here is the video with one of the breathing exercises Wim Hof did with Lewis Howes:


Here is the video of our Poland Expedition, filmed and edited by Dominik Sobolewski:


I hope you liked this post.

Take care, xo Yvonne


UPDATE: February 2019 - The Wim Hof Poland Expedition

Sooooo, when I wrote this article, time just flew by and I was on a plane to Poland!

I overcame a huge obstacle. I climbed the Snezka Mountain in the Czech Republic in my shorts and top with my wonderful tribe at the Wim Hof Transformation Experience.

❤️ A personal, mental, physical challenge that has made me grow in ways I can only start to grasp slowly.

❤️ It was tough, as I faced loads of pelvic instability and pain. I certainly wasn’t the fittest but my mind was set on reaching the top. I certainly wasn’t the quickest but the Tribe stuck together. I had to overcome my adversity to accepting help from others. But by doing so, I was able to reach the top of the mountain.

❤️ The challenge was bigger than myself and only with the support of the Tribe was I able to make it to my goal. A true lesson and a valuable one. Overcoming my resistance and sharing with others helped me reach my goal. I’m now convinced that I’m unstoppable!

❤️ And I’m looking forward what this new achievement will bring me in my life as a human being and as an entrepreneur. And I’m dreaming of a new adventure already!

❤️ Have you ever done something to overcome yourself? To get out of your comfort zone? How did it help you? What did you learn?

❤️ If you ever want to participate in one of the @iceman_hof experiences I can set you up with a 25% discount voucher. So please let me know by email or. Let’s keep each other growing and inspired! 🗻💪🏻

Yvonne van Dalen in Polen eerste bergwandeling van Wim Hof Transformational Experience

First "test" mountain hike in Poland. This was just before the top!


The circle breathing in the ice cold waterfall at Przesieka.


Finally made it! The wind was blowing fiercely on top of Mount Snezka in Poland!


Wim Hof Mount Snezka Yvonne van Dalen

Me with "my" Tribe of men on the top of Mount Snezka in Poland


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Use Cold Exposure Therapy to Keep Your Health & Mindset at Top Level Wim Hof Pin

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My name is Yvonne van Dalen and I work as photographers coach. I can help you streamline your business, upgrade your productivity and get you to the important issues of running a business.

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