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  • Writer's pictureBlack Lotus Yoga

Ice Bath, Breath & Yoga

What is all the hype about anyway?

Ice baths have been around for quite some time and it has an abundance of benefits. Athletes do cold immersions to soothe tired muscles from strenuous workouts or trainings and many training rooms have had cold tubs and even cryotherapy chambers installed for their athletes.

The growing popularity has sparked the interest of many, and people are starting to do their own or join groups to experience it for themselves.

What can an ice bath do for you? Here are just a handful of benefits:

  • Soothes sore and aching muscles after a hard workout

  • Helps improve your sleep

  • Boosts your mood

  • Reduces swelling and inflammation

  • Cools your body down

  • Helps with stress management

  • Helps boost your immune system

  • Potentially improves performance

  • Can support weight loss

With all these benefits why not give it a try?

How Do I Prepare For an Ice Bath?

Cold plunging is a unique and challenging feat, but before you step into the bath, prepare yourself mentally and physically.

Getting used to cold showers first can help you understand the primary psychological responses you will experience. When your body is already tuned in to the cold water, you'll get better at managing your reactions.

Here are some ideas for getting ready for that first cold plunging:

Start deep breathing techniques. Alternate breathing with each nostril for 1-2 minutes each to help you relax. Do powerful inhales and exhales through your nose for 1-3 minutes then practice holding on the exhale for up to 2 min. Try 3 rounds starting with breathing hold for 1 min. then inhale hold for 15 seconds, then 1.5 min. up to 2min. or longer if you can... When you are ready, hold your breath on exhale to reduce the shock, and step into the tub.

How Long Do I Stay In an Ice Bath?

The first time you attempt an ice bath you may just take a plunge and get out- it is cold and you have to wrap your mind around it. In a workshop we try to encourage you to stay 1 to 3 min. on your first attempt and then you can start for a few minutes and work your tolerance toward the 10-minute mark. If you start shivering excessively or notice your skin changing color, get out of the ice bath.

How Do I Get the Most Out of My Ice Bath Experience?

Dip your whole body in the tub to get the most out of your ice bath experience. It will expose your body, thyroid, and the back of your neck to the cold water.

Cold plunging will regulate your body temperature and elicit a maximum hormonal response.

Consult your doctor before taking your first ice bath at home especially if you are sensitive to cold or have cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes.

More benefits explained:

The Vagus Nerve

Your cold soak is great for the mind. Coldwater therapy has been shown to stimulate the Vagus nerve which is the biggest factor in making you feel a sense of calm and well-being.

Coldwater therapy has been shown to stimulate the Vagus nerve indirectly by way of the parasympathetic nervous system. By introducing the stressor of icy water, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated which in turn leads to stimulation of the Vagus nerve and the release of feel-good hormones. The two methods have the same end goal of stimulation of the Vagus nerve by distinctly different means.

Bathing in Cold Water May Improve Your Sleep

Getting proper sleep is crucial to your everyday functioning whether recovering from a sport, workout, injury or simply recovering from a normal days’ activities. There is evidence that an ice bath aids in getting quality sleep. This again has to do with the manipulation of the parasympathetic nervous system to aid in training the body to go into a relaxed state.

Fat Loss

Losing fat is a goal for many people. Ice baths assist in this process by the activation of something called brown fat. Exposure to a cold stimulus activates brown fat. The function of brown fat is to assist with breaking down glucose and fat molecules to produce heat, thereby raising metabolism. It is the adaptive response of the human body due to exposure to repeated bouts of cold water that will manifest this benefit.

Ice Baths Make Yor Feel Stronger- Body & Mind

It has been shown that an ice bath may aid strength gains. Sitting in icy water will strengthen your mind as well. Overcoming the resistance in your mind to sit in that ice bath for up to 10 minutes will make you feel empowered, and strengthen your resolve to execute other things in life that you may have been hesitant about.

So, check with your Doctor if you have health issues first, then - Let's GO!

Start with the breathing daily and a cold shower for 1 min. working our way up to 2 or 3 min. Then try an ice bath or workshop to prepare you for an unforgettable experince in the cold.

Black Lotus will be holding these very special workshops on the 25 June and 30 July- let's get stronger together!

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