In this article you will learn why creating the ability and habit of regular cold showers will make you a better, happier, more joyous person with a stronger will and a clearer more focused mind, healthier, resilient body and calmer attitude. 

How many people do you know who use regular cold showers to feel amazing within their skin? Probably not many… and the question is WHY? It’s a super simple, easy and quick action with loads of benefits - but it’s also a thing that seems crazy and people perceive it as the most uncomfortable thing one could do (ever!). In fact, someone just told me recently - half jokingly, half seriously: „Couldn’t I just do a 40km hike through the mountains instead?“ 

Shortly put: cold showers = super simple - but super tough for the mind to say yes to. Those are the things that work miracles when done regularly.

Read on to learn about the benefits, the obstacles and the exact steps how to learn it properly - all coupled with a pinch of humor as this subject has the potential to make you smile all day.

Let’s start with the effects and benefits - and there are plenty (short and long term)

I see two sets of benefits that you get from cold showers - the benefits when starting this new habit and the long-term benefits.

The first set of benefits comes from the learning process, where you slowly convince yourself to do it and struggle with it for a while.

  • You strengthen your will
  • You get used to leaving your comfort zone (with a very immediate positive feedback loop)
  • You get used to feeling amazing, alive and full of energy with just 2 minutes of discomfort
  • You learn to focus on your breath under stress and keeping it calm
  • You learn to differentiate between discomfort and pain
  • You realize that that discomfort of getting into the shower and the „pain“ you feel when finally having conviced yourself to direct the shower onto your body is at least 90% produced in your head#

So practically just engaging in this process for 3 weeks and then never doing it again can make your life a lot better!

But wait! Then there is the the second set of benefits that come from doing cold showers regularly: 

  • You overcome your urge to stay cosy and comfortable on a daily basis and prime your willpower for any given day
  • You wash off old energies, charges and reset your mood
  • You can actually lower body fat as your brown adipose tissue, which is primarily found around your collar bones, sternum, neck, and upper back gets activated. It is a unique kind of fat that can generate heat by burning the regular white fat (adipose tissue) found on a your stomach, butt, hips, and legs.
  • You increase beneficial hormone levels
  • You might even improve sexual performance and fertility
  • You will activate a hormone called Adinopectin which breaks down fat and shuttles glucose into muscles (which can lower blood sugar). This not only has an anabolic, muscle repair effect, but can also enhance recovery.
  • It will support healthy sugar metabolism, which will help cut food cravings
  • It will improve adrenal function and fix certain thyroid issues
  • It will enhance immune function
  • It will improve deep sleep quality, increase pain tolerance and reduce inflammation

How to do Cold showers (step-by-step)

Reading through list of benefits you might think:

„Wow, this doesn’t sound too bad. This is really quite simple!“

And it is! It’s really just ‚do it and be done with it - takes just 2 minutes‘.

And it’s not even extra time as you would have washed yourself anyway, right?

So here is your new favorite habit step-by-step:

  1. Get naked.
  2. Step into the shower.
  3. Open the water with the fossid turned all the way to cold and have the water pressure dialed in just right, not too strong and not too soft, not too dispersed and not too sprinkled widely.
  4. Put it first just below your navel for 10 seconds, then go to feet and up the legs, one at a time, then right and left arm and finally cover your back and chest with this beautiful cold water.
  5. Breathe calmly and keep your root bandha/pelvic floor engaged (just to focus on something else but the cold. Keep calm - keep breathing :)
  6. After at least one minute (later you can increase), stop the water and dry yourself. Dress apropriately, even if you feel warmed up from the inside (your body starts to produce heat immediately to deal with the outside cold).
  7. Enjoy the excitment and joy and share your smile with as many people as possible.

Unfortunately, the first couple of times will be different as in: not as smoothe as described here. That’s why I made a second list to help you with some tips to get over this first couple of days.

How the first 21 times of cold showers will most likely look like (one shaky, hesitant step after another) - and my tips on how to still make it through

  1. As you get closer to your bathroom - half exited, half terrified - your mind will start giving you reasons not to do it, to postpone and start tomorrow, telling you that - despite its undebatable benefits in general - it’s just not for YOU. Don’t linger - don't hesitate! Just focus on the bathtub and keep a calm breath. 
  2. As you are getting naked, your mind will tell you that you are already cold and there is no way you will shower with cold water. Again, just keep going, breathing calmly, keeping your spine up and a subtle smile on your lips.
  3. Just as ripping the bandaid off is easier when done quickly, just open the water and put it on your legs or lower belly. The worst time is the time spend between stepping into the shower and actually being covered in water. It’s exactly that time that makes it feel like a never ending torture. Interestingly, this torture is all about the expected feeling of discomfort from the cold, and you are creating it all by yourself. I would even go so far to say that the habit of cold showers becomes easy once you skip this part of mental agony and just get wet fast! 
  4. And just to stress and continue my previous point, that there is a mental block to put cold water on you. There is this moment where legs and arms have been touched by cold water and your mind will tell you: „You have done enough, just stop no! Get out!“ or „You deserve it - you can turn the warm water on now!“ „Resist!“ Is what I say to this. Just finish the whole upper body, then get out. You will feel not half as good if you stop half way through or get all cosy under warm water. This warm extended shower you can still do at night if you want to.

At all times keep breathing and actively relax. Surrender to the moment with all its sensations. 

Even with all this internal struggle, you will still feel joy and excitment after each shower from the very first one. Share your smile with as many people as possible and walk upright and confident as you just saved the world (… at least that is how it might feel ;) )

But wait, why are we even talking about cold showers. We are yogis!

What do cold showers have to do with yoga, anyway?

Good question! Here is my take on it:

  1. Yoga is about moving beyond the fluctuations of the mind. With cold showers, you overcome your mind, learning to act in spite of the mind-chatter telling you that it’s uncomfortable. So you learn how to move beyond the fluctuations of the mind... so it's a perfect yoga practice.
  2. You balance your metabolism, getting rid of sugar spikes and lows. This creates a calmer mind as the constant ups and downs in sugar create thoughts of unease and graving.
  3. Less inflamation, better sleep and general well-being are all the foundation to stay aware and focused on the present moment, no matter what the day will bring you. Respectively, if your body is full of aches and pains, you feel low and don't sleep well, you are already bothered enough and won't be able to cultivate awareness in your daily affairs.
  4. You build a strong resistant body that acts at your will which helps to stay conscious and aware even in situtations where your body is under deress.
  5. On a more subtle level, over night you build up an electromagnetic field that is based on all the processing your mind and body did while you slept. Taking a cold shower in the morning neutralizes this field and lets you start the day on a clean slate.
  6. If you want to practice yoga in the morning but feel tired, the cold shower helps you to wake up. In this way the cold shower supports your other yogic practices. 

You see, Cold showers are a perfect yoga practice - in itself and by supporting your other yoga practices.

The list could also go on but by continuing reading this article you actually might give yourself a reason not to jump into the shower and turn on the cold water. Therefore, go now and brighten up your day! :)

And always remember the rhyme: If you feel low - just dip yourself into cold H2O!

Want to learn to use your breath to create more calm, release stress & support your health?

Join us at GaiaYoga - 1 day Intro-to-pranayama-workshop and 4 weeks of follow up to get you started

You also have the option to keep learning in 2 follow-up workshops in April and July.

Click here to learn about the Pranayama-Course. It includes 3 One-Day-Workshops (plus a 4th one just for teachers). You can book them individually. After each workshop, you can develop your practice at home and come in once a week, so we can check your practice and give you personal guidance. Apply by writing to tom@gaia-yoga.com

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If you have any questions, write us an email or join us at GaiaYoga for one of our classes. We love to answer your questions in person at the shala.

Photo by Lubomirkin on Unsplash


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