I just got out of the bath. It was just under ten degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit). The towel rolled away in the wind, and shortly afterward, the slippers rolled away. On the other hand, the sun turned up for a while, and I enjoyed the instant warmth against the face despite the wind’s sharp whining around my forehead. Bathing outdoors gives me a special feeling. I have often wondered how I can so immensely enjoy being soaked by big waters. Before I describe how I enjoy cold baths, I want to tell you one of the many experiences I have that have made me trust the process initiated by Conscious Breathing.
Breathing as a miracle when I fell among thorn bushes and nettles
One wonderful summer’s day, I was out cleaning in an old garden wearing shorts and a t-shirt. My foot got stuck in a root, and I fell backwards straight into a jungle of blackberry thicket that scratched my bare body parts on the way down to landing in a pile of nettles. From experience, I knew what I had to look forward to: barbs and nerve poison would soon cause the skin to swell into white, stinging lumps.
The more I tried to get my foot loose, the worse the thorns stung me in the arms and legs, and the nettles burned me. I felt powerless where I lay longing for a miracle. Then I came to think, “Breathe out slowly. It gives the body strength.” However, I had no greater confidence in that process in this particular predicament, but in the absence of other options, I pushed myself.
I exhaled properly, let in fresh air through my nose and exhaled slowly again. I focused on relaxing. My brain calmed down, and suddenly I figured out how to roll and twist myself diagonally upwards by getting one hand down into ground with no thorns and forcing myself up while exhaling and then pry loose the foot. I felt like the ruler of the world when I got back on my feet!
The strangest thing was not really that I got loose but what happened next—or more correctly, did not happen. A couple of hours later, it surprised me that I only had a few traces left of the wounds, only a few small white dots, and no pain at all! I would like an expert to explain this phenomenon. I do not have enough knowledge myself, but I now know that conscious and calm breathing creates conditions to relieve pain, think clearly and heal quickly. That is good enough for me! (And of course I have certainly heard it during the extensive lessons on Conscious Breathing, but I am not able to explain it.)
What I do to enjoy when having a cold bath
Without further digression, you will now get to know how I have a cold bath… and enjoy it.
- I simply leave what I am doing for the moment, change into a swimsuit and go down to the beach.
- On the way down to the water, I breathe slowly through my nose and brace up for a few seconds in the present with particular focus on slow exhalation. For me, it is best to imagine the breaths through my body.
- And then I walk out into the water, throw myself backwards while exhaling (my back is less sensitive than my stomach) and kick my legs about so the water splashes wildly.
No matter how cold it is, I focus on the exhalation, the relaxation and the present. In every step, in every stroke. This calms me down and creates pleasure. In the past, I always jogged to get warm before jumping in. Some have access to a sauna but not I, nor do I do any breathing exercises or visualize heat. No, I just breathe out slowly, am in the present, and enjoy it.
One day, however, it did not work out as planned, but it was “bathing Wednesday,” so I could just as well get it done. I jumped out of the car and into my bathing suit, went down to the pier and reacted to how unusually cold and frosty the water was! I went down into something that must have been much colder than ice water. I knew it, because I had bathed in such water before—but this was disgusting. Chattering, I pushed out a slow exhalation, but it never got really good.
I got out of the water and started again. Down into the cold water, rely on the breaths, breathe out slowly. No, it was totally impossible, despite using my breathing technique. In the past, even such a dip would have fulfilled its function, because then I thought it was enough for me that cold baths gave warm flushes afterwards when the bloodstream changed diameter and the body gave new priorities to the blood flow. But now I have another purpose. I want to feel pleasure now—not later.
It took a while before I realized what had gone wrong: This day, I had a lot to do, and my thoughts were in a different place than my body. Technology and skill are little help if body and mind are not connected! The simple things are the big ones, and once you have experienced that, you can change a feeling and the world opens its arms. I am so happy for Conscious Breathing because it always gives me new chances to guide myself to the feelings I actually want.
With this great joy and these experiences, I welcome you who would like some support and pepping up to my Facebook group Breathing Boost for a small daily boost in the right direction.
With great gratitude, Madeleine Blomberg, Bergkvara.