Of all Wim’s stunts, it was one in which he almost lost his life that he says taught him the most. Stood on a frozen lake in Pello, Finland, just miles from the Arctic Circle, his task was to swim 180 feet under the ice, down one hole and out of the other. You can watch the eventual successful attempt on YouTube: there’s Wim, blue-eyed and thick-bearded, a man wearing nothing but swimming trunks, surrounded by a film crew in sensible thick coats. A few breathing exercises and in he goes, launching into an elegant breaststroke under the ice before emerging out of the other end. But the first time he tried, he forgot something.
“I lost track of the way because I had no goggles on,” he says. Wim’s eyes began to freeze over until, trapped beneath the frozen lake, he went blind. “But you know what? Because I did the breathing so thoroughly before going in the ice, I still had the right chemistry in my body, even though I didn’t have any oxygen anymore,” he says. “I never felt the agony of drowning. I realized in that moment I had conquered the fear of death. And then a diver took me back by my ankles!” The next day, Wim returned with protection for his eyes and set a new World Record.
Wim swimming in icy waters
“No one had been able to do this before,” Wim explains. “So these breathing techniques, though very simple, go deep.” His belief is that, far from just enabling you to take a dip in a frozen lake, his form of meditation can help fight illness and even depression. “I am changing books in universities all over the world,” he says. “And I have a mission: to free this world of disease and unnecessary pain.”
Before that though, there’s time for at least one more stunt. “You know, the daredevil is in my blood,” he laughs. “So I’m going to climb Kilimanjaro in 24 hours in my shorts. And I’m going to take people like David Beckham and Jim Carrey with me. We’re in talks to make it happen right now!”
You’d be a fool to bet against him.
Wim warming up through t’ai chi
The Iceman’s three tips for applying his method to everyday life.
Breath consciously and deeper. This will help you maintain the right alkalinity in the body.
Every day, after your hot shower, take a cold one for one minute. The whole vascular system will be stimulated. A cold shower a day keeps the doctor away!
Believe you are the master of your own mood and emotions. That’s the natural state of our being: happy, strong and healthy.