Teacher and Studio Manager of Power Living Neutral Bay, Krista Orbe, shares her first experience of taking an icy plunge facilitated by Kade Fallins
I go straight in and the icy water rises all the way up to my neck and shoulders. There’s just no way I could’ve done this gradually.
Kade is next to me, reminding me to breathe, and assuring me that on the other side of this hurdle is a breakthrough. And he’s right.
Before taking the plunge, I’d already decided on one thing. As insignificant as it may sound to some, this decision was a biggy for me. I’d decided that “I’m so cold,” was not going to come out of my mouth at any point. I wasn’t even going to entertain the sentiment.
Why would that be such a big deal? Put it this way, if my family were to have a coat of arms, “I’m so cold” would probably be inscribed along its crest. Without a doubt, it’s the most repeated phrase amongst my kin. And it’s a phrase that I’ve personally used to shape myself into some pretty self-limiting thought patterns.
“I’m so cold,” we’d recite through lips that were tightened by clenched jaws, whilst wrapping wool cardigans tighter around our shivering bodies, shuffling from the house to the car, or basically when doing anything from the months of November through to April in our Northern Hemisphere location.
Acute Aversion to the Cold (AAC) is what I coined it as. My self-diagnosis of AAC even underpinned my move to the other side of the world to try and cure/run from its arresting effects. These effects leave me with very little motivation to do enjoyable things outdoors in the colder months.
So when my neighbour Kade Fallins invited me to pop round for a dip in his ice bath, I was somewhat surprised to hear myself reply, “Yes.” Deep down, I knew this AAC had to go. Like any self-limiting belief, it was keeping me from enjoying things that I love to their fullest, even when the temperatures are low – the ocean, nature walks, and camping, as well as the simpler things such as walking to my car or cooking and pottering around at home – all tainted by that negative affirmation of “I’m soooo cold!”
As a Breathwork and Resilience Trainer, Kade’s got a reputation for crafting spaces for people to step out of their comfort zones and into a more expanded version of their reality. As a yoga teacher, I talk that talk, and so now, well… you know how the rest of the saying goes.
After Kade uses his fist to break up a shard of ice floating in the jumbo freezer he’s got on his balcony, he laughs about how there was nearly a full crust formation over the entire surface the other day. I smile. Kind of.
The time comes and I slide into the jumbo freezer keeping only my head above the arctic water.
This, I tell myself, is where I get to put all that yoga practice to work. My breathing, a single point of focus for my eyes (drishti), and leaning into my relationship with the discomfort rather than allowing the aversion to rise up and swallow me whole. This is the time to create as much space as possible between the situation and my reaction to the situation.
Breath. Drishti. Stay.
Every millimetre of my skin is coming into full contact with my aversion. Kade coaches me, completely aligned with where I’m at and helping me to see that not only can I do this, I am doing it. And I stay. For much longer than I thought I would. In fact, I’ve even been back to Kade’s balcony for more icy dips.
Afterwards, I feel amazing. I cruise through my day with a keen sense of clarity, ticking off the daily tasks and getting stuck into some creative projects with vigour. Most importantly, I’ve felt a shift in my perspective around the cold. I was able to face it and I want that to remain in the foreground of my consciousness this upcoming winter. I feel a resolve to discontinue the “I’m so cold” affirmation and just get on with it.
Friends that I’ve spoken to who have worked with Kade tell me about their experiences of increasing their energy levels and focus while decreasing their stress levels as well. Not in small ways though. In huge, life-shiting ways. The biohackers out there also love this stuff for mind, body, mood and immune system enhancement.
My cold water immersions have been about breaking through a pattern that was limiting my experiences and keeping me small because life has got a whole lot to offer through all four seasons, not just Spring and Summer.
That, for me, is a biggy.
Beginning February 15, join us for Invigorate: 30 days of yoga and cold water immersions, four phenomenal workshops by our senior facilitating team and a catered ice bath plunge event with Kade Fallins to finish it all off.
For more information, talk to us at the studio or find more information here.
Written by Krista Orbe
Teacher and Studio Manager of Power Living Neutral Bay