Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cold Showers: Building Strength in Challenging Times

Well, the picture tells you how it feels when you first get into a cold shower in the morning.

Recently, I have been seeking ways to strengthen my inner self while going through some life challenges. It was recommended to me that by choosing to consciously confront the cold / discomfort it would strengthen my mind and nervous system.

I was certainly intrigued.

On the first day of this cold shower quest, I sat and procrastinated, thinking, "I can't do this...I don't want to do this....this is ridiculous".

And then I went for it.

As the cold water hit my body, my mind was full with the thought "I HATE THIS!!!!!" Then, my breathing took on a life of it's own - I began to gasp for air, pant like a dog, neigh like a horse and hiss like a cat.  As I vigorously massaged my body all over, I began to get used to it. After 3 or 5 minutes, my body no longer felt cold.  I got out of the shower and I felt amazing - clear headed, energized and a sense of victory.

I have been jumping into cold showers in the morning now for almost 2 weeks. And I have to say, it is getting easier. I feel more grounded and strong.

I have also noticed an overall increase in the elasticity and softness of my skin. I was starting to form grooves/circles under my eyes which I chalked up to aging and they seem to be filling in after just two weeks. I feel clear and focused afterwards and ready to take on any challenge the day might bring.

Hydrotherapies have been around for centuries. The cold shower, known as Ishnaan in Eastern traditions, is a simple yet revitalizing yoga technique.

Cold showers cause the blood which has been stored deep within the internal organs and glands to rush to the surface of your body. This flushing of the organs is detoxifying and improves circulation in general. Your breath automatically deepens as you gasp from the cold, cleansing the lungs.

The other interesting benefit I noticed is a lack of wanting sweets - not something I have encountered before. During the holidays (and a lot of my life!) I seemed to be in a rhythm of having something sweet every day.  It struck me that  I hadn't really thought about chocolate or sugar in about a week and a half - it was completely off my radar.

Cold showers:

Tone the skin and muscles
Flush the internal organs
Clean the circulatory system
Tone and energize the glands
Strengthen the nervous system
Prevent the body from developing extra fat
Make you strong psychologically
Increase in Glutathione (a powerful antioxidant)

To Take a Cold Shower:

1.   Give a quick oil (almond oil, sesame oil, etc.)  massage to the whole body. You won't feel oily after as the water helps the skin absorb the oil.
2.  Jump in the cold shower while rubbing all the parts of your body vigorously.  Don't forget your face, underarms and soles of the feet.  No need to wet your head.
3.  Stay in 3-5 minutes or until you don't feel cold anymore
4.  Dry off with a towel.
5. Start your day feeling marvelous!

Apparently, women should not take a cold shower when menstruating along with people with certain heart or thyroid conditions. Your doctor would be the best person to seek advice from on this topic if there is any doubt.

Showers should be cold. Cold showers preserve a woman as a woman; they correct imbalanced menstruation, prevent early menopause, skin problems and they help her to keep her glow."
-Yogi Bhajan