BREATHING techniques and a mind-over-matter attitude may help Alan Phillips endure subzero temperatures as he climbs to the summit of a snow covered mountain dressed only in a pair of shorts.
But only time will tell if it is enough to protect the 58-year-old from a potentially life-threatening case of shrinkage.
The gardener from Terrigal flew out for Poland on Monday ahead tackling Mount Snezka on the border of the Czech Republic.
The brass monkey challenge of climbing a mountain in just a pair of shorts and hiking boots is the culmination of a fascination with mindfulness and cold exposure which began when he stumbled across a podcast on Dutch daredevil Wim Hoff.
Dubbed `the Iceman’ by his millions of followers, Hoff developed a wellness “method” of breathing exercises, cold exposure and focus, which he believes can unlock the mind and body’s primal ability to endure extremes and heal itself.
Hoff holds 26 world records for enduring extreme colds such as completing a marathon inside the Arctic Circle and being immersed in an ice bath for an hour and 44 minutes.
“The Wim Hoff Method is based on three pillars: a learned breathing technique, cold exposure, and cultivating a mindset — mind-over-matter — to train the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems, and optimise energy flow,” Mr Phillips said.
“To be honest the Dutchman sounds a little crazy at first. He is so passionate about what he is doing and believes that he can save the world from a drug and health epidemic.”
After hearing Hoff on the podcast, Mr Phillips began experimenting with the breathing techniques and cold exposure by swimming in his pool in the middle of winter.
“It’s such a simple technique, with big promises that I was strongly drawn to it, hoping that it could help me to age more gracefully,” Mr Phillips said.
He attended a seminar with Hoff when he came to Sydney in August and has been preparing himself for the mountain climb challenge ever since by emerging himself in ice baths for up to 15 minutes and doing Hoff’s daily exercise program of yoga breathing exercises.
“As you gradually expose yourself to more and more cold it is very gratifying to achieve results that previously you would have thought impossible,” he said.
“To successfully ascend Mount Snezka in sub zero temperatures, in just shorts, in the snow, controlling my body through mind application will be amazing. The thought of it, gives me a feeling of strength and that if I can do that what else can I do?”
Mr Phillips hopes to become a Wim Hoff instructor in the future.
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