Breathing, Cold Exposure, and Mindfulness with Níall Ó Murchú
Níall Ó Murchú is a wellness expert with over 20 years of experience. He teaches people all over the world how to use breathing, the cold, and nature to feel calm, reduce stress, improve their health, and much more.
Níall also works with clients around the world to improve the wellness of their customers and staff, using scientifically proven methods to enhance their health and happiness.
He is a certified Level 3 Wim Hof Method instructor – the highest level of expertise one can attain – and a former international athlete. His previous book, The Blissful Breath, helped readers harness the power of their breath to heal their bodies and minds with just 10 minutes of practice a day.
His new book, The Power of Cold: How to Embrace the Cold and Change Your Life, explores how we can use the cold to release tension and anxiety, deal with everyday pressures such as stress, grief, and fear, and ultimately make us whole again.
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02:53 When did embracing nature and the cold become a part of Níall’s life?
- He was brought up going to the beach at Portmarnock, Ireland
- It’s a big expanse of beach and he learnt to appreciate nature
- Cold water forces you to respect it
05:09 Learning to appreciate cold water
- The interconnection of the breath and cold
- Regulating your breath has a big impact
- Niall started looking for ways to de-stress, and he found cold water immersion and breathing was a great release
- Niall and his family were deeply impacted by a death in the family, and they were looking for a way to get out of the hole they found themselves in
- They came across Wim Hof’s course
- Being in cold water stops you from thinking about things
- He decided to train as a certified Wim Hof Method instructor
13:21 Learning how to breathe and meditate
- Went to Shifu Shi Yanzi (a Buddhist fighting monk of the Shaolin Temple in China) to learn how to fight – instead,d he learnt how to breathe and meditate
15:58 Wim Hof: his methods and who he is
- He is an incredible, charismatic character
- It’s about listening to the body and surrendering to the cold
- Training to become a Wim Hof instructor was a very deep experience for Niall
24:34 Some of the scientific benefits of cold water exposure
- Using the breath to find the calm in the fight or flight
- Deep changes take place in the nervous system
- The body can restore itself despite the cold exposure around it
- Cold water temperature is identified by Professor Susanna Søberg, PhD as when we feel cold, as opposed to what’s on the thermometer
- We feel the cold more when it is damp
- It balances the hormones by bringing us back to homeostasis – balance – from being less acidic and more alkaline
- It is great for treating inflammation
- Being in the cold for too long can cause excess stress
- The body learns to adapt, so expose yourself to cold water over time
- “We can never fight the cold, we can only surrender to it”
35:17 The benefits of surrendering to the cold
- There is a path down into the cold – no matter what it is, e.g. cold shower, cold weather, etc.
- The path begins with chaos and no control
- It’s about harnessing the calm amidst the storm
39:10 What does cold water exposure do at a neurological or mental level?
- We need to activate our vagus nerve through long, slow breathing
- Focus on the long exhale then the body starts to restore itself
- Mentally, it proves to yourself that you are resilient
- You learn to find comfort in discomfort
49:43 How cold water exposure is good for curing as well as prevention
- It reduces inflammation, and stress and boosts your immune system
- It improves your pain management
- It helps you feel more in control of your body
56:57 When is a good age to introduce younger children to the cold?
- If children want to run around in the park without a coat, let them
- Introduce to them that cold water can be a part of their experience
- Never push or force them
- Allow teenagers to explore
59:53 How to shift your attention to your breath
- Our breathing reflects how we feel, but how we breathe affects how we feel
- Spend ten minutes every day to just listen to your breath
- The more we bring our attention to our breath,they more we can breathe properly