Ayahuasca and the Ice Man

Nov 17, 2016

Building a company requires taking the time to feed your brain creatively. 

Last week, I found the best creative food in two sessions at Summit at Sea, a gathering of a few thousand mostly Millennials on a giant cruise ship. (I know. Just writing that sentence made me wince a bit. But before you judge, read on!) 

Wim Hof, the “Ice Man,” is known for busting over 20 world records for things like running marathons in the arctic circle wearing only shorts.

He told us his secret: primal breathing. Wim advises taking 20 minutes at the start of each day, deeply inhaling until your lungs are full and exhaling completely until you feel beyond light-headed for a few minutes, and then holding your breath for 1-2 minutes in between cycles. We did this in a group session and many of us could hold our breath for two minutes after a six-minute stint. 

Apparently this kind of deep breathing prepares your brain to have better control of your autonomic nervous system, which regulates your temperature, among other things. 

Hof’s session gave me a euphoric feeling for a few hours. I'm doing this breath work every morning.

After my visit with the Ice Man, I heard from Graham Hancock, a British writer, and Carmen Vicente, an Ecuadorian shaman, on Ayahuasca, a brew made from two Amazonian plants that contains DMT, a molecule that stimulates the pineal gland and creates hallucinogenic dream-states. (For more, read this book).

Many pre-Columbian cultures use Ayahuasca to heal from trauma, connect with the divine, and seek answers to life’s biggest questions. Hancock joked that there would be no more war if politicians had to attend monthly ayahuasca ceremonies.

He and Vicente took turns sharing the power of plant medicine and the nature of consciousness, and I kept thinking: we know so little about the plant species that go extinct every day.

I walked off that boat feeling fuller. If you’re considering attending a Summit event, check out their lineup here


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