Interview Series - The Wim Hof Method with Pete Reyes
In its first appearance is a new Interview Blog Series where I speak with health and wellness practitioners to hear more about their stories and the wonderful services that are available to us. I hope you enjoy this interview with Pete Reyes of Ignite Sadhana about the Wim Hof Method Workshop I attended.
This will be the first of many future interviews. My hope is that you gain a better understanding of the types of services that can help not only with physical manifestations in our body but also the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects to gain clarity and better access to the tools that will ultimately support you in being the most authentic version of yourself.
Ryan: Tell me about yourself and how you got started teaching workshops and hosting retreats?
Pete: When I think about it, it’s been a relatively short time since I began my journey as an instructor. It truly feels like I'm just along for the ride as the universe propels me toward a goal I haven’t yet figured out.
More specifically, I encountered Scott Carney’s book What Doesn’t Kill Us (given to me by my mom), and some curious part of myself, a part in need of something real, needed to experience this firsthand. So I booked a trip to Poland, the original headquarters of Wim’s training program. On a cold, windy mountain in my shorts is where I found what I was looking for. This thing I found wasn’t just a philosophy, but a visceral, somatic experience that connected me to a deep part of the body. From there, I dove into a number of yoga based practices and then doubled back to teach Wim Hof Method.
Initially, no one knew what this method was and most yoga studios were looking at us like we were crazy when we explained we planned on bringing big tubs of ice to their studio. But Wim started popping up in the media and the method started shifting into people’s consciousness. Studios began contacting us for workshops and enthusiasm for the method has been spreading ever since.
R: What pulled you to first try the Wim Hof Method over other breath work and mindset practices?
P: It was the method that found me. I'm really not sure what I was looking for at the time but I know I was searching.
R: Since you have had the opportunity to build it into your own practice - what has the method helped you with?
P: For me personally, I’d say focus and vitality. While a lot of people come to this method battling chronic pain or maybe depression, I needed a fire to drive my life. I believe it gave direction and clarity.
R: I had the pleasure of experiencing the WHM Workshop with you and it was very powerful for myself and others - what is it that seems to make participants have such a strong experience?
P: I think it’s a combination of things we are currently lacking in the modern human experience. The mind-body-spiritual connection experienced during the breathing and ice bath is something we truly lack. In a world geared toward ever increasing measures of comfort, we are never in the position to really experience our bodies in a healthy and intense way unless we seek it out. So students experience themselves in a new way; they go inward in an age of seeking happiness in the external. The other thing I believe makes this experience so gratifying is the community. In difficult situations, we humans oftentimes look to each other for cues and understanding. As the body registers the extreme cold as an extreme stressor, we find ourselves supported by the community cheering us on, we look to someone who might be guiding us through the difficult experience, and in the end, we become agents of navigating ourselves through something difficult. Paired with the communal energy shared during the breathwork, participants feel connected and empowered. It goes without saying that these mechanisms of connection have been lacking the past 2 years.
R: What have you personally witnessed the breath work and cold exposure helping people with?
P: It ranges all over the spectrum. Some people are dealing with deep trauma, some lack connection with their body and confidence that goes along with that connection, and some are dealing with chronic pain (to name a few), but in the end, we’re all grappling with an experience that doesn’t completely fit our physiological make-up. That connection seems to be a remedy for a wide range of modern ailments.
R: As breath work and cold plunges have gained both public and scientific credibility - What do you see developing in the future of our world’s health and wellness space?
P: By necessity, preventative forms of health and wellness will continue to become more valuable. As we continue to double down on the unsustainable habits of the 20th century and go deeper into the mechanism of control, these “alternate” forms of living become more necessary to counteract the modern human experience.
R: You have hosted a number of workshops and retreats, what keeps you coming back for more?
P: I think it's connection. The same feeling of community that happens amongst the students is something we feel while facilitating. That really keeps us invigorated and firmly rooted in a purpose. At the end of the day, we realized we were lucky enough to find some special life tools and it’s extremely rewarding to share these with as many people as possible.
R: What are a few things that people who get the chance to work with you may not know about you? - Any hidden talents or hobbies that you have? And Why?
P: I'm a big reader. I really love diving deep into topics and books revolving around history, anthropology, philosophy, social sciences and, of course, spirituality. I majored in history in college and minored in anthropology. Two degrees that they say are probably a waste of money, but I’m passionate and still interested in both!
R: I for one will gladly take another opportunity to see you and Jason at another event, but where do people learn more about you and the events you host?
P: Best place to keep up with our events is our IG page: @ignitesadhana and our website. We are constantly adding new workshops as we schedule them and we typically schedule our retreats at least 6 months in advance. At the moment we have a retreat scheduled in December in Maine and we’re in the process of putting together a Yellowstone retreat for October. These retreats are where we’re really able to dive deep in the Wim Hof Method, Kundalini yoga and some other fun modalities we offer.