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Breathe with Georgie - Ice Diving and Training on my period

Georgie Lawlor
Georgie Lawlor
Ice Diving and Training on my period ❄️🫁

The only girl in the group and on my period, I went Ice diving....
The average temperature in Helsinki, Finland ranges from around 2 degrees to -4…on a good day. But when I saw fellow breathwork coach, Leigh Ewin, free diving under the ice, I instantly messaged him asking how I could join and explore the world of COLD.
He instantly responded telling me he was hosting an ice diving weekend in a couple of weeks just outside of what’s known as the safest city in the world, Helsinki in the gorgeous nordic wonderland of Finland. I was sold and instantly signed up and booked my flights, ready to leap into unknown territory. 2022, for me, is about showing myself and other women what my body can really do when we allow ourselves to get comfortable with the uncomfortable -this seemed like a great way to dive on in! (literally)
So the day came around and it was time to head today uno of Ice school. Now, rewinding to the day before when I went on a solo jolly around the beautifully icy city, finding stunning plant shops with possibly the best coffee and pastries I’ve ever tasted and yes, it was very clean and I felt very safe EXCEPT…I have never felt so present in my entire life because the whole of the city is one enormous ice rink! I was two seconds from falling arse over tit every five seconds, and that I did - I have an enormous bruise to prove it.
Anyhow, ICE SCHOOL DAY ONE consisted of some serious knowledge on how our physiology is affected by the cold…here’s what I learnt:
  • Our metabolism increases by 350% in the extreme cold!!
  • Shivering is a good thing: The capillaries in the skin constrict to reduce the blood flow and the body will shiver to generate heat. In this case, the surface temperature is allowed to drop but the constriction of the blood vessels maintains the core temperature by reducing the amount of cold blood coming back from the peripheral parts of the body.
  • Cold exposure increases white blood cell production, which can significantly impact your immunity.
  • It’s so much colder in your mind than it is in reality. As soon as I was out, despite being stood in the snow in a bikini and rash vest, I could’ve been in the Caribbean I was so warm!
  • The body is so intelligent when it comes to circulation. We were told to expect numb fingers and toes BECAUSE blood flow is prioritised to vital organs. In other words, my body was working PERFECTLY.
  • As your pain threshold is a little lower during your period, I FELT EVERYTHING. But the power of breath was all the more apparent by how quickly I was able to regulate my breathing and my period cramps (that I usually experienced) ceased to exist!
Avanto in action
Avanto in action
We then went on to practise some intense Wim Hof style breathing along with some CO2 tables common in the world of freediving apnea (breath-holding). Unsurprisingly, my breath-hold time (1 minute 36 seconds) was a lot shorter than a week or so prior. You’re CO2 sensitivity generally increases just before and sometimes during your period due to the rising of progesterone, a respiratory stimulant, in the build-up to your period and then the depletion of both oestrogen and progesterone during your period. When you hold your breath, CO2 rises in the lungs and the blood, the more sensitive you are to it, the shorter your breath hold time will be and for women, breath-hold times and BOLT scores (Body oxygen level test) can vary throughout the cycle depending on your unique hormonal rhythm.
Post theory, it was time for us to jump into the cold! (literally) I had my first experience of Avanto, a Finnish tradition consisting of a hole in the ice of a frozen body of water, in our case the Baltic Sea, that you lower yourself into and well, chill. The group vibe was a huge help here, everyone was dancing around in their shorts and cheering each other on. First-round we stayed in there for around 30 seconds and on the second go I was in there for about 3 minutes, following Leigh’s instructions to “stay calm and breathe deep” Post dip I strangely didn’t feel cold at all, I was more loving goofing around in the snow in my underwear with my five new Finnish friends. There was a method behind this madness though. Leigh emphasised the importance of regulating our temperature after being exposed to extreme cold. We had to keep moving to allow blood to keep flowing and for our systems to adjust to the temperature shift, all whilst practising those deep Wim Hof breaths we’d practised in the warm* studio we’d just come from.
Overall, it was a brilliant day with intermittent dark chocolate (necessary) and Leigh’s knowledge and storytellings of his journey into the cold making “every mistake there is to make” as he put it, was awe-inspiring.
Getting to experience it myself that same day was even better.
2022 is about seeing what my body can do when I honour my uniquely beautiful physiology as a female. Want to join me?
Join my FEMALE BREATHING COURSE! Running from the 18th - 21st March at 6:30 pm UK time each evening.
You receive:
  • Oxygen Advantage FEMALE SPECIFIC Training in a small online group setting
  • The replays FOR LIFE
  • A copy of The Breathing Cure by Patrick McKeown - Oxygen Advantage creator
  • A supportive private Facebook group to share insights
  • A 121 follow up with me after the course
Click the link below to find out more and apply for the course 👇👇👇
Female Breathing – Breathe with Georgie
Next weeks newsletter will be on DAY TWO of the ICE EXHIBITION and the dive itself….I can’t wait to share it with you!
For now - Keep breathing friends!
Love Georgie x
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Georgie Lawlor
Georgie Lawlor

Breathe with Georgie

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