‘One weekend with Wim Hof changed everything’ - The story of breathing coach Tom Stijven

‘One weekend with Wim Hof changed everything’ - The story of breathing coach Tom Stijven

June 27th, 2022,

5 min read

‘One weekend with Wim Hof changed everything’ - The story of breathing coach Tom Stijvenfeatured image

In our busy and often hectic world, consciously seeking relaxation is essential for staying healthy and in balance. The question is: how do you do that? Breathing coach Tom Stijven, specialised in Wim Hof, Breatheology and Oxygen Advantage, shares his story, tips and insights.

One weekend with Wim Hof changed everything: I was doing well again!

Tom, what drives you in your job?

"I do everything I do out of pure passion. Since I myself recovered from fibromyalgia in 2014 by applying the Wim Hof method, I have become fascinated by everything related to breathing. I enjoy being able to share my experience and knowledge in my work. The impact you can have as a coach on people's lives by teaching them simple techniques or by taking them on 3-day retreats gives me enormous satisfaction. This never feels like work.”

What exactly do you do as a breath coach?

"I am a full-time breath coach, certified Wim Hof method and Oxygen Advantage instructor and Breatheology Master instructor. Since 2015 I have been giving workshops and lectures for individuals and companies, organising retreats, and guiding people in 1-on-1 sessions.

I teach people to use their breathing to influence their physical and mental health. Whether it is about burn-out recovery or prevention, stress management, dealing with chronic pain or trauma, or improving sports performance: for each target group I bring an adapted programme."

You recovered from fibromyalgia thanks to the Wim Hof method, you said. How did that work?

"For me, the Wim Hof method turned out to be a real lifesaver. At the time, I was completely drained, physically, mentally, and financially. I had been struggling with fibromyalgia for six years, had lost 12 kilos (I only weighed 59 kilos), had closed down my company because I was at my wits' end, and had been at home for a year.

However, one weekend with Wim Hof changed everything: I was doing well again! Three months later I was back at work as an order picker, walking 8 to 12 kilometres a day through the warehouse. Everything in my body functioned well again, without pain, without acidification. This meant so much to me that I decided to develop myself as a breathing coach, something I have been doing for eight years now."

You can only take care of others if you take good care of yourself.

Do you apply the Wim Hof method every day?

"To stay healthy and well-balanced I like to use the Wim Hof method as a morning routine, but unlike in the first years, I sometimes skip days or even weeks. But when I experience that I am not feeling well (enough), I know it's time to get back to it in a disciplined way.

For me, fatigue is really the sign that it's been too much. On those days, I feel tired already a few hours after waking up, which is accompanied by a lack of focus. Since I have become a fully self-employed breathing coach I have been able to plan my moments of relaxation better, but in recent years, when I was also working full-time in another profession, I sometimes went over my limit.”

The cold is also part of the Wim Hof method, what role does the cold play for you?

"As far as I am concerned, cold water is the best teacher for getting back to yourself. You can embrace the cold by sitting in an ice-cold bath or lake, but also by taking a cold shower every day. The cold teaches you to be present in the here and now. This is what got me out of misery in 2014 and I like to fall back on it during difficult times."

Breathing, embracing the cold... What else do you do to stay well-balanced?

"Every once in a while I like to really push the pause button, by going to the sauna with my girlfriend Sonja or taking a few days off. It's unfortunate that in our society this kind of self-care is often seen as selfish, although it is simple: you can only take care of others if you take good care of yourself.”

Moonbird works so intuitively, you don't have to think about it.

In what way do you use moonbird?

"I use moonbird mainly with clients. Especially people who find it challenging to remember breathing exercises, or to do them independently, benefit from moonbird. Sometimes after a 1-on-1 session, I lend a moonbird to a client, to help find peace during the day in case of panic or anxiety attacks, or to fall asleep more easily.

Moonbird works so intuitively, you don't have to think about it. You only have to follow the rhythm and will experience the effect automatically. Just breathe :-) And that is exactly what clients find so pleasant about it.”

Final question, what is your motto in life?

“We used to be human beings, but we evolved into human doings. We need to stop doing and start being again.” This is a quote from Michael Brown (writer of the book The Presence Process).

If you want to know more about Tom and his work, visit Justbreathe.be or follow him on Facebook or Instagram for the latest updates.

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