Open water swimmers are a hardy bunch, especially those who manage to swim all year round and this week we revisit a previous post by Emma Estrela Corrie, a Wim Hof Method instructor based in the Lake District. Emma shares her love of the outdoors and connecting with nature through exposure to the cold. Brrrr...
I absolutely love the outdoors and I’m really grateful to be living in the Lake District. Generally, my days here are hiking, biking and chasing waterfalls. I discovered the Wim Hof Method (WHM) as a way of regulating stress through cold exposure and breathwork.
Shortly after taking part in a WHM Winter Travel course I decided to walk the Camino pilgrimage in Spain as a way to process the learnings and the breathwork involved with the WHM. It was a welcome release of suppressed hormones and I felt lighter and better after each breathwork session. The Camino allowed the pieces to settle in a new way of self-trust.
Although walking has always been a part of my life, over the last 3 years it has played a bigger focus point as it’s truly refreshing to slow the pace of life down. The Camino is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe dating back to the 9th century and in January 2017 I walked the trail – and being outdoors and communing with nature on a daily basis allowed a change to occur within me.
Every day of my pilgrimage, I realised that the nature I was seeing on my route was becoming more inspiring and was teaching me to break down my thought loops and to ‘let go’ of what was no longer important to me. My mantra for the Camino was to live each day: “Today is today and tomorrow is tomorrow”. The experience harvested my inner strength and voice, I even became aware of the weight of my rucksack by 150 grams!
Returning to Cumbria, I continued my connection within nature. I felt different with more inner strength, connection and self-belief than I have ever had before; becoming comfortable in my own skin and trusting my gut feelings. The year before, I had read some books on ultra-running and somehow the seed was planted that I could do this too. I entered a Marathon and Ultra Marathon.
I made my training about aligning myself with nature’s rhythms. It was about investing in myself, stepping outside the conditioned mind, cultivating self-understanding and honing a positive mindset.
Part of my investigation was to pioneer new ways of feeling relaxed and feeling abundantly connected to my body and to nature, in a way that could actually be simpler than what we have been taught in the past.
Connecting with Nature
I simply connected with nature every day. I saw raw beauty in the tarns I swam in, noticing little details such as tiny glistening raindrops on the moss as I relaxed under a waterfall. The cold brings you back to the present moment. Hiking in the fells, passing shaded trees at that time, brought me a delicious smell of seasonal wild garlic.
Walking barefoot, I explored movement, climbing and hanging from trees. My adventures every day were a balance of struggles and challenges, yet I felt alive as they rewarded me with more joy, more fulfilment and a sense of purpose as I explored and anchored.
I saw that everything was active in nature. I experienced this and I began to feel a part of this balance. I now believe the stewardship of nature and our environment begins with loving ourselves in nature and feeling our connection to it.
This has led me to welcome change in what I eat and what I wear. I now have minimalised my wardrobe and enjoy wearing natural fibres. I actively seek clothes that are independently made, local with an ethos that is more aligned to the way I live. I came across the FINDRA store at the Kendal Mountain Festival in 2016. The marin merino cowl neck top, yellow merino neck warmer and oatmeal hat has travelled on the Camino and Mount Snezka in Poland and even met Wim Hof!
I travel a bit and I find FINDRA clothes adaptable for travel and I have many favourites pieces of FINDRA clothing collected over the years. If I had to pick one it would be my grey Caddon merino cowl neck top as it is so versatile.
For more of Emma’s adventures and some inspiring pictures, you can find her on Instagram.
FILMS OF THE WEEK
Swimming the Isle of Skye Fairy Pools with Kate Rew
Hydrotherapy by Fin & Jack Davies
Afterglow by Tommaso Di Paola & Jack Webber
Chasing the Sublime by Amanda Bluglass
RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Peanut Butter Flapjacks
There’s nothing like taking a homemade snack and this recipe is perfect treat post swim or out on a favourite trail – and it’s super-simple to make too!
- 175g crunchy peanut butter
- 75g Light Brown Sugar
- 6 rounded tbsp Golden Syrup
- 2 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
- 75g raisins
- 175g rolled porridge oats
- 100g semi-sweet dark chocolate
- 40g peanut butter
- 1 tbsp milk
- 25g salted peanuts, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan) / Gas 4 and grease and line a shallow 20cm square tin.
- Put the peanut butter, sugar and golden syrup and oil into the microwave for 1 minute or heat gently in a pan on the hob until melted.
- Stir in the raisins and oats. Turn into the tin, level and press the mixture evenly and firmly with the back of a spoon.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until just golden around the edges.
- Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes then cut into 12 or 16 pieces whilst still warm.
- When completely cool, turn onto a cooling rack.
- Melt the chocolate with the peanut butter and milk, stir until smooth. Spread evenly over the flapjack then scatter over the extra peanuts. Allow to set then slide onto a board and cut into portions with a sharp knife.
MUSIC OF THE WEEK
After all that cold, let’s head to the tropics for a bit of warmth with some classic Duran Duran!