A COLD CALLING…
I am, as my students describe a quiet natured yoga teacher, so anything that is forceful, challenging, and fast isn’t my type of activity. I never expected cold-water swimming to become my one of my favourite activities after yoga and long morning walks, until I made my first steps towards it. One week in November my neighbour asked me “Do you fancy joining a cold-water swimming group?”. I didn’t even have to think about it. “Yes, please!” I said, without even knowing what to expect.
So, on that beautiful Sunday morning, just a week before my 40th birthday we arrived at the beautiful Tollymore Forest Park, County Down where I first met the “Cold Heals” group of cold-water enthusiasts who are always doing it on Sunday morning in a prearranged location. They change location every second or third week to make the swimming more interesting and attractive, so it could be a lake, a sea or a river in the mountains.
On arrival I was greeted with at least 12 big hugs. I now call it “Hugging therapy”, that’s what they do to make everyone welcome, and I can admit – it works!
“Cold Heals” or “Saltis Gydo”- is a private group which you can find and join in on Facebook: Šaltis Gydo | Facebook
The group was created in 2020 and has 723 members already on the Facebook page and more than 15 in the Sunday swimming group which is constantly growing! The age group is varied from 12 years old to 55 years old and over. All group members have different personalities, different backgrounds, and live in different places through North Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Can you believe it, one family from our “Cold Heals” group travels 300 kilometres just to be with others on Sunday morning, that’s how addictive Cold-Water therapy can be! All these group members are alike because they have a one passion: to live life to the fullest, to be healthy, to be happy and to turn the impossible into possible using only the power of the mind!
The founder and creator of this group is Darius, he is a fantastic mentor and the most positive person I’ve met in my life. Super helpful, bursting with joy and enthusiasm, full of new ideas and full of vital energy, and I am not surprised that he is known as the “Ice Man”.
Darius became interested in cold water swimming three years ago but his real journey started in Autumn 2020 when he discovered the “Wim Hof Method” and decided to challenge himself with cold-water swimming. As soon as he found out that cold water therapy can improve wellbeing and mental health, he decided to share his experience and knowledge with others. That was when he started the “Cold Heals” (“Saltis Gydo”) group with the intention of bringing people together to enjoy the beauty of nature, get the benefits of cold-water therapy, make new friends and socialize, and to prove that anything is possible if you have the right mindset!