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An Icy Plunge in Playa del Carmen

I am taking a few months in Playa del Carmen, on the so-called Mayan Riviera, to teach meditation and to enjoy life a bit. One of the first things I did was to track down my buddy, Kevin Connelly, whose company, Reconnect ( (, organizes breath work and ice baths in Playa del Carmen.

Now, it's not impossible that some people would detect a certain irony in talking about enjoying life and taking ice baths in the same breath. I must say that I agree that plunging into ice water up to my neck was not high on my list of highly anticipated pleasures when I arrived in Playa del Carmen the other day.

Meditating on the beach at sunrise? Yes, indeed.

A nice hatha yoga class? Yes. A peaceful moment listening to the surf on the beach? Yes, again. A fish taco and a beer? Yes, please. Long sandy walks on the beach with the breeze of the Gulf of Mexico on my skin? Absolutely. Lowering myself into ice water for three and a half minutes as I hyperventilate and only stay in the water to maintain some shred of dignity? Hmmmmm...

Well, I must admit there's something to this breathing and ice bath thing, after all. Reconnect suggests that, "Ice baths train us to remain calm during stress. We thus build resilience to situations that could otherwise cause anxiety." They further suggest that an ice bath, "Builds a strong immune system, decreases inflammation, and aids in weight loss by generating heat in your body." And last but not least, "Ice baths increase testosterone, aid in infertility, and stimulate healthy blood flow to all parts of the body."