Cold Coaching Helps Keep Your Cool

Updated: May 10

"Why do we call it 'being cool' and what is it about emotional regulation that is a much sought after quality in warriors and leaders?"
Man towels off after ice bath
The experience of deliberate cold exposure activates a fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system response. For Kuba, cold coaching was critical for calming down.

Morozko Forge Cold Coach Adrienne Jezick shares knowledge of whole body, cold water immersion in her podcast series describing the Morozko Method. In this excerpt, she interviews Kuba -- a guest who is relatively new to the practice of deliberate cold exposure. The following is a condensed transcript of their conversation.

Listen to the full podcast on Spotify

Kuba: Well first, I just want to say thank you for inviting me on. I hope our conversation is useful for others who have questions or who can identify or maybe open the door for them to have a new experience. My experiences with the cold have been profound.

Adrienne: No two experiences are alike. Even though I'm a regular cold water immersion enthusiast, I still don't have any two experiences that are completely alike. I think part of that is because the cold has a way of seeking out the areas that need to heal. I also think we're working on different parts of our practice through that cold water immersion.

How would you describe your first cold water immersion coaching experience with me? What do you remember about that?

Kuba: I was at my first Burning Man (at Black Rock City) in 2019, and that was an event that was a milestone for me in terms of personal exploration and having a self-defined objective that was deeply meaningful for me and not tied to my contracts with anyone else.

I really wanted to do that for a very long time. Organically, an opportunity presented itself to go with some of my good friends from Arcosanti, and be a part of their village.

Unbeknownst to me, one of the folks from the village have already spoken with you guys and you were set up in the back of the Burners Without Borders camp.

He just said,

"Kuba, I have a mission for you. I need you to be at this place at 3:30 or 4:30,"

or whatever it was. And so, I didn't know what I was doing or what I was getting into until I was outside this steel storage container where you guys had set up the Forge.

I was being sent on a mission by the village Mayor to go be somewhere to do a thing. And so, there was this aura of a meaningful... there was a sense that I was going to go do something special, but with that whole there's going to be a surprise involved in this.

Maybe it's going to be arduous. Maybe it's something that's just for me.

I had no idea what I was walking into.

I should note that I don't partake in mind-altering substances and so it wasn't that I was in some other place biochemically or neurochemically or something, but I was having a peak experience nonetheless.

Woman raises hand above her head on sunny day at Burning Man in Black Rock City.
Cold Coach Adrienne Jezick, power posing at Black Rock City, 2019.

I showed up and there you are looking very much like a shaman, a shamanic figure. The space is dark. There's no light in there except this open cargo container door. Even there, it's a very different experience from what would traditionally I think happen in your immersive workshops.

Obviously, I stripped down and you were extraordinarily grounded.

Most first worlders in 2019 are lost and it's information overload, personal high jinx, overloaded RAM. Past, present and future competing for our attention. We spend most of our time just ... I'll speak for myself.

I spend most of my time lost in thought, which is why mindfulness practice is essential for me and is part of my self-care ritual going back a couple of years, which is one of the reasons why I choose to be sober.

It all is this quest to maintain some anchor in a world that is changing faster than it knows how to cope, or maybe my world is changing faster than I naturally know how to cope with.

Immediately, there was a stillness there. There is a stillness to you. There's stillness to the water. There's a stillness to the space. I was already in that like, this is a serious surprise. I approached it as one with initiation ritual in some mystery school.

Adrienne: It was like ceremony-esque.

Kuba: Yeah. There's definitely an element of ceremony to it. I love some good... some ceremony. I appreciate it, especially if it's not rooted in exploitive dogma or all of the rituals that some of which are just not that great, that we find ourselves trying to break free from.

Yeah. So you said it, here you are.

Start being aware of your breath. Be present.

When you're ready, step into the water. Right?

Adrienne: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kuba: With conviction.

Sit down. Sit your ass down.

That's kind of what I... in my mind, I was like, okay.

Adrienne: I mean business.

Kuba: Here's the weird part. The second time I was aware of what I would experience, but the first time I wasn't.

I'm actually a person who by nature hates being cold. I get cold easily. I don't like being cold. I was coached by my mom to never get too cold because you'll catch a cold.

That's sort of a European fiction that if you're exposed to cold, you'll somehow compromise your immune system.

Adrienne: Don't go outside with a wet head, you'll catch your death. Yes.

Kuba: Yes, very much an ongoing thing. Grandfather died from pneumonia, but really he died from a life of hard drinking.

It was always something that was something to be feared.