For the 10th episode of the WHM podcast Science on the Rocks, hosts Dina & Matthias interviewed ice-freediver Kiki Bosch. Read Dina’s introduction below & check out the episode!
Freediving is impressive. Ice-freediving is absolutely insane! Talking to ice-freediver Kiki Bosch, I realized that freediving in ice water is not just a hobby or an athletic challenge— it is a way of life.
When Kiki walked towards me on the platform at Hannover Central Station, my first thought was that she looked quite ‘normal’. I guess against all my experiences to the contrary, part of me still assumes that people who do extraordinary stuff should look somehow different. And in fact, it would be easier if they looked different from the rest of the world because then I could just settle into the comfortable feeling of being ‘less than’ or different from those extraordinary people. But the thing that is different is a matter of mental focus. Of priority. And sometimes of being in the right spot at the right time; like when Kiki came across a documentary about Wim Hof, and felt the icy depths of the Arctic Ocean calling her to take a plunge.
When you listen to Kiki’s magical description of what it’s like to swim next to an iceberg and hear whale songs in the distance, what she feels in the incubation period before she takes the dive, and how the experience of ice- freediving has changed her as a human being, you get the chills— in a good way.
I am honored that Kiki was willing to speak so openly about her experience as an ice-freediver, an ambassador of nature, and a body awareness coach, and even more so about her experience of sexual abuse and how she overcame this trauma. Her story touched me in many ways, and it echoes a lot with my own thoughts, and not just because we share this experience. It isn’t a light subject, but it is so vitally important to talk about; to let others who are suffering know that they are not alone. By sharing our stories we want to encourage others to bring their whole true self, trauma and all, to the world. This process of healing, of opening up, of stepping forward can feel daunting and painful at times, but it opens up the possibility to become a more compassionate, conscious and loving human being.
Kiki’s story of healing, and how she decided not to succumb to the darkness, offers an abundance of hope and assurance. When you meet Kiki, you meet a strong woman who does amazing things, who passionately studies how our minds and bodies work, who dedicates her heart and soul to helping others relate to their bodies and their deeper selves in more connected and meaningful ways. She walks the talk, disturbing not only her own but also society’s comfort: she confronts us with the things that we would rather avoid to look at, such as the impact of our lifestyle on our planet, or the impact of trauma on humanity. Vice versa, in her workshops she offers a safe space for people to re-connect to nature within and around them, where people are cared for and allowed to heal. Kiki is an all-round beautiful soul and living proof that you can go under and come out the other end stronger and wiser than before.
Dina Wittfoth is a neuroscientist & co-host of Science on the Rocks.