What Does “Icewater” Mean?

Forearm Plank Yoga for Athletes

“Icewater” is a very personal thing that only we can know about ourselves.

Only we know when we’re truly challenged and out of our comfort zone. Only we know whether the situation got the best of us, or if we rose up.

It’s hard to prepare for these moments. Oftentimes, they come when you least expect them.

Other times, the struggle is completely known and constant.

These are the moments in sports that we remember forever. We have a respect and appreciation for these moments even when we’re little kids.

“3…2…1…” you take the game-winning shot in your driveway. “Do-over”, if you miss.

But, in real life, if you miss, you miss. We generally don’t get a second chance. No do-overs. That’s what makes these moments so revealing.

These moments aren’t the reactionary kind, the ones where we don’t have enough time to truly respond. They’re the moments that define us because they access our deepest character traits and teach us about who we truly are.

Where the term comes from

“Icewater” is taken from “having icewater in your veins”, at your best in challenge. In a word, “clutch”. The image of having icewater in the veins is admittedly pretty graphic, but the power of the metaphor comes from its relation to our response to adversity.

When we’re thrust into a challenging situation, our mental and physical state is like an overheating, a data overload. By having icewater in our veins, we can stay cool no matter what our mental state, no matter what life throws at us.

We all can think of moments where we’ve been clutch and unclutch. We’re not perfect, and as the future unfolds we’ll have more chances.

So, what can we do about it?

How can we prepare to be more clutch in the future?

Personally, yoga has been one of the only tools that has helped me develop a state of calm and tranquility in any situation. This development hasn’t come from pushing through pain or contorting my body beyond discomfort.

For me, developing lasting and durable tranquility has come from practicing presence. In any posture, I’ve gotten better at engaging in it and appreciating the space, the moment, and the steadiness.

A physical yoga practice shouldn’t put you in situations where you need to be clutch on any sort of regular basis. The clutchness develops over time. We don’t spend too much time in a pose and make it impossible, we engage and stay present while we’re there and move on when it’s time to move on.

Over time, our capacity to focus and be at ease is heightened and we notice this quality permeating into our daily lives. We also begin to understand ourselves and our motivations on a deeper level. The why for our what.

With more focus, we’re more perceptive, more aware, more prepared to respond instead of react when things inevitably get challenging. By becoming more “ourself”, we don’t have to prepare as much to respond as ourselves in any situation.

Taking it back to sports

“3…2…1…” The athlete either misses or doesn’t, but only they know how they felt in the moment. Were they afraid or determined? Were they in the moment or overtaken by it? Were they imagining their name in the newspaper headline the next day or the look on their teammates’ faces?

Icewater is knowing who you are in any moment and being able to respond as such.

Yoga for Athletes - The Ultimate Guide

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About the Author:

Joe is the Founder of Icewater Yoga. Fascinated by the intersection of yoga and sport, his goal is to help athletes develop a consistent yoga practice. He lives in Claremont, CA with his wife, Jill.