Learn how to breathe for overall health and performance

Patrick McKeown

Patrick McKeown is a world-renowned expert in breathing with nearly 20 years clinical experience. He has written eight books, three of which were bestsellers. Patrick has also been published in numerous publications and journals.

He studied at Trinity College Dublin and went on to study breathing with renowned Dr Konstantin Buteyko in his Moscow clinic. He became a practitioner and proponent of the Buteyko Method, which uses nasal breathing, breath control and breath holding as a treatment for health conditions. Patrick founded the Buteyko Clinic International based in his hometown Galway. 

His work helps use simple breathing exercises to improve the quality of life for people who suffer from asthma, sleep disorders, high blood pressure and just anyone interested in improving their overall health and wellbeing.

His latest book, ‘The Breathing Cure’, has been called “the definitive book on breathing”. It contains simple home practice exercises for adults and children, research-backed methodologies that help you to use breathing to improve your quality of life.

Join us as we unpack the science and health behinds quality breathing, entering the flow state and the breathing exercises and tests you can practise today.


Find the show on your favourite player


3:31 Why breathwork has become so popular recently

6:41 Breathing to manage lockdown anxiety

28:31 Why we don’t breathe correctly in an intuitive way

  1. Take a normal breath in through your nose and allow a normal breath out through your nose.
  2. Hold your nose with your fingers to prevent air from entering your lungs.
  3. Time the number of seconds until you feel the first definite desire to breathe, or the first stresses of your body urging you to breathe. These sensations may include the need to swallow or a constriction of the airways. You may also feel the first involuntary contractions of your breathing muscles in your abdomen or throat as the body gives the message to resume breathing. (Note that BOLT is not a measurement of how long you can hold your breath but simply the time it takes for your body to react to a lack of air.)
  4. Release your nose, stop the timer, and breathe in through your nose. Your inhalation at the end of the breath hold should be calm.
  5. Resume normal breathing.

47:39 The distinction between oxygen and CO2, and their role in performance breathing

51:10 Using full lung capacity

55:36 Simple exercises to incorporate in your daily life

1:01:52 Nitric oxide’s role in the body

1:04:16 How performance is impacted by V̇O2 max

1:13:57 How mouth breathing changed the human face over the century

1:20:40 How to make a habit of nasal breathing whilst exercising

1:26:32 The walk and hold exercise 

  1. While walking breathe in, breathe out and hold your breath
  2. Walk 5 to 20 paces with your breath held
  3. Resume breathing and continue to walk
  4. After 30 seconds to 1 minute of walking with normal breathing, repeat breath hold as above
  5. Repeat small breath hold every half minute to one minute
  6. Ensure that your inner body is relaxed throughout
  7. If there is tension in your tummy or chest, encourage this area to relax

Don’t do this if you are pregnant or have a serious medical condition

1:28:56 How breathing takes us into a flow state and impacts our cognitive abilities

1:38:52 Patrick’s experiences of silent retreats

1:46:02 Advice to people who want to enter a greater flow state and overcome heightened anxiety

1:53:02 The impact of breathing from the ovulation cycle

Links Mentioned: