As he describes in this week’s cover story, breathwork helped Stuart Sandeman heal after losing his girlfriend, Tiff, to cancer. This ignited his journey to learn everything he could about the practice, and he now shares his expertise via his Breathpod sessions, bestselling book ‘Breath In Breathe Out‘, BBC Radio 1 show, and work with clients including Olympic athletes and Nike. His teachings combine the therapeutic benefits of using our breath to work through trauma, as well as manage stress and other day-to-day life challenges, with the advantages that proper breathing techniques can offer to improve sports performance. Stuart is the real deal, combining an incredible depth of knowledge with a kind and accessible approach.
Wim Hof — aka The Iceman — is perhaps the most famous practitioner in the breathwork field. The Wim Hof Method combines breathing exercises, cold therapy, and commitment to help teach mastery over our nervous, immune, and cardiovascular systems. The Dutch extreme athlete has held dozens of world records related to cold exposure, including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in shorts, and standing in a container, covered in ice cubes, for 112 minutes. The average human would be unconscious within 15 minutes, and would be unlikely to survive past 45 minutes, so that’s pretty cold, hard evidence that his techniques are worth further exploration.
Irishman Patrick McKeown is the creator and master instructor of the Oxygen Advantage technique, which trains us to breathe more efficiently to improve oxygen intake. Central to Patrick’s teaching is that we often take many more breaths than we need. And over the last two decades, he has trained more than 5,000 people, including many Olympic athletes, in the relationship between oxygen and our bodies, and how reduced breathing techniques can help us reach our weight loss, fitness, and wellness goals.
Dr Sundar Balasubramanian
Dr Sundar grew up in Tamil Nadu, India, and started practicing pranayama — an ancient breath technique that originate from yogic practices — at a very young age. Now, as a cell biology researcher at the University of South Carolina and the founder of the PranaScience Institute, he combines this traditional wisdom with modern science to explore and teach the health benefits of pranayama breathwork.
Author of New York Times bestseller, ‘Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art‘, James Nestor is an award-winning science journalist who spent ten years learning about what has gone wrong in the evolution of our breathing and how to fix it. By traveling the world and exploring different cultures, he discovers the science behind old and new breathing practices, and how we can incorporate better techniques to improve our lives. (Spoiler alert: Breathe through your nose!)