How To Do Sudarshan Kriya And What Are Its Benefits?

Learn the proper way of performing the steps of this effective yogic breathing technique.

Reviewed by Anirudh Gupta, Certified Yoga Instructor Anirudh Gupta Anirudh GuptaCertified Yoga Instructor insta_icon
Written by , BA Shirin Mehdi BA Experience: 3 years
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In today’s fast-paced world, we stress out our body and mind so much that we also earn tension and anxiety along with money. What if I tell you doing Sudarshan Kriya is a one-stop solution for most of your physical and physiological issues? Yes, you heard it right!

Breathing can greatly affect the way you feel, look, and live. Fortunately, Sudarshan Kriya focuses exclusively on breathing and helps you get long-lasting results. What is this age-old yogic breathing technique all about? What are the steps involved? What are the precautions you must take? Are there any side effects? In this article, we look into all these aspects and a few frequently asked questions and dig deeper into how Sudarshan Kriya benefits our health. Keep reading!

protip_icon Trivia

Sudarshan Kriya is believed to have been cognized by Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on 17th September 1981.


Steps to do sudarshan kriya

What Is Sudarshan Kriya?

‘Su’ means proper, and ‘darshan’ means vision. ‘Kriya’ in yogic science means to purify the body. As a whole, Sudarshan Kriya means ‘proper vision by purifying action.’ Sudarshan Kriya Yoga is a unique breathing practice that involves cyclical breathing patterns that range from slow and calming to rapid and stimulating. In this Kriya, you take control of your breath, which positively affects your immune system, nerves, and psychological problems.

According to a 2009 published study of Harvard Medical School, Sudarshan Kriya yoga can effectively address anxiety and depression. The method is inexpensive and risk-free and has favorable effects on your mind-body connection. With environmental pollution, bad eating habits, and a sedentary lifestyle bogging you down, Sudarshan Kriya is a way out for you to lead a better life.

Read on to find out its process. Remember, you must be initiated into the Kriya only by a certified yoga teacher or guru.

The Sudarshan Kriya Technique

  1. Ujjayi (Victorious Breath)
  2. Bhastrika (Bellows Breath)
  3. Om Chant
  4. Kriya (Purifying Breath)

Before starting the kriya, sit in the Vajrasana position with the spine straight and upright. Kerry Fisher, Yoga and Meditation Coach explains the posture in detail: “The head is over the shoulders, shoulders are centered, neither forward nor back. Maintain this pose throughout the practice. It is acceptable to practice seated on a chair if it is difficult for you to do it seated in the yogic posture suggested.” Let’s now take a look at the steps involved:

1. Ujjayi (Victorious Breath)

Sudarshan kriya steps for ujjayi
Image: IStock

Ujjayi requires you to breathe longer consciously. You can feel your breath by touching your throat. Ujjayi is a slow breathing process where you inhale and exhale in a relaxed manner, keeping the durations of inhalation and exhalation equal. This technique requires you to take 2-4 breaths per minute approximately. Slow breathing trains you to gain control over your breath and lets you prolong it till the exact count. Ujjayi calms you down and increases mindfulness.

2. Bhastrika (Bellows Breath)

Sudarshan kriya steps for bhastrika
Image: IStock

In Bhastrika, you will have to inhale and exhale air rapidly and forcefully. You should be able to do 30 breaths per minute. The breathing style is primarily short and quick. The duration of the exhalations should be twice that of the inhalations. Bhastrika has the unique effect of stimulating the body followed by calmness.

3. Om Chant

Sudarshan kriya steps for om chant
Image: IStock

The pure sound of ‘Om,’ the basis of all life, is chanted 3 times. The chanting of Om connects you to the origin of the universe and the purpose of life. Om runs in your breath that sustains life. Om, when said out loud, is divided into three parts – A-U-M. After chanting two Oms, there should be silence. It represents a state of bliss when you are at the peak of spirituality and can experience the Supreme.

4. Kriya (Purifying Breath)

Sudarshan kriya steps for kriya
Image: IStock

The third and the most important form is the Kriya, which is an advanced form of breathing. It requires you to breathe in slow, medium, and fast cycles. The breaths should be cyclical and rhythmic. Make sure that the duration of your inhalations is twice that of your exhalations. This final step clears your vision, brings in a sense of mental clarity, and purifies your being.

The whole process will take you about 45 minutes, and you can practice it at any time of the day. Avoid doing it immediately after having a meal.

Side Effects

Various international educational organizations studied and proved that Sudarshan Kriya has no known side effects. They documented its manner of teaching and effectiveness. Sudarshan Kriya will do wonders for you when learned from an expert yoga teacher who will guide you through it well. It is not recommended to try it on your own.

Precautions

Sudarshan Kriya must be done right under the guidance of a yoga teacher. Otherwise, it will be ineffective and maybe even harmful. Make sure you are physically and mentally eligible to do the Sudarshan Kriya by consulting your doctor and yoga instructor. It is best if pregnant women, those under alcohol and drug abuse, and people suffering from extreme mental illness avoid this Kriya.

Benefits Of Sudarshan Kriya

  • Sudarshan Kriya improves your overall health and well-being.
  • It increases your energy levels and strengthens the immune system.
  • The Kriya helps to maintain your emotional balance and trains you to deal with challenging situations in a better manner.
  • It will clear your head of unnecessary clutter and improve your sleep quality.
  • It enhances your brain function and ups your creativity.
  • Sudarshan Kriya helps in stress relief and eases anxiety.
  • It works wonders for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.
  • It will relax you completely and help you attain inner peace.
  • The Kriya will ease out the tensions in your personal relationships and build a bond of joy, harmony, and love.
  • It will make you aware of yourself and your surroundings.
  • It will increase your confidence levels and make you more patient.
protip_icon Did You Know?
The Sudarshan Kriya is known to have positive impacts on people with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and plays a key role in the rehabilitation of criminals (1).

Infographic: How To Perform Sudarshan Kriya Correctly

Sudarshan Kriya is a method of rhythmic breathing that reduces stress, controls emotions, and cleanses the body of impurities. Many people can live stress-free, peaceful lifestyles while managing their usual tasks with the support of Sudarshan Kriya’s practice, lifestyle modifications, and discipline. Check out the infographic below to learn how to properly carry out each stage of this efficient yogic breathing technique. However, before you begin, make sure you sit in Vajrasana.

how to perform sudarshan kriya correctly (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Sudarshan Kriya is a unique and extremely healthy cyclic breathing practice with calming and stimulating effects on the body and the mind. Sudarshan Kriya steps enable you to take control of your breathing and help in personal growth, reduce depression and anxiety, clear the vision, purify the being, promote immunity, enhance brain function, attain inner peace, improve sleep quality, etc. Practice this yoga technique strictly under the guidance of a yoga expert; else, you may not end up achieving desired results. People with an ongoing history of substance abuse and extreme mental illness are advised to avoid Sudarshan Kriya and seek medical help.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between yoga and Sudarshan Kriya?

Yoga is much more than the physical exercises. It involves engaging with the mind and breath. Sudarshan Kriya taps your inner energy and connects you to the source of life.

What is the solution to anger?

Anger is okay only if it lasts for a little while. Otherwise, it is damaging to your being. The good news is you can fix it with meditation.

Why do I feel sleepy after Sudarshan Kriya?

Kerry Fisher says, “When you practice Sudarshan Kriya, you go into a deep state of relaxation. All of the functions in your body slow down, including your breath, your digestion, and your thoughts. When you complete the practice, you may feel sleepy due to this complete relaxation experienced from the practice. It is recommended that you take time after the practice to rest for a period of 5-30 minutes.”

Can I do Sudarshan Kriya in the evening?

Natalie Raphael, Yoga Teacher and Spiritual Guide, says, “Yes, you can do Sudarshan Kriya in the evening. It can help you fall asleep more easily, or, perhaps stay asleep longer. As you practice this kriya, it’s likely that you are switching out of beta (awake, alert, conscious brain state) and into alpha (physical and mental relaxation) and theta (dreams, deep meditation).

Who is the founder of Sudarshan Kriya?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, an Indian yoga guru, is the founder of Sudarshan Kriya.

Why do people cry during Sudarshan Kriya?

It is normal to cry when performing Sudarshan Kriya because it releases trapped emotions. Moreover, it demonstrates your growing emotional awareness and self-awareness.

Is Sudarshan Kriya same as pranayam?

No. The Sudharshan Kriya is a yoga exercise that combines breathing techniques and pranayama. It begins with leisurely inhalations and exhalations and escalates over time to a succession of fast breaths.

How was Sudarshan Kriya invented?

Sudarshan Kriya was founded in 1982 in Shimoga, India, after Sri Sri Ravi Shankar entered a 10-day period of silence.

How long does it take for Sudarshan Kriya to work?

Sudarshan Kriya can take 3-4 weeks to show results.

Key Takeaways

  • Sudarshan Kriya is a yogic breathing technique that includes different types of rhythmic breathing patterns like Ujjayi (Victorious Breath), Bhastrika (Bellows Breath), Om Chant, and Kriya (Purifying Breath)
  • It helps combat stress, increase energy levels, and improves sleep quality.
  • Pregnant women and individuals diagnosed with mental disorders should avoid Sudarhsna Kriya.

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Sudarshan kriya yoga: Breathing for health
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573542/
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Anirudh Gupta

Anirudh GuptaCertified Yoga Instructor

Anirudh has 9 years of experience as a Certified Yoga Instructor – RYT 200 – Yoga Alliance from Yoga Vedanta Centre. His teaching style incorporates the therapeutic principles of healing into the asanas and leaves one refreshed and energized. He teaches in and around South Mumbai, travels for workshops in India and overseas, and is called upon by the corporate...read full bio

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