In one word Sudarshan Kriya is a breathing exercise. From ancient days saints are practicing yoga, meditation, pranayam. In modern age with the changing lifestyle we have to bring back these practices to be fit physically and mentally. Our body, mind and emotions can be controlled by this simple natural rhythmic breathing exercise. In sanskrit ‘su’ means proper, ‘darshan’ means vision and ‘kriya’ means to purify the body. So, proper vision by purifying action is the exact meaning Sudarshan Kriya. It relieves us from the stressful daily life. It also eliminates the negative emotions like frustration, depression, anger. It facilitates a calm and focused mind. Our thoughts get positivity and body is energized and relaxed.
Ujjayi means victorious. When a person can consciously feel that his breath is touching his throat, that sensation is called ujjayi breath or ocean breath. One can actually feel the sound of breath in this process like the sound of ocean. This breathing technique is very slow, only 2-4 per minute and deep. The cause is that the breath cycle has more than one phases. This controlled breathing technique engages every phase of breath to be executed in the exact way. Experiencing the sensation of breath brings calmness to body and mind. But for that one has to practice it daily and perfectly for the belly and lungs are to be expanded by inhaled air.
Bhastika or bellows breath is another stage of body and mind after calmness and that is excitement. In Bhastika, one has to maintain a breath rate of 30 per minute.
- Om chant
After Bhastika, when one is excited with fast breathing, the word ‘Om’ is uttered. ‘Om’ is considered to be a sacred and powerful word. So, by chanting this word while breathing out for long, one can conjunct his soul with the force that drives life.
Kriya is simple, yet advanced form of rhythmic breathing. It consists of all the three paces- slow, medium and fast. It has to be done in a cycle. As the ending part the Kriya plays the role of a purifier of body and mind, which is the exact purpose of this entire process.
The whole process is done in the Vajrasana pose. Eyes closed, spine straight and body relaxed is the ideal posture.
One can do Sudarshan Kriya with his nostrils too, if not able to follow the above process. He just has to rest his left hand on his left feet and the ring and little finger of right hand should be on the left nostril while the right nostril should be touched by the thumb and other fingers would rest on the eyebrow. Now pressing the right nostril to exhale through the left, inhaling through it again and then breathing out with the right one, removing the thumb is the process. It should be done alternatively keeping eyes closed and spine straight.
Sudarshan Kriya Duration
The whole process of this kriya is near about one hour. We should practice it in a slow and rhythmic motion. During this process the number of inhalation should be double of exhalations.
Time of practice
People should practice this kriya in the morning. If done so, the result will be best. However we can practice it any time. We have to remember that the stomach should be more or less empty. Practicing this in bed time is not preferable, as it effects on sound sleep. 4am to 6am in the morning and 7pm in the evening is the recommended time to do this.
As we say, it is beneficiary for our physical and mental health, the benefits are as follows:
It improves respiratory function. Lungs capacity is increased by it. High blood pressure is reduced and heartbeats also stay in control by practicing the kriya regularly. The cholesterol level and lipid profile is improved too, without any change in diet. The changes will be noticeable within 3 weeks of starting the practice.
In our body, corticotrophin, cortisol, ACTH, plasma MDA and blood lactate are the biochemical markers of stress. If people practice the breathing exercise regularly, their stress will be reduced and the level of these markers will also be in control. In case of depressed patients the prolactin hormone will increase very fast. The levels of antioxidant enzymes like catalase, super-oxide dismutase and glutathione will also be up. Many diseases and rapid aging are protected by these enzymes.
The lifespan of immunity cells and white blood cells will increase with practice of this kriya. It increases lymphocytes, neutrophils and platelet count. From 3 to 12 weeks, the changes will be recognizable.
Reduce stress level
Anxiety, depression and stress level can be reduced by it. Over impulsiveness and addictive behaviors could be controlled as well. It improves emotional regulation and the optimism levels.
Increase mind focus
It is helpful for increasing mind focus. It impacts our thoughts and thus the mental focus is increased. We can in fact have a sound sleep due to this.
Practicing this kriya without proper guidance, however could be harmful. Physical and mental eligibility should be measured before starting. Pregnant women should avoid it. People who take alcohol or drug regularly has no use practicing it. Apart from them, general people also have to take some precautions. We should not eat before 2 hours of practicing it. We should not take bath after this. We must take a 15 minutes gap to normalize the body temperature, as heat energy generated in body during this process.