1. What is Sudarshan Kriya?
2. Sudarshan Kriya Benefits
3. Sudarshan Kriya Steps
4. Sudarshan Kriya and The Art Of Living
5. The influence of Sudarshan Kriya
6. FAQs

What is Sudarshan Kriya?

In theory, we all know that negative emotions like anger, jealousy, guilt, fear and resentment are detrimental to our health and well-being and that we should work towards allaying them as much as possible. However, when it comes down to actually practising this, a lot of us fail. We tend to give in to them in weak moments. Sudarshan Kriya is a yogic practice, conceptualized by Indian guru Shri Shri Ravishankar, of regulating your breath to solve this problem.

Sudharshan is Sanskrit for ‘outlook’ and Kriya means ‘purification’. In essence, Sudarshan Kriya purifies your mind through breath control to give you a more positive outlook on life. Being conscious of your breath, after all, is the simplest way to take your mind off the regrets from your past and the worries about your future, and be completely present at the moment - the only place where you can truly experience peace and happiness. It gets your mind and body to work in tandem and is the most transformational habit you can adopt!

Benefits of Sudarshan Kriya Infographic

Sudarshan Kriya Benefits

Improves mental strength and focus

Focusing on your breath requires bringing your complete attention to the present moment. When you do this, you become aware of your thoughts and find it easier to ward off negative ones. It’s an effective antidote to mental health problems like anxiety and depression. It also improves your toughness and resilience in dealing with difficulties.

Enhances lung capacity

Since Sudarshan Kriya comprises breathing practices at different paces, the diaphragm gets strengthened in the process. The deep inhalations and exhalations not only regulate your breathing but also improve your lung capacity, which in turn, increases the flow of oxygen to your brain and helps you focus better.

Better sleep quality

Unresolved issues can keep you up at night. The practise of regulating your breath can help stop the mental chatter and put you to sleep. Those suffering from insomnia should definitely incorporate Sudarshan Kriya into their everyday routine. It will make you feel more energetic and lively when you wake up.

Regulates stress hormones

Cortisol is a hormone that is released into your bloodstream every time you’re stressed. In excess, it adversely impacts your health leading to problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and strokes. Sudarshan Kriya is an effective way to calm your nerves and keep these problems at bay.

Increases productivity at work

When you’re fazed by negative emotions like anger, irritation, fear, envy or resentment too often, it can be difficult to focus on work. You may dwell on the past and worry about the future when you have more important things to do now. Sudarshan Kriya helps increase your attention span and get more work done.

Better judgment

When your mind is riddled with negativity, it can be hard to make decisions objectively. Your judgment is fazed by bitterness from past experiences or fear about the future. Sudarshan Kriya gives you the perspective to focus on what matters most now, and make wiser decisions.

Types of Sudarshan Kriya Infographic

Sudarshan Kriya Steps

Sudarshan Kriya comprises three parts: Ujjayi, Om chanting and Bhastrika. Each of them involves breathing at different paces and has its own special benefits. Here’s how you can do them -

1. Ujjayi

Ujjayi, also known as Victorious Breath, involves taking slow and deep inhalations that contract your diaphragm and fill your lungs. You should feel the air pass through your throat when you do it.

Follow these steps:

  • Sit down in a comfortable position with your back straight and legs crossed.
  • Gently close your eyes.
  • Take a slow and deep breath.
  • Place one palm on your throat to feel the air pass through your throat.
  • Slow exhale.
  • Repeat 2-4 times in a minute.

2. Om Chanting

Om chanting is a powerful meditation technique that originated in ancient India. Even in the hustle-bustle of everyday life, it can help you experience pure bliss. When the sound of the syllables reverberates in your abdominal region, you feel a sense of unparalleled calm. It clears your mind and makes you feel whole.

Follow these steps:

  • Sit down in a comfortable position with your back straight and legs crossed.
  • Gently close your eyes.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Say the word ‘Om’ while exhaling and drag the ‘m’ sound.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Say the word ‘Om’ while exhaling and drag the ‘o’ sound.
  • Take a deep breath.
  • Say the word ‘Om’ while exhaling with the two syllables sounding equal.
  • Repeat a few more times.

3. Bhastrika

Also known as Bellow Breath, Bhastrika is a pranayama technique that involves forceful inhalations and exhalations via the nostrils to calm the mind and energize the body. It gets your diaphragm to contract and relax rapidly, thus increasing your lung capacity and breathing pattern.

Follow these steps:

  • Sit down in a comfortable position with your back straight and legs crossed.
  • Extend your arms straight above your shoulders.
  • Make fists with your hands.
  • Inhale and open your fists in the air at the same time.
  • Exhale and bring your arms down to shoulder level. Fist your hands again while you do this.
  • Repeat this 20-30 times in a minute.

Sudarshan Kriya and The Art Of Living

In 1981, Gurudev Shri Shri Ravishankar was sitting by a riverbank thinking about what he can do to help people lead happy lives, beyond teaching them yoga and meditation. He decided to fast and be silent for ten days, and then, almost as an epiphany, the idea for Sudarshan Kriya came to him. Having experienced the benefits of the practice, he set up the Art Of Living Foundation to spread the word. Today, the institution operates in 156 countries, furthering spiritual practices to raise human consciousness. They offer courses that millions of people have tried and vouch for.

The influence of Sudarshan Kriya

Not only does Sudarshan Kriya improve your health and inner well-being, but also your life on the outside. Your relationships improve because you have better control over your emotions. Since the time gap between the stimulus and your reaction is increased, you don't lose your temper or fly into a rage when things don’t go your way. You also have more headspace to give to work and other projects that are important to you. It’s a practice that improves every area of your life if you follow it religiously.


Q. When to do Sudarshan Kriya?

A. There’s no wrong time to do a good thing. You can practise Sudarshan Kriya at any time of the day, but keep in mind that it takes a good 20 minutes to complete the process. Do it when you have that much free time in hand, or rather, make time for it in your everyday routine. Since Bhastrika involves rapid contractions and relaxations of the diaphragm and abdomen, avoid doing it right after your meals.

Q. How many types of Sudarshan Yoga?

A. There are three parts to Sudarshan Yoga - Ujjayi, Om Chanting and Bhastrika. Each of them involves breathing at different paces and has its own benefits.

Q. What does Art of Living mean?

A. Art of Living is a non-profit foundation set up by Shri Shri Ravishankar, the Indian yoga guru conceptualized and popularized Sudarshan Kriya, among other practices to improve health and well-being among people.

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