Breathing / Pranayama
Breath control or Pranayama is paramount for a successful Sudarshana Kriya practice. This technique is cleansing and is called the ‘Ujjayi’.
- The first stage begins with the relaxation of the throat and sternum. Try to concentrate on the inhalation and exhalation of breath through slow rhythmic breathing. Ensure that the time for inhalation and exhalation is about the same. A cycle is one inhalation followed by one exhalation. After 20 cycles of stage one, you are ready for the next stage of the Kriya.
- The second stage begins with normal inhalation followed by deep exhalation. Here, exhalation lasts for a longer time than inhalation. Be aware that the sternum and the rest of the body, including the back, remain as relaxed as possible. Complete 20 cycles of stage two, slowly and rhythmically.
- As you move into the third stage, deep inhalation is followed by normal exhalation. Inhalation takes a longer time than exhalation within a cycle. The same cautions as the second stage apply. Complete 20 cycles of stage three, slowly and rhythmically.
- Go into the last stage with deep inhalation followed by deep exhalation. The time for inhalation and exhalation is about the same. This is done for 20 cycles also.
The Kriya can be completed by slowly restoring normal and rhythmic inhalation and exhalation. Particular notice should be given to the body parts, ensuring that there is no stress on any limb or portion of the body. Complete this stage for 20 cycles or more, if desired.
If there is shortness of breath or discomfort, please abandon the technique and go back to comfortable breathing. If you suffer from hypertension or other chronic illnesses, it is very important to consult your physician before attempting this Kriya.
Tips for Mastery
- Benefits cannot be realized without sufficient proficiency gained through constant practice. Sudarshana Kriya provides excellent benefits, including stress relief at the very minimum, but you must practice regularly by setting aside time from your busy schedule.
- Do not be discouraged if you find it daunting initially. Very commonly, you will find it challenging to keep pace with the length of time or the rhythmic breathing. In such cases, you may choose to master one stage over a few months before moving to the next. This Kriya takes time and patience to master. You may choose to use a mental count of inhalation and exhalation at each stage and adjust the number of counts for comfort. This helps you to progress without breathing discomfort.
- Set aside a quiet, calm and softly lit area in your home. Couple the Kriya with light physical exercises, and notice the benefits multiply. It is maybe worthwhile to practice rhythmic breathing consciously at all times of the day during your daily activities. This effort will pay off in increased concentration during the Kriya technique and allows your breathing to adapt to the intense stages.