In today’s fast-moving world, where stress and anxiety have become prevalent, individuals constantly search for effective techniques to achieve peace, happiness, and overall well-being. Sudarshan Kriya, a powerful breathing technique derived from ancient yogic practices, offers a profound and accessible tool for inner transformation. With its potential to reduce stress, increase energy levels, and foster emotional balance, Sudarshan Kriya has gained global recognition as a valuable practice for individuals seeking holistic healing. Here, we explore the origins, principles, and benefits of Sudarshan Kriya, shedding light on how this technique can bring about positive changes in one’s life.
The Origins and Philosophy of Sudarshan Kriya
Sudarshan Kriya is a technique developed by spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living Foundation. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar drew inspiration from ancient yogic practices, including Pranayama (breath control), to create Sudarshan Kriya. The word “Sudarshan” translates to “proper vision” or “clear perception,” while “Kriya” refers to a systematic practice. Sudarshan Kriya is a practice that facilitates clear perception through breath control.
Sudarshan Kriya’s philosophy is rooted in the understanding that the breath is intricately connected to our emotions and mental well-being. By consciously regulating the breath, individuals can influence their state of mind and experience a profound sense of peace, joy, and harmony.
The Practice of Sudarshan Kriya
Sudarshan Kriya involves a specific rhythmic pattern of breathing that alternates between slow, medium, and fast-paced breaths. This pattern is designed to activate the body’s natural healing mechanisms and induce a deep state of relaxation.
The practice typically begins with gentle warm-up exercises and stretches, preparing the body for the breathwork. Participants then engage in three main stages of Sudarshan Kriya: Ujjayi (victorious breath), Bhastrika (bellows breath), and Om chanting. These stages are carefully sequenced to create a dynamic process that helps release emotional and physical blockages, allowing for greater clarity and well-being.
Benefits of Sudarshan Kriya
a) Stress Reduction: One of the key benefits of Sudarshan Kriya is its ability to reduce stress. Scientific studies have revealed that the regular practice of Sudarshan Kriya can significantly decrease stress hormones like cortisol while increasing serotonin levels, a neurotransmitter associated with happiness and well-being.
b) Emotional Balance: Sudarshan Kriya helps individuals process and release stored negative emotions, promoting emotional balance. It has been established to be effective in managing anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). By providing a safe space for emotional healing, Sudarshan Kriya empowers individuals to navigate life’s challenges with resilience and clarity.
c) Increased Energy and Vitality: The deep breathing involved in Sudarshan Kriya oxygenates the body and enhances the efficiency of the respiratory system. This leads to increased energy levels, improved sleep quality, and heightened vitality and well-being.
d) Enhanced Focus and Clarity: Regular practice of Sudarshan Kriya has been linked to improved cognitive function, including enhanced focus, concentration, and memory. Sudarshan Kriya enables individuals to tap into their innate clarity and creativity by quieting the mind and reducing mental chatter.
e) Spiritual Growth: Sudarshan Kriya is not limited to physical and mental well-being; it also facilitates spiritual growth. By connecting individuals to their breath and the present moment, Sudarshan Kriya helps cultivate a deeper self-awareness and inner stillness, leading to spiritual insights and transformation.
Accessibility and Global Impact
Sudarshan Kriya has gained global recognition for its transformative effects on individuals from all walks of life. Sudarshan Kriya workshops and courses are conducted in various countries, making them accessible to individuals who seek personal growth and well-being. Sudarshan Kriya offers a powerful gateway to self-discovery, well-being, and inner transformation. Through conscious regulation of the breath, this ancient practice allows individuals to release stress, experience emotional balance, and tap into their true potential.
As a holistic approach to healing, Sudarshan Kriya has positively attached to the lives of countless individuals worldwide, empowering them to live with clarity, peace, and joy. By embracing this profound breathing technique, individuals can embark on a journey of self-exploration, realizing the immense power within themselves to lead a fulfilled and purposeful life.
NourishDoc: Hello, everyone, and namaste. Well, we are going to learn about Kundalini and Kriya Yoga. Most of us don’t understand the different types of this type of yoga. So that’s why we have an expert who has been practicing Kundalini and Kriya Yoga for the last 20 years. I am super excited to welcome Gian Dharam, who is joining me live from Canada. Namaste, and thank you so much.
Yoga Expert Gian: Thank you, Amita. Namaste, and it’s very nice to be here on NourishDoc; and very excited to explain more about Kriya and Kundalini Yoga to others.
Overview Of Kriya & Kundalini Yoga
NourishDoc: Let’s understand that we don’t even understand the difference between Kriya and Kundalini Yoga. So maybe you could give us an overview of what it is.
Yoga Expert Gian: Okay, Kriya Yoga and Kundalini Yoga have a lot of they’re very close. They’re very close in connection with each other. Kriya Yoga is a series of postures we’re referring to in Kriya Yoga, which is linked to a subtle nervous system.
A sequence of postures triggers our subtle nervous system that creates quite an awakening of energy in our body and our internal body, and that’s the experience that Kriya Yoga or Kundalini Yoga is going to bring you closer to is an awakening of life force, an awakening of energy inside your body. It refers to the third limb of yoga. There are eight limbs of yoga. It refers to the third limb of yoga, Apana, which will again invite you into postures into your physical form.
What is Kriyas and its Types?
NourishDoc: Okay, so now, when you say Kriya, right? Are there X number of Kriyas that people talk about? You could expand on how many Kriyas there are and then give us some examples of what a Kriya would look like.
Yoga Expert Gian: All right, yeah. That’s a great question. There are many Kriyas in yoga, and they are still being invented. So, it’s a sequence of postures that trigger your central nervous system to a deeper and subtler energetic form within your body and create openings and channels.
So, Kriyas are, they’re very broad, and they’re, and they can still be invented; an individual exploring yoga, or another form of another modality of postures, can find these sequences within themselves in time. It can be a very creative and liberating exercise where you start developing your career once you understand the underlying system and what’s taking place. So that is generally what a career is. It’s a sequence of postures to create an energy awakening in your body.
Postures and Sequences
NourishDoc: Okay, so let’s discuss what a sequence would look like. Like, talk to us about a sample sequence containing different postures. Most of us understand different postures in yoga, and they talk to us a little bit. Is it a cat and cow followed by a downward dog? Those kinds of things. What does it look like?
Yoga Expert Gian: All right, yeah, so a sequence of postures, an example to begin with. Let’s start with the deepest of our being, breathing. So we would begin with breathing and actually triggering the deeper muscles of our body that are involved with respiration, inspiration, and exhalations and then we would move into some gentle movement such as rocking the pelvis back and forth and maybe creating a bit of a pelvic bowl, a pelvic roll, and then sliding one leg out and extending the leg on an exhale and bringing it back on an inhale.
Then alternating legs through those breath patterns and then maybe rolling the bum off the ground, pressing up off the feet, up to a bridge, and then, rolling down, and then, rolling over onto your tummy, and doing a gentle extension of the spine off the hands, lifting the chest, the sternum, and elongating the neck and then, coming down and moving back into what we call a child’s pose where we’re resting our bum towards our heels and we’re resting on our knees and that would be a career, that would be a sequence of postures that formed an energetic movement within your central nervous system.
Sequence of Breathing Techniques in a Kriya
NourishDoc: What about practicing pranayama along with the Kriyas? Is that part of the Kriyas also, or would it be something separate?
Yoga Expert Gian: No. Also, a sequence of different styles of breathing can be a Kriya, and this brings us this is going into the deeper aspects of looking up the six cleansing Kriyas is a really good way to gain a deeper understanding of the subtler aspects of our body that we can train and develop a heightened sense of more subtle awarenesses of our body and our systems.
NourishDoc: So, what would be breathing Kriya look like? Like, would it be like involving Bhastrika Pranayama, then alternate nostril? The way you work, talk to us about the sequence of the postures. You could talk to us about a sequence of breathing techniques in a Kriya.
Yoga Expert Gian: Okay, yeah. Long, deep breathing is a really good place for anyone to start in pranayama, and so working on a long, deep breath that has an equilibrium in the sense of the amount of air we take into our body and the amount of air we release from our body. That there’s an equilibrium that we’re not breathing in very deeply and then breathing out very shallowly or that we’re not breathing in very shallowly and then exhaling a tremendous amount of air.
We find an equilibrium between the amount of air we bring in the piranha and the air we shout the Apana. We find that equilibrium in our breathing, and then on top of it, we also find that it brings us into the rhythm. So as we find the equilibrium of the prana that we’re bringing in and the Apana we’re pushing out, then we also start to sink into that rhythm of our breathing, and that brings us into a really deep sense of our subtler nervous system and the aspects that are operating in our cellular, nervous system, and that would be a Kriya that’s focusing on the pranayama.
NourishDoc: So the one I understand is one Kriya would be of different postures that you explain. Then the other Kriya could be a set of breathing techniques followed one after the other in a sequence that would make a Kriya for breathing and the Kriya for postures, right?
Yoga Expert Gian: Yes, and you could mix them up. There are no rules, you could mix them up, and it can be a very intuitive process as you pick up more postures and breathing techniques. It can be something that you follow your intuition on any given day to move through. However, any individual will find techniques that they find more beneficial and develop a heightened skill level that they’ll take to practice daily because they feel called to it. It’s giving them some benefit in their body that they can feel and acknowledge.
Daily Routine For Good Health
NourishDoc: So, simple daily routine, what would you recommend that we do, like, should we do a small sequence of the postures, along with the breathing, daily, to maintain our health, right? What is your recommendation?
Yoga Expert Gian: The breath in most aspects of yoga you’re going, you’re going to notice that breathing is mentioned. It is at the forefront. So, sitting still, finding some calmness in your nervous system, and working on some deep rhythmic breathing is a good place to start to develop a higher sense of what yoga is focusing towards and how it can be a tool for you throughout a lifetime, and that is a wonderful aspect of yoga that I like to mention is that it’s a tool opening our mind and heart to the capacity for a practice that is developing throughout our lifetime and beyond.
It’s helping us open up to something that takes us into another aspect of our journey as a soul in a human body. It has the potential to help us develop through our entire life and beyond and develop the connection with that and the capacity for it.
NourishDoc: Okay. Well, thank you so much. This is a 10-minute session that we wanted to bring to understand what Kriya is and how it can help our health. Anything else you like to add before I wrap up this session?
Yoga Expert Gian: It’s great to be here; wonderful to have the opportunity to talk with you. Thank you, and I hope everyone feels inspired to get involved with their breathing and the deeper aspects of our being and share that.
NourishDoc: Absolutely, and I want to add that there’s much research that validates all these breathing techniques, we can’t go into all the details right now, but enough research, as you know, has been done on how different types of breathing techniques can help with our nervous system and also with help with our chronic conditions and so many other ailments that, that one can have, right? So, learning to breathe properly and practicing breathing is critical for health. With that, thank you so much and Namaste, and thank you so much, Gian, for joining us tonight; I appreciate that. Thank you.