The Sudarshan Kriya, a powerful rhythmic breathing technique that facilitates physical, mental, emotional and social well-being is an integral part of Art of Living programmes.
It is preceded by Ujjayi Pranayam or long and deep breaths with constriction at the base of throat and Bhastrika or fast and forceful breaths through the nose along with arm movements.
It is today universally acclaimed for its effectiveness in eliminating stress and bringing one completely into the present moment.
As H. H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar puts it, the Sudarshan Kriya came to him like an inspiration to bridge the gap between the worlds of inner silence and outer expression of life.
Nature is replete with various rhythms and cycles – day follows night, night follows day, seasons come and go. Similarly, there are biological rhythms to our bodies, minds and emotions. When these rhythms are in sync, we feel a sense of harmony and well-being. When stress or illness throws them out of order, we experience discomfort and discontent and feel upset and unhappy.
‘Su’ means proper, ‘darshan’ means vision, and ‘Kriya’ is a purifying practice. The Sudarshan Kriya is therefore a purifying practice, whereby one receives a proper vision of one’s true self. This unique breathing practice is a potent energizer.
Every cell becomes fully oxygenated and flooded with new life, bringing a sense of joy in the moment. And when we feel good about ourselves, love flows naturally in all our relationships with others.
The rhythmic breathing pattern of Sudarshan Kriya harmonizes the rhythms of the body and emotions and brings them in tune with the rhythms of nature. The breath connects the body and mind. Just as emotions affect our patterns of breathing, we can bring about changes in our mental and behavioral patterns by altering the rhythms of our breath. It flushes our anger, anxiety and worry; leaving the mind completely relaxed and energized.
SRI SRI EXPLAINS THE SUDARSHAN KRIYA:
“I was already teaching meditation and yoga. But I felt there was something that was lacking. Though people do their spiritual practices, their life is in a sort of a compartment. They do their prayers, meditation and spiritual practices but when they come out in life, they are very different people. So, I was thinking how we can bridge this gap – between inner silence and outer expression of life. During a period of silence, the Sudarshan Kriya came like an inspiration. After I came out of the silence, I started teaching whatever i knew and people had great experiences.”
“After kriya, many people feel so pure and so clear, so complete, because the consciousness, which was stuck in the matter, material, which is foreign to itself, got released from that and came back to its home.That is the sense of purity, feeling of purity.”
“We need to do a cleansing process within ourselves. In sleep we get rid of fatigue, but the deeper stresses remain in our body. Sudarshan Kriya cleanses the system from the inside. The breath has a great secret to offer.”
“Sudarshan Kriya is a breathing technique Combined with meditation.
See there is a rhythm in the nature, right? In the same way, there is a rhythm in the body. We have Physiological rhythm. Morning you have nature’s call, then you get hungry, then you feel sleepy. There is a particular bio rhythm we call. There’s a “chandasva”, what we call “chandha”. There is a rhythm in the mind also. Thought Pattern. And there is a rhythm in the emotional pattern. If you observe in one year, A particular time of the year, You feel differently. Anger, Interest or enthusiasm. They all come in certain patterns in life, in our spirit inside. Sudarshan kriya is harmonizing all these rhythms. So it brings that rhythm and takes about 6 days to learn, 2 hours each day.”
Prana level (Life force energy) and Sudarshan Kriya
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: There are ten types of Prana (the subtle life force energy). Of these, there are five major and five minor kinds of Prana. Today let me just talk about the five major types of Prana.
The first major type of Prana is called Prana which arises from your navel upwards to the top of the head.
Then there is another type of Prana that goes downwards from the navel, and it is called Apana.
When the Prana level is too high, you cannot sleep; you can get insomnia and you feel very jittery. However, if the Apana level is too high, you feel so dull that you do not even want to get off the bed. Have you had this experience? Sometimes you feel so heavy, gross, and dull. This is due to the imbalance of Apana.
The third type of Prana is Samana which is present as the digestive fire in the digestive system, i.e., in the stomach. It is the agni or the fire that helps digest the food.
Samana is that which helps indigestion, and it also helps other bodily systems. It helps in balancing the system.
Then there is Udana Vayu or Udana Prana which is somewhere near the heart region and is responsible for emotions.
In Sudarshan Kriya, people cry or they laugh, and you find that all these emotions well up. This is due to the Udana Vayu. So this Udana Vayu is responsible for all the emotions.
Then the fifth type of Prana called Vyana which is responsible for all the movement in the body. It is spread all over the body.
In Sudarshan Kriya, you feel some tingling, some energy all over the body. Have you all experienced this?
What happens in Sudarshan Kriya is, all the five Pranas get balanced, and that is why you cry, or you laugh, and you feel a tingling all over the body. That is the specialty of Sudarshan Kriya.
You also tend to feel very hungry after the Kriya, is it not so?
So, these five Prana in the body run our lives.
If Samana is imbalanced, then it gives rise to digestive problems, and you cannot digest the food properly, or you may experience nausea. All this happens because of an imbalance of the Samana Prana.
When Udana Prana is stuck, you feel an emotional block that also affects your thinking and your mind.
When the Vyana which is all over the body is imbalanced, then you have joint pain, or movement trouble, and either you become too jittery and restless, or you may feel like you do not want to do anything.
Moving around anywhere in such a state gives discomfort and creates restlessness in the body. All this is caused by the Vyana imbalance.
After Sudarshan Kriya, you would have noticed that all these imbalances go away. Has this not happened to all of you?
All earlier discomfort in the movements of the body, or its circulation, or some pains due to Vyana imbalance, all disappeared after Sudarshan Kriya.