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What Is Sudarshan Kriya

History of Sudarshan Kriya

Sudarshan Kriya, a powerful breathing technique, has its roots in ancient Indian wisdom and spiritual practices. Developed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living Foundation, Sudarshan Kriya is a rhythmic breathing pattern that aims to harmonize the mind, body, and emotions.

Origins of Sudarshan Kriya

Sudarshan Kriya finds its origins in the traditional breathing practices of Pranayama and Yoga. These practices have been passed down through generations and are known for their profound impact on mental and physical well-being. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar recognized the immense benefits of these breathing techniques and refined them to create Sudarshan Kriya.

Contribution of Ancient Yogic Texts

The knowledge and techniques of Sudarshan Kriya have been derived from ancient Indian yogic texts, such as the Patanjali Yoga Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita. These texts emphasize the importance of breath control and its connection to the mind and emotions. Sudarshan Kriya incorporates these principles to bring about a state of deep relaxation and inner peace.

Introduction of Sudarshan Kriya to the World

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar introduced Sudarshan Kriya to the world in the 1980s through the Art of Living Foundation. Since then, it has gained popularity and recognition for its transformative effects on individuals from various backgrounds. Sudarshan Kriya workshops and courses are now conducted worldwide, enabling people to experience the benefits of this profound breathing technique.

Evolution and Global Impact

Over the years, Sudarshan Kriya has evolved and adapted to the needs of modern society. Scientific research has been conducted to understand its effects on mental and physical health. The Art of Living Foundation has collaborated with renowned institutions and universities to study the impact of Sudarshan Kriya on stress reduction, emotional well-being, and overall quality of life.

Reach and Acceptance

Sudarshan Kriya has been embraced by millions of people around the world, including individuals from all walks of life, cultural backgrounds, and religious beliefs. Its simplicity and effectiveness have attracted people seeking relief from stress, anxiety, and other mental and emotional challenges. Sudarshan Kriya has also found application in various fields like psychology, education, healthcare, and corporate wellness programs.


Sudarshan Kriya is a powerful breathing technique that has been practiced for thousands of years in the ancient tradition of yoga. It is a rhythmic breathing pattern that incorporates specific sequences of inhalation, retention, and exhalation. Sudarshan Kriya is known for its ability to bring about a deep sense of relaxation and rejuvenation, leaving practitioners feeling refreshed and peaceful. In this article, we will explore the three stages of Sudarshan Kriya and how they contribute to its overall effectiveness and benefits.

The Three Stages of Sudarshan Kriya

Stage 1: Ujjayi Breathing

The first stage of Sudarshan Kriya involves practicing Ujjayi breathing. This is a specific breathing technique that involves deeply inhaling through the nose while audibly contracting the muscles at the back of the throat. The exhalation is done in a similar manner, with a controlled and audible release of breath. Ujjayi breathing has a calming effect on the mind and helps to establish a connection between the breath and the body.

Stage 2: Bhastrika Breathing

The second stage of Sudarshan Kriya is called Bhastrika breathing, also known as the "bellows breath." In this stage, rapid and forceful inhalations and exhalations are performed through the nose. The inhalation is accompanied by a strong contraction of the diaphragm, while the exhalation is powerful and forceful. Bhastrika breathing helps to energize the body, increase oxygen intake, and release accumulated tensions.

Stage 3: Om Chanting and Meditation

The final stage of Sudarshan Kriya involves chanting the sound of "Om" and practicing silent meditation. This stage aims to integrate the previous two stages and deepen the meditation experience. Chanting "Om" has a profound impact on the body and mind, promoting a sense of harmony and well-being. The silent meditation allows practitioners to connect with their inner self and experience a state of deep relaxation and inner peace.

Benefits of Sudarshan Kriya

Sudarshan Kriya, a powerful rhythmic breathing technique, is an integral part of the Art of Living programs. Practiced by millions of people worldwide, it has gained popularity for its numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits. This article will delve into the various advantages of Sudarshan Kriya, highlighting the positive impact it can have on one’s overall well-being.

1. Stress Reduction and Relaxation

Sudarshan Kriya is known for its ability to reduce stress and induce a deep state of relaxation. This technique incorporates specific rhythms of breath that help harmonize the mind and body, leading to a calm and peaceful state. Research studies have shown that practicing Sudarshan Kriya regularly can lower cortisol, the stress hormone, resulting in reduced anxiety levels and an improved sense of well-being.

2. Improved Mental Clarity and Focus

Regular practice of Sudarshan Kriya can enhance mental clarity and concentration. This breathing technique oxygenates the brain, increasing its alertness and improving cognitive function. By calming the mind and eliminating mental chatter, Sudarshan Kriya allows individuals to stay focused and present in their daily activities.

3. Enhanced Emotional Well-being

Sudarshan Kriya has been found to positively impact emotional well-being. Research suggests that it can effectively alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. The rhythmic breathing pattern of Sudarshan Kriya stimulates the release of beneficial neurotransmitters like serotonin, which are responsible for regulating mood. This can lead to a heightened sense of happiness, contentment, and emotional stability.

4. Improved Respiratory and Cardiovascular Health

Sudarshan Kriya involves controlled breathing that utilizes the full capacity of the lungs. This deep breathing technique helps improve lung functionality, maximizing oxygen intake and expelling toxins. Additionally, the rhythmic breathing patterns involved in Sudarshan Kriya have been shown to improve cardiovascular health by enhancing blood circulation and reducing the risk of heart disease.

5. Boosted Immune System

Practicing Sudarshan Kriya regularly can have a positive impact on the immune system. Studies have found that this technique increases the production of natural killer cells, which are essential for fighting off infections and diseases. By strengthening the immune system, Sudarshan Kriya helps individuals maintain optimal health and vitality.

6. Increased Energy Levels

Sudarshan Kriya is known to boost energy levels and combat fatigue. The deep breathing technique employed in this practice helps optimize oxygen utilization by the body, rejuvenating both the mind and the body. Regular practitioners often experience a natural increase in energy and vitality, enabling them to accomplish tasks more efficiently and effectively.

Scientific Explanation of Sudarshan Kriya

Sudarshan Kriya is a powerful breathing technique that has gained popularity for its numerous health benefits and stress-relieving properties. While it may seem like a simple practice, there is actually a scientific explanation behind its effectiveness. By understanding the science behind Sudarshan Kriya, we can better appreciate its transformative effects on the mind and body.

The Role of Breath

Breathing is often taken for granted, but it plays a vital role in our overall well-being. The way we breathe can directly affect our physical, mental, and emotional states. Sudarshan Kriya emphasizes rhythmic breathing patterns, which have been shown to have a profound impact on our nervous system.

Regulation of the Nervous System

Sudarshan Kriya incorporates specific breathing techniques that help balance the activity of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response, while the parasympathetic nervous system promotes relaxation and recovery. The practice of Sudarshan Kriya helps regulate these systems, creating a state of balance and harmony within the body.

Increased Oxygen Levels

During Sudarshan Kriya, there are different phases of controlled breathing, including slow, medium, and fast-paced breaths. This variation in breathing patterns helps to increase oxygen levels in the body. Higher oxygen levels promote better cell function and overall well-being. By incorporating deep breathing into our daily routine, we can optimize our body’s oxygen supply and promote optimal health.

Stress Reduction

One of the most well-known benefits of Sudarshan Kriya is its ability to reduce stress. When we experience stress, our breathing becomes shallow and rapid, leading to a cascade of negative effects on our nervous system. Sudarshan Kriya reverses this process by encouraging deep, slow breathing, which activates the relaxation response in the body.

Mental Clarity and Emotional Stability

Sudarshan Kriya has been found to enhance mental clarity and promote emotional stability. The steady flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain nourishes the neural pathways and helps improve cognitive function. Additionally, the practice of Sudarshan Kriya releases accumulated stress and negative emotions, leading to a greater sense of inner peace and balance.

Overall Well-Being

Incorporating Sudarshan Kriya into your daily routine can have far-reaching effects on your overall well-being. It has been found to improve sleep quality, boost immune function, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. By practicing this powerful breathing technique, you can enjoy a greater sense of vitality and vitality in all aspects of your life.

How to Practice Sudarshan Kriya

Sudarshan Kriya is a powerful breathing technique that has been practiced for centuries and is known for its numerous health benefits. This technique involves a unique rhythmic pattern of breathing that helps to calm the mind, reduce stress, and improve overall well-being. If you’re interested in incorporating Sudarshan Kriya into your daily routine, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to practice it effectively.

Step 1: Find a Comfortable Space

To begin your practice, find a quiet and peaceful space where you won’t be disturbed. This could be a corner of your home, a park, or any place where you feel comfortable. Ensure that the environment is clean and free from distractions. It’s essential to create a serene atmosphere that allows you to focus inward.

Step 2: Sit in a Comfortable Position

Once you have found your space, sit in a comfortable position. You can choose to sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground or cross-legged on a cushion or yoga mat. Ensure that your spine is straight, allowing for a smooth flow of energy throughout your body. Relax your shoulders and place your hands on your lap, palms facing upward.

Step 3: Relax and Center Yourself

Before you begin the actual practice of Sudarshan Kriya, take a few moments to relax and center yourself. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, allowing any tension or stress to melt away. Bring your awareness to the present moment and let go of any thoughts or worries. This is a time for you to connect with yourself and prepare for the practice ahead.

Step 4: Follow the Rhythmic Breathing Pattern

The core of Sudarshan Kriya lies in its unique rhythmic breathing pattern. It consists of three distinct stages โ€“ slow breathing, fast and intense breathing, and alternate nostril breathing. To start, spend a few minutes practicing slow breathing. Inhale deeply through your nose, counting to four, and then exhale slowly through your mouth, also counting to four. Repeat this slow breathing pattern for a few minutes, allowing your body and mind to relax further.

Step 5: Begin Fast and Intense Breathing

After practicing slow breathing, it’s time to transition to fast and intense breathing. Take a deep breath in through your nose and forcefully exhale through your mouth, making a "ha" sound. Continue this rapid breath for several minutes, allowing your breath to become deeper and more forceful with each cycle. This stage helps to release any stagnant energy or emotions stored within your body.

Step 6: Practice Alternate Nostril Breathing

The final stage of Sudarshan Kriya is alternate nostril breathing. Begin by closing your right nostril with your right thumb and inhale deeply through your left nostril. After a full inhalation, close your left nostril with your right ring finger and exhale through your right nostril. Inhale again through your right nostril, close it, and exhale through your left nostril. Repeat this cycle for several minutes, ensuring a smooth and steady flow of breath. This stage helps to balance the energy within your body and bring about a sense of harmony.

Step 7: Gradually Return to Normal Breathing

As you complete the practice of Sudarshan Kriya, gradually return to normal breathing. Take a few deep breaths, slowly open your eyes, and take a moment to reflect on your experience. Notice any sensations or changes within your body and mind. It’s essential to give yourself time to integrate the practice before moving on with your day.

Comparing Sudarshan Kriya with Other Breathing Techniques

Sudarshan Kriya is a unique breathing technique that has gained popularity for its numerous benefits on physical, mental, and emotional well-being. In this article, we will compare Sudarshan Kriya with other breathing techniques to understand its distinct qualities and advantages.

Pranayama Techniques

Sudarshan Kriya falls under the umbrella of pranayama techniques, which are ancient Indian practices that involve controlling the breath to balance the body and mind. Although there are similarities between Sudarshan Kriya and other pranayama techniques, Sudarshan Kriya distinguishes itself through its dynamic and rhythmic nature.

Other pranayama techniques often focus on specific breath control patterns, such as alternate nostril breathing or deep breathing exercises. While these techniques offer their own benefits, Sudarshan Kriya incorporates a series of dynamic and cyclical breathing patterns, which enables a deeper and more holistic experience.

Breathwork Therapies

Breathwork therapies have gained attention in recent years as effective tools for stress reduction, healing, and personal transformation. Sudarshan Kriya, with its rhythmic and cyclical pattern, aligns itself with the principles of breathwork therapies, making it a powerful tool for self-exploration and inner growth.

However, what sets Sudarshan Kriya apart from other breathwork therapies is its systematic and structured approach. Sudarshan Kriya consists of three distinct stages: slow, medium, and fast-paced breathwork. This systematic progression helps to regulate and balance the energy in the body, making it a comprehensive and transformative practice.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a popular practice for cultivating present-moment awareness and reducing stress. While mindfulness meditation primarily focuses on observing the breath and thoughts, Sudarshan Kriya takes a more active approach.

In Sudarshan Kriya, the breath becomes a powerful tool for self-transformation and inner healing. The dynamic breathing patterns used in Sudarshan Kriya engage the body and mind, encouraging the release of physical and emotional blockages. This active engagement sets Sudarshan Kriya apart from traditional mindfulness meditation practices.

Holistic Well-being

One of the key advantages of Sudarshan Kriya is its ability to promote holistic well-being. Unlike other breathing techniques that may focus on a specific aspect, Sudarshan Kriya incorporates physical, mental, and emotional dimensions of our being.

The rhythmic breathing patterns of Sudarshan Kriya help to release accumulated stress and tension from the body. This, in turn, has a positive impact on our mental and emotional state, promoting clarity, calmness, and a sense of well-being.

Additionally, Sudarshan Kriya has been found to have a positive effect on various physiological systems, such as the respiratory, cardiovascular, and immune systems. This comprehensive approach makes Sudarshan Kriya a valuable practice for overall health and vitality.


In conclusion, Sudarshan Kriya is a powerful breathing technique that has its roots in ancient Indian traditions. With a history dating back thousands of years, it has been used as a tool for promoting physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. The practice of Sudarshan Kriya involves three distinct stages – slow-paced breathing, fast-paced breathing, and a combination of both. This rhythmic pattern of breathing helps to release accumulated stress and negative emotions, leading to a state of deep relaxation and inner peace.

There are numerous benefits associated with Sudarshan Kriya. By practicing this technique regularly, one can experience reduced stress levels, improved concentration, enhanced mood, and increased energy levels. Sudarshan Kriya has also been found to boost the immune system, promote better quality sleep, and help individuals overcome addictions and unhealthy habits. Moreover, it has been shown to have a positive impact on conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

From a scientific perspective, Sudarshan Kriya can be understood as a process that generates a state of physiological coherence in the body. This involves synchronizing the breath with specific rhythms to influence the autonomic nervous system. The combination of slow-paced and fast-paced breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system and induce the relaxation response. This, in turn, leads to a reduction in stress hormones and an increase in the production of feel-good neurotransmitters such as serotonin.

To practice Sudarshan Kriya, it is recommended to learn from a trained instructor who can guide you through the three stages and ensure proper technique. Generally, the practice involves sitting in a comfortable position and following the instructions for each stage, which typically last for about 20-30 minutes. It is advisable to practice Sudarshan Kriya on a regular basis, ideally daily, to experience its full benefits.

When comparing Sudarshan Kriya with other breathing techniques, it stands out for its unique combination of slow and fast-paced breathing patterns. While other techniques may focus solely on deep breathing or specific breathing exercises, Sudarshan Kriya offers a comprehensive approach that incorporates various rhythmic patterns. This makes it a more holistic practice that targets the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of the individual.

In conclusion, Sudarshan Kriya is a time-tested technique that has been embraced by millions of people worldwide. Its rich history, combined with the scientifically proven benefits, makes it a valuable tool for managing stress, improving mental health, and enhancing overall well-being. By incorporating Sudarshan Kriya into your daily routine, you can experience the transformative power of this ancient practice and unlock a sense of inner peace and harmony. So why not give it a try and embark on a journey of self-discovery and self-improvement with Sudarshan Kriya?