Surya Bhedana Pranayama is a type of breathwork technique that has been practiced for centuries in Hindu and Buddhist traditions. This ancient practice is said to bring about a myriad of benefits, such as increased energy, improved digestion, and increased focus and clarity. The practice involves breathing only through the right nostril, holding the breath , and then exhaling through the left nostril. In this guide, we’ll explore What is Surya Bhedana Pranayama, the benefits of Surya Bhedana Pranayama, as well as how to do it correctly. By the end, you’ll have a greater understanding of how to safely and effectively practice this powerful breathwork technique.
What is Surya Bhedana Pranayama?
Surya Bhedana is a Yoga Pranayama or a type of breathwork that has been practiced for centuries in Hindu and Buddhist traditions. The Sanskrit terms “Surya” and “Bhedana” translate to “sun” and “penetrating or piercing” respectively, which are symbolic of what this practice aims to do.
In yoga, the right nostril represents solar energy or Surya or Pingala Nadi. The Surya Nadi is associated with the activity; therefore, breathing through it can affect the flow of prana, which activates the sympathetic aspects of the body.Since it is related to the Sun, Surya Bhedana Pranayama is also known by the name:
- Surya Bhedi Pranayama
- Surya Nadi Pranayama
- Sun piercing breath
This ancient practice is said to bring about a myriad of benefits, such as increased energy, better cardiovascular health, improved digestion, and increased focus and clarity.
There are many variations and modifications of Surya Bhedana Pranayama. A few of the most popular include Surya Bhedana Pranayama with Jalandhara Bandha, Surya Bhedana Pranayama with Ujjayi breath, Surya Bhedana Pranayama with Mura-samadhi, and Surya Bhedana Pranayama with Moola-bandha.
Benefits of Surya Bhedana Pranayama
Surya Bhedana Pranayama is known for bringing about many positive benefits, some of which are as follows:
- Activates the sympathetic nervous system- Surya Bhedana Pranayama helps activate the sympathetic nervous system, thereby increasing the vitality or life force of the body.
- Improves Physical Performance- Surya Bhedan Pranayama, an energizing breathing technique, helps improve the yogi’s physical performance by infusing fresh energy into the body.
- Aids in Digestion- Surya Bhedana Pranayama increases the digestive fire of the body, which helps boost your metabolism, which can, in turn, also improve your digestion.
- Improves Focus and concentration- Surya Bhedana Pranayama is very effective in helping practitioners improve focus, clarity, and mental capacity.
- Effective for stress management- This right nostril breathing helps manage stress by effectively reducing stress, anxiety and depression.
- Clears sinuses- Heating and warming properties of Surya Bhedana Pranayama helps to clear the frontal sinuses in cold and humid weather.
- Helpful in weight loss– Regular practice of Surya Bhedan Pranayama helps increase metabolism, which helps in weight loss.
- Balances Vata and Kapha Dosha- According to Ayurveda, Surya Bhedan Pranayama increases the body’s heat and temperature and thus helps balance Vata Dosha and Kapha Dosha.
People with Pitta dosha are advised to consult an expert before practicing this breathing technique.
- Helps in Spiritual Awakening- According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Surya Bhedan Pranayama, engaging with the Bandhas (inner locks) balances the Ida and Pingala nadis and forces Prana into the Sushumna central Nadi or channel, which may lead advanced practitioners to spiritual awakening.
- Better Heart Health- Pranayama gives all the benefits of deep breathing and provides enough oxygen in the blood, which, combined with a healthy lifestyle and diet, helps maintain good heart health and prevent heart diseases.
Precautions to consider before practicing Surya Bhedana Pranayama
Although practices like Surya Bhedana Pranayama are quite safe to perform, it’s important to consider any potential health conditions you may have before you begin.
- This pranayama should always be practiced in the morning on an empty stomach or 4-5 hours after a meal.
- If you have any pre-existing conditions, such as high blood pressure or heart disease, or if you are pregnant, you must consult your healthcare provider before beginning a new practice.
- It’s also important to be mindful of practicing Surya Bhedana Pranayama in the summer season.
- Take your time with the process and gradually increase your speed. Also, reduce your breathing rate if you feel even the slightest discomfort.
- This pranayama should be avoided when suffering from fever because the Sun piercing breath increases body heat.
- It is also advised not to practice Surya Bhedana Pranayama during indigestion, diarrhoea or acid reflux.
How to do Surya Bhedana Pranayama?
- Begin the practice of Surya Bhedana Pranayama by sitting in any meditative posture such as Padmasana (Lotus Pose) or Sukhasana (Easy Pose).
- Make sure you are sitting straight and keep your hands on your knees.
- Close your eyes and focus on your natural breath pattern.
- Make Vishnu Mudra with your right hand and bring it close to your face. Close the left nostril with your ring finger. Make Gyan Mudra with the left hand and keep it on the left knee.
- Keeping the left nostril closed, take a deep breath through the right nostril.
- After inhaling, close the right nostril with the thumb and hold the breath for some time.
- Keeping the right nostril closed with the thumb, release the pressure of the ring finger and little finger from the left nostril and exhale from the left nostril.
- Continue this process of Surya Bhedana Pranayama for 5-10 rounds or as long as desired. Always remember to inhale through the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril during Surya Bhedana Pranayama.
How to do Surya Bhedana Pranayama with Jalandhara Bandha?
Jalandhara Bandha, or the chin lock, is a technique commonly used in conjunction with Surya Bhedana Pranayama. This variation of the practice is said to help to strengthen the upper portion of the body, and it’s particularly beneficial during the winter months.
- To perform this variation, begin the Surya Bhedana Pranayama practice as described above.
- Once you’ve inhaled completely through right nostril, hold your breath and apply Jalandhara Bandha.
- To do this, press your tongue against the back of your upper palate, and apply firm pressure to the chin and the back of the head by pressing your palms together.
- Hold the breath for as long as it is comfortable.
- Before exhaling, release Jalandhara Bandha and exhale through the left nostril.
How to do Surya Bhedana Pranayama with Mula-bandha?
The Mula-bandha technique is also known as the root lock and is another variation of Surya Bhedana Pranayama that can be practiced in a seated position.
To start practicing, follow the complete steps mentioned above.
During the retention process, stretch your anus upwards to form mula bandha while doing this form of Surya Bhedana Pranayama.
Tips for getting the most out of your practice
Once you’ve gotten the hang of the practice and noticed the benefits, it’s important to continue with your practice to maintain the benefits. As with any physical activity, you can expect to feel soreness and discomfort as you begin your practice.
However, as your body becomes more accustomed to the movements and positions, you can expect the discomfort to subside. While you’re getting used to the practice, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to prepare for your practice.
Surya Bhedana Pranayama is an excellent breathing exercise to help improve your respiratory system. In this article, we have provided a step-by-step guide on how to properly do the Surya Bhedana Pranayama.
We hope that you found this article helpful and that you will be able to improve your respiratory health by incorporating this breathing exercise into your daily routine.
Read more articles