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Benefits of Sudarshan Kriya and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

By Dr. Ankit Sankhe +2 more


In recent years, life has been moving at an increasingly quick speed and we can see the changes in the world around us when we pay close attention. A more attractive environment created illness which created increased environmental pollutants, psychosocial disorders, altered food patterns, and a poor diet. Our health is being negatively impacted by the culture that we are following and the high levels of stress. Yoga is now being embraced by many individuals as a remedy to these changes.1Yoga has been practised for ages and represents the idea of a healthy way of life. It has recently grown in popularity throughout the world and is now recognized as an alternative medicine approach. Yuj, which indicates union in Sanskrit, is where the word “yoga” comes from. It represents the fusion of personal consciousness (jee-vatma) with cosmic knowledge (Paramatma). It might ultimately lead to a state of bodily and mental health.1,2 

What is Sudarshan Kriya? 

Sudarshan Kriya has its roots set in traditional yoga and is a specific form of a yogic practice called pranayama. Pranayama is a unique part of yoga which focuses on breathing. It is mainly based on balancing the nervous system and may help with the psychological stress-related disorders which have risen in recent times.1 Sudarshan kriya is a type of cyclic controlled breathing. It has distinct components in it which are as follows: 

  • Ujjayi or victorious breathing: Slow breathing technique and we can experience physical and mental calmness. 
  • Bhastrika or Bellow Breath: Fast breathing technique which causes excitement after calmness. 
  • Chanting of Om: This is for prolonging the breathing out process. 
  • Sudarshan Kriya: Slow, medium and fast cycles of breathing.1 

Also Read: Benefits of Sukhasana (Easy Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

According to the literature I have come across, Sudarshan Kriya might enhance your immune function. It may increase immune cell counts in both healthy and health-compromised individuals, improving your body’s defence against infections and diseases.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

How to do it? 

To practice Sudarshan kriya, you must follow the given steps: 

  • First, you will have to do the ujjayi or victorious breath and it is a slow breathing stage in which you must breathe slowly 2-4 breaths per minute. This allows, consciously experience the breath touching the throat. While taking each breath in and out, there is increased resistance in the airway which in turn allows the breath cycles to be prolonged. Thus, one will be able to achieve the said count of breaths per minute. This allows us to experience calmness both physically and mentally. 
  • Next is the Bhastrika stage in which, we must inhale air rapidly and exhale it forcibly. You ensure to maintain around 30 breaths per minute during this cycle. This leads to excitation followed by calmness. 
  • This is followed by the chanting of Om. The word Om is chanted three times and ensures that the expiration is prolonged during this stage. 
  • The last stage is the Sudarshan kriya, which is an advanced stage that consists of cyclic, rhythmic breathing and consists of slow, medium and fast cycles.1 

In my experience, Sudarshan Kriya might offer several benefits for cardiovascular health. It may help to lower heart rate and blood pressure, promoting a healthier cardiovascular system. Additionally, practising Sudarshan Kriya has been shown to potentially improve cholesterol and triglyceride profiles, which are important markers of lipid health.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Do You Know? 

  • Sudarshan kriya is relatively new, yoga and breathing techniques have been practised for a very long time. Sudarshan Kriya is a new yoga practice that has been introduced by the founder of the Art of Living Foundation. This practice has been introduced in 1982 by his holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Ji. 
  • The words Sudarshan and Kriya are in Sanskrit and translate to “proper vision by purifying action” where su means right, darshan means vision and Kriya simply means a purifying action.2  

Also Read: Benefits of Bhastrika Pranayama and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

Benefits of Sudarshan Kriya: 

Sudarshan kriya may be beneficial to both mind and body in which Sudarshan kriya may reduce stress and depression. Some of the potential uses of Sudarshan kriya are: 

1. Benefits of Sudarshan kriya for Stress: 

Sudarshan kriya might help in reducing the anxiety levels in humans and may help in the stabilisation of mental activity, brain function and relief from stress. This might help relieve the common symptoms of stress such as insomnia (inability to fall asleep). It was found in studies that the Sudarshan kriya yoga (SKY) practice might help in attaining an improved sleep quality by reducing stress and anxiety.1Furthermore, a comparison study done on various yoga practices on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) showed that the practising Sudarshan kriya has better outcomes. Sudarshan kriya yoga might provide a “corrective emotional experience” for healing deep emotional wounds and might also heal cognitive distortion (negative ways of thinking) which, is usually caused due to traumatic experiences.1 

2. Benefits of Sudarshan kriya for Depression: 

A group of researchers led by Janakiramaiah have found that Sudarshan kriya might be helpful for people with mild and melancholic depression. Noticeable differences in the reduction of depression might be observed in the people who practised Sudarshan kriya. However, more research is required to prove these claims.1 

3. Benefits of Sudarshan kriya for Tobacco Addiction: 

A study conducted on cancer patients with a habit of tobacco noticed that cancer patients who completed their standard therapy may control their tobacco habit with the help of Sudarshan kriya practices. However, more research is required regarding these effects.1 

4. Benefits of Sudarshan kriya for Oxidative stress: 

Research has noted that psychosocial stress (stress caused due to psychological and social situations) might also lead to an increase in oxidative stress in the body. Few studies have shown that practising Sudarshan kriya yoga might lead to a decrease in oxidative stress. In a study conducted by Sharma et al., it was seen that blood lactate (indicator of oxidative stress) levels were lowered in people practising the SKY technique. It was further noted that the levels of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione were increased. This indicates a boost in the antioxidant activity which also contributes to the lowering of oxidative stress. Therefore, Sudarshan kriya might help in reducing oxidative stress in the body.   However, more research is necessary for claims.1 

I would suggest practising Sudarshan Kriya for your overall respiratory health. It has been found to have a possible positive impact on respiratory function. Thus by incorporating deep, rhythmic breathing patterns, Sudarshan Kriya enhances your respiratory well-being.

Dr. Smita barode, BAMS

5. Other benefits of Sudarshan kriya: 

Gebrag and Brown found in their study that Sudarshan kriya might be helpful in certain medical conditions: 

  • It may give relaxation to chronic fatigue 
  • It may give relief to fibromyalgia (Muscle or musculoskeletal pain) 
  • It might relieve joint pain  
  • It might reduce asthma  
  • It might fight against multiple sclerosis 
  • It might relieve neck and back pain 
  • It might relieve chronic pain 
  • It might fight against cancer  
  • It might fight against diabetes 1 

However, more research is required to prove these claims. 

Yoga practice may help develop the mind and body; however, it is still not an alternative to modern medicine. You must not rely on yoga alone to treat any condition. Please consult a qualified doctor who will be able to assess your condition correctly and advise accordingly. Moreover, it is necessary to practice and learn yoga under the supervision of a trained yoga teacher to avoid any injuries.  

Also Read: Benefits of Ustrasana (Camel Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Ankit Sankhe

Risks of Sudarshan Kriya 

There is a requirement for more research and exploration to state the effects of the Sudarshan kriya on the body, including the risks that it might have. 

With the guidance of a qualified and experienced yoga teacher/yoga expert, we can access and analyse the risk factors and continue to practice exercise with precautions.  


Sudarshan kriya is a specific form of pranayama in which cyclic breathing is performed. It might help in calming the body and mind. It mainly includes four distinct stages in the practice: Ujjayi (victorious breath), Bhastrika (Ballow Breaths), chanting of Om and Sudarshan kriya. It might be beneficial for reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, it might have risks too which need to be explored by further researchers. Kindly ensure to seek guidance from a qualified and experienced yoga expert before practising it. 

Also Read: Benefits of Gomukhasana (Cow Face Pose) and How to Do it By Dr. Himani Bisht

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is Sudarshan kriya good for depression? 

Yes, Sudarshan kriya might help in reducing the symptoms of depression when practised regularly.1 If you have depression problems, consult your doctor and do not self-medicate.  

Are there any benefits of Sudarshan kriya for insomnia? 

Yes, Sudarshan kriya might be beneficial for insomnia which is one of the common symptoms of stress. It has been seen in studies that it might help in the attainment of improved sleeping patterns. 1 

Can Sudarshan kriya help in curing cancer? 

There are no reports that claim the beneficial effects of Sudarshan kriya for cancer. There is a need for more research on this subject. 

Is Sudarshan kriya an easy exercise? 

Sudarshan kriya is a cyclic, rhythmic, breathing yogic practice. It consists of four distinct steps such as Ujjayi, bhastrika, chanting of om and Sudarshan kriya. It is relatively easy and can be performed under proper guidance.1   

What are the benefits of Sudarshan kriya? 

Sudarshan kriya might be beneficial for people with anxiety, stress, depression, tobacco addiction, pain, and stress-related medical conditions. However, more research is required to prove the effectiveness of these exercises in detail. Kindly ensure to practice this exercise only under the expert supervision of a yoga teacher.1  


1. Zope S, Zope R. Sudarshan kriya yoga: Breathing for health. Int J Yoga [Internet]. 2013;6(1):4. Available from: http://www.ijoy.org.in/text.asp?2013/6/1/4/105935 

2. Vagga A, Akarte NR. Sudarshan Kriya A Novel Breathing Technique. Int Jouranl Anatoy Physiol Biochem [Internet]. 2017;4(7):7–14. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/321376819_Sudarshan_Kriya_A_Novel_Breathing_Technique 

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