Sodarshan Chakra Kriya – Part 1
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Sodarshan Chakra Kriya Video
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Pranayama, the science of breathing and breath control, is undoubtedly one of the greatest arts one can learn and practice for spiritual growth and personal development. It holds within itself the power to transform the lowest most gross to the highest most refined. This transforming power of pranayama can act upon any and all levels of your being, whether that be physical, emotional, mental or spiritual (energetic). This science has been perfected over the centuries in the East and was mostly kept secret, only handed down verbally from Guru to a deserving disciple. Now, it is much more available to those who seek it, but I still feel that the knowledge really only finds those who are deserving of it. Having said that, life has brought you here now, so take this opportunity and discover the tremendous power of the Science of Pranayama.
The 3 Pranayamas I am going to present here are typically not for beginners. Fortunately, all 3 have modifications, which you can start out with first before building up to the advanced techniques. I will also present these modifications here and I strongly suggest you start with them first before jumping ahead to the advanced techniques. In moving forward sanely, gently and systematically you will prepare the system to better handle the affects of the advanced forms. This systematic approach is not only much safer, but is also better for extracting the full benefits of the pranayamas. Part 1 of this series is about Sodarshan Chakra Kriya. Before I go into Sodarshan Chakra Kriya, I want to give some quick guidelines that should be followed for all 3 pranayamas in this series.
Basic Guidelines for practicing Pranayama:
- Do not practice any advanced pranayama if you are unwell. Only do light easy pranayamas.
- Clothing should be loose and should not restrict the movement of the abdomen. Our breathing is already very shallow, we don’t need to compound the issue further by hampering the natural movement of our diaphragm.
- Your stomach should be empty. Which means you need to wait at least 2-3 hours after a meal before practicing pranayama.
- If possible practice in the early morning. Early morning is the best time to practice your sadhana (spiritual work). For more information and help on this you can read The Secret on How to Become an Early Riser.
- You should sit in a comfortable position, preferably in some variation of cross legged (sukh asana). For more information on sukh asana or other positions you can sit in (like a chair) see Silent Mind Meditation Program: Basic Meditations – Chapter 7.
- Most importantly, DO NOT STRAIN. I cannot emphasize that enough. Take your time, you will enjoy your practice more and you will be able to establish a regular routine as you will not dread doing your daily work.
- One last thing. The pranayamas being taught here, when practiced sincerely over time, can bestow great power to the practitioner. Normally, these techniques were not transcribed and as mentioned earlier, were taught only to those held in great trust, so I ask you to respect that trust and agree to not in any way misuse the powers obtained from the practices described below.
Sodarshan Chakra Kriya:
Background: Sodarshan Chakra Kriya (set) was taught to me by my Kundalini Yoga teacher Ravi Singh who studied it under the guidance of Yogi Bhajan. It dates back a few thousand years and is reputed among all the known Yogas, including Kundalini Yoga, to be the most powerful Pranayama exercise there is. You will notice that it is called a kriya, although a kriya typically is a complete set of asanas and yogic exercises (see Introduction to Kundalini Yoga for more information on kriyas and how Kundalini Yoga works in general), it also applies in some cases to a single exercise, which is very complete in and of itself. Sodarshan Chakra Kriya is a pranayama exercise that is exactly that, very complete and also very powerful.
Benefits of Sodharshan Chakra Kriya: The superlatives describing Sodarshan Chakra Kriya are lavish to say the least. In Yoga terms it will give you Nao Niddhi (the nine precious virtues) and Artha Siddhi (the 18 occult powers). These 27 facets contain all of human life and in acquiring them you perfect all that can be perfected in a human. Given this Kriya’s reputation for bestowing Psychic and Yogic Powers, it is is often practiced by those interested in acquiring these siddhis (powers). There is no harm in this, as long the powers are used for the benefit of others and to assist you in your spiritual progress. This kriya, though, is equally valuable to those interested in the final goal of human life – to see and merge with the Divine Non-Dual nature of Reality. This is because, it is very effective in dissolving the blockages (granthis) caused by frozen emotional debris in the nadis (the channels for the movement of Kundalini Energy) and as the channels are purified greater flow of kundalini is facilitated allowing for the chakras (energy vortexes) to be activated and balanced. In turn, the activation of the chakras and this greater flow of Kundalini Shakti (energy) leads to the refinement of awareness which allows one to penetrate the veil of illusion – that Reality consists of duality.
Sodarshan Chakra Kriya also dramatically improves your physical wellbeing. In fact, as you practice it you will start to feel quite invincible over time. It expands your nervous system, respiratory system and helps your digestive system. I find that the most profound health benefit is a boost to the immune system when I practice this kriya regularly. Overall the kriya promotes peace, joy and strength.
Description of Sodarshan Chakra Kriya: Sit up straight, have your spine erect and bring head back slightly (not up) so your chin is subtly drawn in and back like a soldier at attention. This aligns your spine with the back of your head and is also called Jalandhara Bandha. Your eyes should be 1/10th open looking down at the tip of your nose. Rest your left hand on your left knee. Block your right nostril with your right thumb and have the remaining fingers pointing upwards. Now breathe in deeply through the left nostril filling your lungs to capacity. Lower your right hand now and place it on your right knee. With your breath held in (Antar Kumbhaka) begin to pump your stomach (pulling in the abdominal muscles) to the mantra “Wahay Guru”. You will pump your stomach 3 times for each iteration of Wahay Guru. Once for Wa, once for Hay and once for Guru. The mantra should be chanted mentally of course, since the breath is held in. Chant for a total of 16 Wahay Gurus, so for a total of 48 stomach pumps with the breath held in. Then raise your right hand, close off the left nostril with your right pinkie and breathe out of your right nostril. This completes 1 cycle – breathe in through left nostril, hold and pump, breathe out through right nostril. Continue to repeat this cycle for the duration of the kriya.
Duration: There is no formal time duration for Sodarshan Chakra Kriya; it is left up to the practitioner to determine what is right for them. Below I will give the recommendations when I discuss the modifications.
Beginners Sodarshan Chakra Kriya: Modify kriya as follows: Do only 1 pump for each chant of Wahay Guru. So in total with your breath held in you will do 16 pumps per cycle. Also, reduce the force of the pump to where you are comfortable. Start with 3 minutes and build up to 11 minutes. The kriya should be practiced daily.
Intermeditates Sodarshan Chakra Kriya: Modify kriya as follows: Do only 2 pumps for each chant of Wahay Guru. One for Wahay and one for Guru. So in total you will do 32 pumps with your breath held in per cycle. Pump your stomach with a moderate force. You should try to do 11 minutes, then go to 22 minutes and then to 31 minutes daily.
Advanced Sodarshan Chakra Kriya: Do the kriya as described above in the description section. You should be pumping your stomach with full force and you should do 31 minutes daily. The commitment should be to do 40 days without missing a day, 31 minutes each day. This was exactly the requirement by Ravi for his Kundalini Yoga teacher’s training course as well. If you miss a day, you go back to 1 and start over till you complete 40 days.
Perfected Sodarshan Chakra Kriya: Yes there is more, you are not done yet :-D. To do the perfect and complete kriya and thus extract the maximum benefit and reach super human caliber, the requirement is to do 62 minutes per day and build it up to 2 1/2 hours everyday. If you can discipline yourself to do that, the kriya will provide everything needed in all areas of your life.
Design of Sodarshan Chakra Kriya: This kriya bestows its many blessings by taking full advantage of many important aspects of Pranayama and Yoga numerology. Below are some of the details behind this successful design.
- Breathing in through the left nostril activates the right hemisphere of the brain. This hemisphere is responsible for your meditative, creative and artistic powers. Activating it helps unleash and grow these aspects of your nature.
- The number 16 is associated with the Ajna Chakra, also know as the Third Eye, Divine Eye or the Eye of Shiva. Chanting the mantra Wahay Guru 16 times activates Ajna Chakra, which is responsible for many psychic abilities and the power of intuition and wisdom.
- The mantra itself, Wahay Guru, means ecstasy beyond words and represents one’s higher consciousness. Chanting this mantra attracts this divine energy towards one.
- Pumping the navel helps ignite and awaken Kundalini Shakti so she can make her ascent up the primary Nadi (Shushumna) all the up to the Crown Chakra (Sahasrara Chakra) activating, rejuvenating, balancing and healing all the other Chakras and associated organs in her path.
In part 2 and 3 of this series I will describe and detail 2 more powerful Yoga Pranayamas that I hope will be of value to you in your spiritual growth and personal development.