Yoga Breathing Exercise #7: Surya Bedhi Pranayama
Right Nostril Breathing
Background of Surya Bedhi Yoga Pranayama (Right Nostril Breathing):
"Simple Yet Powerful", that is the apt description for Surya Bedhi Yoga Pranayama, also called Right Nostril Breathing. This breathing exercise simply requires one to isolate and breathe exclusively through the right nostril, the result of which is to ignite and activate the Sun channel (Pingala Nadi). Here is a brief overview of the Kundalini Yoga channel system to help understand better how this breathing exercise works and delivers it’s many excellent benefits.
In Kundalini Yoga there are 3 primary channels (nadis) for the flow of energy through the Chakras: Ida, Pingala and Shusumna (Read Introduction to Kundalini Yoga and Kundalini Yoga Seven Chakra System for more info on Chakras or Energy Centers). The Ida and Pingala can be considered the lunar and solar channels respectively and run alongside the Shusumna, which is the central channel running through the center of the spine. The Ida Nadi is responsible for cooling, feminine, passive, mental energy and the Pingala Nadi responsible for hot, male, active, physical energy. Breathing through the Right Nostril activates Pingala Nadi, thus increasing energy and heat in the system.
This is the ninth chapter of our Free Online Yoga Breathing Exercises E-Book.
Benefits of Surya Bedhi Yoga Pranayama (Right Nostril Breathing):
- Increases energy in the body.
- Creates vitality and gives strength for physical work.
- Fights malaise and lethargy.
- Alleviates depression and other aliments related to low energy and down emotions.
- Excellent to combat timidness and shyness.
Cautions for Practicing Surya Bedhi Yoga Pranayama (Right Nostril Breathing):
- If you have heat related issues you should not practice Surya Bedhi Pranayama.
- Very similar cautions as Bhastrika Yoga Pranayama (Bellows Breath), where you should be careful if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or suffer from stroke or epilepsy. Also, if you have acid or heat related gastric issues such as ulcers you should use caution.
How to Do Surya Bedhi Yoga Pranayama (Right Nostril Breathing)::
- To practice this yoga breathing exercise, sit up in a comfortable position. Preferably in a variation of sukh asana (cross legged). You may also sit on a chair if you like, with your back straight.
- Elongate your spine upwards, lengthen your neck and subtly bring your chin back and in like a soldier at attention. This will align the spine with the back of your head.
- Fold your index finger and middle finger into the palm of your right hand so just the thumb, ring finger and pinkie are extended. Hold your knee with your left hand.
- Close your eyes if you like.
- Bring your attention to your breathing and take 5 deep, slow breaths though the nose. This will oxygenate your blood and relax you. For the rest of the exercise the attention should remain on your breath.
- Now gently close the left nostril with your right ring finger and pinkie and breathe long, slow and deep through the RIGHT nostril only.
- You should inhale as well as exhale through the right nostril only, keeping the left nostril closed with your ring finger and pinkie.
- Do a round of 10 repetitions and then inhale completely, hold your breath in for 1-5 seconds and then exhale completely. Over time you can build up to 5-15 minutes of this pranayama. Be sure though to start slowly and work your way up.