3 Most Powerful Yoga Pranayamas and Kriyas – Sodarshan Chakra Kriya – Part 1

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.

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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:

  1. Do not practice any advanced pranayama if you are unwell.  Only do light easy pranayamas.
  2. 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.
  3. Your stomach should be empty.  Which means you need to wait at least 2-3 hours after a meal before practicing pranayama.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The mantra itself, Wahay Guru, means ecstasy beyond words and represents one’s higher consciousness.  Chanting this mantra attracts this divine energy towards one.
  4. 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.

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341 replies
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  1. Sotantar Singh
    Sotantar Singh says:

    Sat Nam,
    I just found this fantastic site in a google search for sodarshan kriya. I am on day 34 of doing sck 11 minutes a day. Great to see so many posts regarding this kriya.
    I will write some of my expiriences later.
    For now I am still wondering what the 3rd powerfull kriya is.
    When can I read the 3rd part?

    Thanks a lot Sotantar

    Reply
  2. C.
    C. says:

    Hello,

    Thanks for all the great information on your website, it is nice to be able to read about others successfully practicing and I also read Nisergatta too (and live in NJ). Also the energy coming off your site is totally fantastic.

    Was wondering if you could help me out with some information — I started this kriya listed, not too long ago, and then came across your site. The question I have is: have been trying to do the maximum pumps and at times when I feel stronger I can manage it for 11 minutes, there are times when I get tired toward the end and cannot hold my breath as long so I do the three pumps for wha-hey-guru, but don’t do 16 reps. of all three pumps. Is it better for me to start with your beginner style and work that up to 31 min. or more and then try to do more pumps and hold my breath longer etc. Or is it okay to not do the full amount of reps for part of the time etc.?

    I am hoping that this Kriya is going to help me with negativity that has been lurking in my life due to past abuse issues where I reacted negativly to it and the negativity that was pushed out on me when I was a young child, it seems to have logded in the tissues in my body and becomes active at certain times of the month, I have tried many different things and nothing has helped except receiving energy from someone who is highly advanced and powerful, which does help, but I don’t want to have to rely on that. So far I have noticed that this kriya helps but if I am not in the right place mentally to begin with it seems a lot less effective and doesn’t take the negativity away.

    Hoping that with time and a longer duration it will be effective.

    Do you also have any other suggestions for making my vibration very high with a high amplification of it? In my one study, and also Dr. Hawkins teaches that only a stronger energy can overcome another. (only the stronger spiritual energy can overcome a carnal energy if the spiritual one is stronger). This is my goal to be able to overcome that negative to build my spiritual energy so high and strong that it will overcome anything else. Any suggestions? One mentor had me trying everything that Nisergatta talks about in his book. I was working at it, but the negative energy still went about doing it’s thing and it makes me physically ill. I feel like the carnal energy has a consciousness and life of it’s own and is constantly trying to take me over. The most frustrating this is that I don’t want to be that and know what is happening yet so far have been unable to stop it. This has only started 9 yrs. ago when I went through trauma, had been on a spiritual path, and went to therapy where they urged me to “feel all my feelings” and it was all to my detriment — those feelings will not go away now….

    Thanks so much!!!! Appreciate your help.

    C.

    Reply
  3. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Dear Andrea,

    You humble me with such kind words. I am glad the site is helping you reestablish the practice, which seems to be blossoming from within you.

    Thank you for your presence and participation on Mastery of Meditation, and would love to have you join us in class anytime.

    All Good Wishes,
    Anmol

    Reply
  4. andrea
    andrea says:

    Dear Dear Being:
    I have practiced Kundalini yoga on occasions and with several teachers (all students of Yogi Bahjan’s teachings), but have been unable to find someone I can take classes with in my area. I will be starting the beginners class tomorrow to review and get back in the rythm of a practice. The timing of this is so very guided and an immediate answer to my request of the universe and my guides and masters.
    God bless you and keep you in His loving hands always for your offering on your website.
    Now I can finally study, follow and create a consistent practice of a “discipline” which my body has always reacted to as if it knows exactly what it is doing (my body moves in the direction and position seconds before the teacher describes the position) even when my head knew nothing.
    I have been reading Guru Rattana’s work for years and know Mahanrishi and Nurbakaur, but they are over an hour away, so difficult to take classes with them. I would very much enjoy coming to your studio (I live in cherry Hill) at some point in the near future to meet such an amazing being.
    In deep gratitude and joy for all you do and for your presence on this planet,
    Andrea

    Reply
  5. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Tatiana,

    I know, I know. I have been asked to get the pregnancy and kids yoga sections up and running. It is planned for the near future.

    For now, the general recommendation is not to do any breathing exercise that requires to to pump the abdomen vigorously. So if the pranayama requires that, do it only gently.

    Also, careful about pranayamas generating too much heat in the body, as your blood supply is already going to be up 50% and you are going to be feeling quite hot as it is. So again, do these breathing exercises only gently.

    Hope this helps. Hope to get more detailed info up on the blog soon.

    All Good Wishes,
    Anmol

    Reply
  6. Tatiana
    Tatiana says:

    Hi Anmon,
    I would like to start breathing exercises and yoga. But where can I find out which breathing exercises and yoga postures that are not recomended during pregnancy?
    Thanks, Tatiana

    Reply
  7. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Sagy,

    Yes you will definitely improve, but please, if 16 is a strain, begin instead with 8 and work your way up. It is never good to strain when practicing pranayama.

    Also, you can just have the eyes 1/10th open looking down and not worry so much about concentrating on the tip of the nose. If necessary you may also close the eyes.

    Let me know how your progress goes.

    All Good Wishes,
    Anmol

    Reply
  8. sagy
    sagy says:

    I have been practicing SCK for a few days and I am unable to hold my breath for 16 Wahay Gurus and keeping my eyes 1/10 open while staring at the tip of my nose, will I be simply improve on this through practice?

    Reply
  9. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Carol,

    You had posted here a few days ago and asked for your comment not be made public regarding Breath of Fire, Sodarshan Chakra Kriya and Depression. I have tried to email you back but it has bounced back. My recommendation for depression is to try So-Hum Mantra meditation as that is often indicated to help cure depression. Please also email me at anmol@anmolmehta.com to discuss further your questions. Here is the link to So-hum mantra meditation…

    http://anmolmehta.com/2007/05/16/so-hum-mantra-meditation-technique-free-guided-meditation-book-for-daily-practice/

    Best,
    Anmol

    Reply
  10. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Susan,

    The approach you have taken of relaxed steady progress is perfect. In this push push push get results world, many could learn from your attitude and devotion.

    Blessings,
    Anmol

    Reply
  11. susan
    susan says:

    MMM… I am not so sure I want to acquire these siddhis. I already could hear what people think before this kriya, and believe me…not that interesting. What this kriya can help do, though, is not be so focused on the chattering outside. People talking start resembling chickens clucking.

    I stay with 40 minutes per day, but it’s rather easy. I am slow to move, so I don’t really move up in time unless I absolutely have to. Like today, 40 min came and went like a breeze, but I would probably wait a long time before moving up in time.

    Concerning the heat… I have limited experience, but I did notice that my stomach is a lot more finicky about food choices…otherwise, it will reject it… I’ve also found myself craving mineral water, unleavened bread, middle eastern food…

    I was wondering that even though this kriya is supposed to clear out the nadis…but knowing that the heart chakra is one of the hardest chakras to open up, could it be that the prana acquired on the lower chakras are stuck in between the Muladhara and the heart?

    Reply
  12. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Chris,

    I certainly suggest to undertake a pitta pacifying diet and lifestyle if you find yourself “heated” within or exhibiting irritability as a result of SCK. You can get an introduction to this (Ayurveda and Self Healing) in the following article, but, I will put up the details of “sheetali pranayama” which will also help cool the system. Extra heat long term will create imbalances which you should take steps to avoid.

    http://anmolmehta.com/2007/08/14/introducing-ayurveda-alternative-medicine-for-self-healing/

    Best,
    Anmol

    Reply
  13. Chris Charles
    Chris Charles says:

    Susan great to hear that you are keeping up. Nonchalance and seeing through duality to see things are they are. Should more garbage come up and your having a rough time back off on the time. If in a time crunch just do 5mins. to maintain the energy pattern. 1000 days for mastery. I find my day goes so much smoother with SCK..i do it every morning. Pump lightly during mentral period. Like you i wish a had discovered KY at 20 rather than 30. It would have saved me from alot of heartache. Wahe guru- 500 days ? 22mins. Keep up and you will be kept up. I´d like to know if any veterans out there would be willing to give their input 1000+ days or people who do it 62mins. Sometimes i find excessive heat can make me snappy after. Mantak chias 6 healings sounds of tao are specifically for dealing with heat in the organs and getting rid of it. I´ve found this to be a nice addition. Only takes 10 mins. Could this heat be hurting us as well as purifying us. YB died at a relatively young age compared to other yoga teachers. Could he have cooked himself by raising kundalini through the fire channel repeatedly. I know alot of people complain about excessive heat after white tantra. Tao meditation brings chi/prana down through the water channel and stores in the belly. What is your opinion of the this? I´m continuing with 1000 days of SCK but would like to hear what longtime practitioners would have to say. KY has changed my like and for that I´m grateful but have some reservation about overheating my body and organs which are sensative. I posted on the yahoo group kundalini yoga so far noone has anything to say about this Respectfully, Chris Charles

    Reply
  14. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Susan,

    Great to hear this. I am sure your abiding passion will inspire many on their own journeys.

    BTW: The siddhis are provided by Sage Pantanjali in Book 3 of the Yoga Sutras. They include psychic powers such as astral travel, clairvoyance, clairaudience, move instantly in time & space, levitation etc…

    Reply
  15. susan
    susan says:

    Everything they say about this kriya is true….. it’s been roughly 32 days since I started this kriya… I don’t think I’ll stop… it will become a part of my daily life… the first thing I do when I wake up…. sometimes, I skip my kundalini yoga routine in the morning for lack of time, but I do not skip this kriya… I am now up to a relaxed 40 minutes per day, and even hear the mantra for the rest of the day… that continual beautiful rhythm…my dreams at night have had lots of water in the form of rain, downpours, snow, even hail… sorta like a cleansing of the whole system. The only regret I have is not have discovered it sooner, but I suspect the universe and it’s workings have saved the best for last. It has affected the rest of my kundalini work in a positive way, esp the upper chakras… I feel the subtle body a lot more strongly when I do kundalini yoga after the sck.

    Thanks again Anmol for the guidance…

    Reply
  16. susan
    susan says:

    Dear Anmol:

    It’s really becoming a daily habit without much effort + I am hearing beautiful music in my head when I am zoned out. Some of the habits I’ve given up is the eating of junk food. I switched to a vegetarian diet about a month ago, but have “made up the difference” through supplementing my diet with useless junk food… after doing SCK for a week, I no longer “need’ satisfying my desire for junk food.

    I was wondering about the Nao Niddhi (the nine precious virtues) and Artha Siddhi (the 18 occult powers)…. I am not desirous of gaining these, but I would like to know what they are, so I am not surprised in case I acquire any one of these.

    highest regards,
    Susan

    Reply
  17. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Dear Susan,

    Yes 40 days is the minimum requirement for establishing a new routine. Furthermore, it is recommended to try to master a Kundalini Yoga Kriya and experience its benefits, as opposed to only dabbling in various Kriyas “lightly”. The 40 days is a time frame within which you should start to experience some of the benefits that Sodarshan Chakra Kriya bestows.

    I have not studied the Mantra work of Thomas Ashley-Farrand, but, the difference here is that SCK uses a combination of Mantra w/ Pranayama and Bandhas to accelerate the benefits, as opposed to techniques that just utilize chanting. So from a Mantra point of view, they are probably equivalent, but, from a Kriya point of view more mechanisms besides just Mantra are utilized to expedite the gains.

    Cheers,
    Anmol

    Reply

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  1. […] Welcome to the Free Online Book of Kundalini Yoga Exercises & Kundalini Yoga Kriyas (sets).  Kriyas are a set of Kundalini Yoga exercises which are done in a particular sequence and work on a specific theme (such as the immune system, willpower, particular chakra, abdominals, etc).  In some cases a kriya can be just a single, powerful Kundalini Yoga exercise, such as Sodarshan Chakra Kriya.  This book in an ongoing collection of these Kundalini Yoga sets and this article will contain an updated index to help you easily select the kriyas you wish to incorporate into your yoga practice. […]

  2. […] In my teacher’s training course, we had to do the Powerful Sodarshan Chakra Kriyas for 31 minutes a day for 40 days.  In addition, the agreement was that if we missed a day, we have to start over :-).  That is the type of character you must have in order to break out of mediocrity and live at your highest potential.  I am sure you can can lose the weight you seek to lose, burn the excess fat you do not need and get health and fit.  You have the potential, you have the power, just hone your intent and commit to your yoga or fitness routine.  What do you have to lose…. except the weight ;-). […]

  3. […] Anmol Mehta is a Yoga Teacher & Zen Expert. His extensive site, Free Guided Chakra Meditation & Kundalini Yoga Poses, offers Free Kundalini Yoga Pranayamas & Sets. Also find lively spiritual discussions on the Free Guided Chakra Meditation Practice, Kundalini Yoga Pranayamas & Zen Meditation Blog. […]

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