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.

Most Powerful Yoga

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. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Sotantar,

    Yes, absolutely agree and your teacher has given very sound advise regarding this. 31 mins a day of the full form of Sodarshan Chakra Kriya is a good level to achieve and stay at till one develops the necessary systems to handle more of the energy this kriya promotes.

    I also recommend using other “Pitta” (heat) pacifying techniques when doing Sodarshan Chakra Kriya to keep the Doshas in balance.

    It is great to have your presence and input here on Mastery of Meditation.

    Cheers,
    Anmol

    Reply
  2. Sotantar Singh
    Sotantar Singh says:

    I would be carefull if you are not a experienced yogi to do sodarshan chakra kriya more than 31 minutes a day.
    One of my teachers said, you have to master your 3rd chakra first, by doing about 5 minutes of stretchpose every day to make shure you can stand the heat and have an open manipura chakra to let the kundalini energy easily pass it.

    Reply
  3. iiiiii
    iiiiii says:

    Can i do all 3 of this powerful pranyamas? will clear my nadis faster? Is it safe to use them all at diffrent times of the day?

    Reply
  4. Sotantar Singh
    Sotantar Singh says:

    Sat Nam Anmol,
    as I promised, I write some of my experiences with the sodarchan chakra kriya. Today is my day 100. Unfortunatly I can’t say much about the effects of the meditation, because the last 100 days I did 6 meditations every day. So I really can’t sort out where effects come from. May be I find out the next 900 days:-)

    So far I can just tell you something about the technical side of it. When I started, I had massive problems with pumping the navel 48 times. After 3 minutes it started to get more difficult to pump it. By 7 minutes it was sometimes painfull. I forgot to say, that I did sck 11 minutes every day about 20 minutes after getting up and sometimes one more time before going to bed.

    I did not know that there are easier versions by then. After about 40 days it became much easier without pain. One round was about 35 to 45 seconds. When I was concentrating this was usually no problem. But when I started being absorbed by whatever thoughts, it immediately got like hell to do the 16 times of the mantra. It was like dying with no breath left to do more pumps. With concentrating on the nosetip again the panic disappeared very soon.

    After 50 days I took my right hand down on my knee in gyan mudra between the times of blocking the nostrils for breathing. I found it more comfortable not having my hand in my vision all along the meditiation.
    The last 30 days it was getting more easy every day. What helped a lot, was when I started to do the one minute breath lately. You know breath in for 20 seconds, hold it in for 20 seconds and breath out for 20 seconds. May be this takes quite a while to learn and establish, but it is certainly supporting the sck.

    I will give you some more feedback later. May be I will discover something more.

    All the best from Sotantar Singh

    Reply
  5. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Dear Vedik,

    Yes you can substitute Vajra Asana for sitting cross legged. You can also sit up on a chair. Most important is to keep the spine straight.

    Best,
    Anmol

    Reply
  6. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Dan,

    No, not a problem. Just be careful of too much heat being generated in your system. If you find yourself running too hot, slow down and let me know, I will suggest some countering techniques.

    All Good Wishes,
    Anmol

    Reply
  7. anthony
    anthony says:

    anmol im doing this kriya in class 101
    im tempted to hear about the benefits, but im just going to let them come by suprise

    Reply
  8. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi C,

    Sodarshan Chakra Kriya will certainly help, I suggest building up to 31 mins at a capacity that you are comfortable with. You can intersperse 16 pumps whenever the 48 become too much.

    Other meditation that would help, would be So Hum Mantra Meditation, with keeping in mind that your True Self is not the mind/body/senses but the infinite Witnessing Consciousness. I feel this can be helpful to you, specially as you have mentioned that your state of mind influences the strength of the negative feelings within you.

    All Good Wishes,
    Anmol

    Reply
  9. Richard
    Richard says:

    Hi, I am new to the site and am really interested, but I am not exactly sure what “stomach pumping” is, and if I actually have a proper technique for this exercise. Is there a video you could refer me to?

    Reply
  10. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Sat Nam Sotantar,

    Your energy is coming right through the blog my friend:-D.

    The third most powerful pranayama, in my opinion of course, got integrated into the Online Yoga Pranayama E-book that I later put together for the website.

    It is Anuloma Viloma Pranyama (or Alternate Nostril Breathing). I only have the basic version available here on the website. Here is that link if you are interested…

    Anuloma Viloma (Nadi Shuddhi Pranayama)

    Would love to hear your experiences with Sodarshan Kriya when you time to share.

    Cheers,
    Anmol

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] This Kundalini Yoga Technique, which I indicated as one of the Most Powerful Yoga Exercises, has proven to be of enormous benefit to many, including your’s truly.  With this technique though, I do suggest to be careful about over heating the system as it can generate a lot of internal heat if done for long periods of time.  Here is what one yogi had to say about Sodarshan Chakra Kriya in a recent email: It’s a great relief that you have posted such a powerful meditation (sodarshan chakra kriya), because I am a very depressed person and with very weak character. […]

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