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

Sodarshan Chakra Kriya – Part 1

Most Powerful Yoga Pranayama Free Video

Sodarshan Chakra Kriya Video

YouTube Direct Link –> Kundalini Yoga Kriya Video – Sodarshan Chakra Kriya


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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340 replies
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  1. Danae
    Danae says:

    Hello Anmol,

    Today is my first day of the 2 week Kundalinin program. I’m having difficulty getting beyond 10 – 12 pumps with the Sodarshan Chakra Kriya exercise. I think I’m pumping gently but perhaps I’m pumping too hard? Any suggestions?

    Thank you,

  2. ra
    ra says:

    Dear Anmolji

    Interesting to read above, that gazing at the tip of the nose stimulates the root chakra. I was thinking that maybe in the future, if you had time, you might possible write articles about such details, as this and others (purpose of a specific mudra in a kriya, why the tongue is not touching roof of the mouth, etc…) or include them when actually giving instructions for an exercise. Doing such would probably also allay a lot of question-asking from your community too.

    Also, is the no-pumping variation of SCK as effective as the pumping one? Does it do something different?

    Be well.

  3. ra
    ra says:

    SCK:Thank you for your ever-so-helpful advice Anmolji….always a sweet surprise to find your replies waiting for me and to see the new ones given for others!

    Bless You!!!!

  4. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Liam,

    Sat Nam.

    Thank you for your feedback and valuable input.

    I was taught 1/10th open and prefer that too. As I have mentioned in some comments above there are some variations to this meditation, but the key is to get the basics right and trust your inner guru to guide you.

    All Good Wishes,

  5. Liam
    Liam says:

    Hello friend, I enjoyed your detailing of Sodarshan Chakra kriya, a powerful meditation indeed. In your description of how one performs the meditation, you said that the eyes are supposed to be 1/10th open, pointed at the tip of the nose. In the Kundalini teacher trainer’s manual, it simply says “eyes open on the tip of the nose.” Not half, not 1/10, but just open. So, this is something to consider, especially if you’re doing the meditation for 1000 days for 2 1/2 hours a day.

    Sat Nam Jio!


  6. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Tommy,

    Try it with eyes simply 1/10th open, looking down (not gazing at the tip of the nose). This will reduce the affect on the Root Chakra abit, but is only a minor adjustment, so give it a try.

    If that does not work either, then you can try with your eyes closed.


  7. Tommy9
    Tommy9 says:

    Thanks Anmol,and one more thing the only problem im facing with SCK is focusing on the tip nose it gets quite hard about 15 minutes into it will the effects be lessened with the eyes closed? I used to do it with eyes closed focusing on the chin and got great visuals.

    Cheers Tom

  8. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Rohit / Ra,

    There are several small variations to Sodarshan Chakra Kriya, even one by Yogi Bhajan himself is a little different (no pumping).

    Get the basics right and don’t overdo it, is rule number 1. Do it sincerely and you will be fine. You can lower your right hand if needed and hold it in Gyan Mudra.

    You can hold our left hand in Gyan Mudra or use it to count.

    These variations are fine. Again, I want to stress the importance of developing slow and steady. Imbalances created due to haste, will only delay your development.

    All Good Wishes,

  9. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Dear Ra,

    A deep and wide understanding is needed to answer your question regarding Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo. Sometimes partial answers can do more harm than good. Such complex questions are of course better understood in a personal discussion, but nonetheless here goes :-)

    “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” is essentially a request to the Substratum for protection and guidance. In life no guarantees are given. The only near guarantees are the interpretations and extrapolations of clairvoyants based on visions from this Substratum, but in general life is unknown, thus the Mantra.

    In working with Kundalini, we are applying ourselves to the development of our potential and in chanting this mantra, we are saying to the Substratum, that we are working towards the Jump to Non-Duality / Oneness, please guide and catch us, as we put ourselves exclusively in your hands.

    This Substratum will do all that is necessary and in reciting this Mantra you remind yourself of that, and acknowledge it’s power and presence.

    Direct access and encounter with the Substratum is generally a function how you spend your energy. So live wisely, be good and do good, and Infinity will protect and uplift you.

    God Bless,

  10. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Dear Tushar,

    Sat Nam.

    Steady increasing is certainly the right approach, but I would suggest moving ahead with the time and level when you can do so without much strain. So keep listening to the body and move ahead when the body is ready. Doing too much, too soon of this powerful exercise (or other potent pranayamas) is not recommended.

    Great to see and feel your passion for spiritual mastery.

    All Good Wishes,

  11. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Tommy,

    Great to hear you are developing your capacity. Slow and steady is the name of the game here.

    Yes you can do this meditation several times per day, but it is important to note that a single sitting of 22 minutes, has some additional benefits which (2) 11 minute sessions do not. That logic extends to all lengths of time of course.

    All Good Wishes,

  12. Tommy9
    Tommy9 says:

    Anmol i am up to 22 minutes of SCK,On the Indiadevine website I heard people say that it was ok to do this meditation twice or three times a day what do you think this is ok?

  13. ra
    ra says:

    Dear Anmol Ji,

    The video mentioned above, has some explanations presented on the site that is linked to it.

    They say:

    SCK is a formula and should be practiced exactly as it has been handed down. I realize the purpose of your presentation of the three stages for developing a full practice, but the preliminary stages do not make use of the actual original formula, though the end-stage does. They mention that Yogi Bajhan was adamant about this, so it creates a bit of confusion.

    Since the preliminaries are used for quite some time, before the final stage, one would hope we are working correctly.

    I know some of us have only these Internet contacts to structure our practices around, so when advisors differ in their aproaches, it can cause conflict in the students.

    They also advise doing the Shaking Exercise with the entire body (rather than just from the hips up) which, i guess, would require standing, rather than being in a sitting posture?

    I am very passionate about the practice the way Tushar is , and want to do it right.

    Could you comment on these two points and maybe also include a response about what “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” protects us from? (From my last question that you responded to).

    Thank you for all you do,



  14. rohit
    rohit says:

    dear anmol i have a few doubts regarding sck,
    firstly i would like to show you a video.
    please visit the link below.
    i hope you have seen it,
    in your post you advised to put the right hand ( blocking the right nostril) after inhaling
    but in the video i have seen that he continue holding his hand even while pumping the navel.is it correct?if not, after putting the right hand down do we have to hold it in gyan mudra
    is it necessary that the left hand should be in gyan mudra,if so in the video we can see that the person uses his left hand the keep track on the number of breaths.is it wrong?

  15. tushar
    tushar says:

    Anmol sir

    Namastey i am from india u r great u share this potent kriya to as and i am so passionate about yogic shddhi and super truth
    at first day after i read the article i strat with 32 iteration for 31 min after i get so calm
    and mantra was reapatedly sound in my mind but i decide for 16 iteration. this is my
    15 day of SCK

    i start SCK 16 pumps 31 min for 33 or 40 day
    and plan to reach
    15days 31 min (once a day)
    15days 31min (twice a day)

    and than 32 pumps 62 min for 33 or 40 day

    15days 62 min (once a day)
    15days 62 min (twice a day)

    at last 48 pums 2.30 min for 40 days or even more.

    please sir check out is any thing wrong with my plan for SCK
    (my stomach get a little cool after this kriya it is somthing wrong?)

    oum shanti

  16. n.p.
    n.p. says:

    Dear Anmol! Hi ! Loved your site. Come to you for dire help!! Usually a highly enrgetic person, i suffered from over exercise August 2008. It’s been 8 months of bed rest and a very slow recovery. From a point of no movement, minimal talking, minimal laughing and maximum sleeping I have come to a point of 40% of my usual routine and talking and laughing quota.

    The thing that helped me was neurotherapy and yoga. In yoga I focused on my lungs and my spine. Did anulom voilom, and gentle kapaal bhaathi…

    My Current problems are – if I sit for longer than half day, talk at a stretch for more than 20 minutes I get completely short of breath. Then my leg muscles begin to feel weak and my spine tingles ever so softly.

    Please advise me what yoga asana I can do to bring back my lung capacity (i could play badminton for 2 hours at a stretch – now only 5 minutes…:( )

    And also what I can do to strengthen my heart muscles.

    Please help me get my life back on track! … I had to quit my job when I was at bed rest and even now my energies have do not sustain me for even minimal exertion.

    Eagerly awaiting your response.



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