Yoga Breathing Exercise

Potent Yoga Breathing Exercise to Increase Energy & Treat Depression

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.

Yoga Breathing Exercise

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.

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29 replies
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  1. shanker
    shanker says:

    Hi… Is is completely prohibited for people who suffer from high blood pressure…I take medicine for BP, can I do this yoga..

  2. Vahid
    Vahid says:

    This is a great meditation, but I close the right nostril and breathe through the left. To activate my Pingala. Because my feminin energies are more than my masculine.

  3. rats
    rats says:

    Hi Anmol.
    I have following you stuff for sometime and really like it. I have a query below –
    The last point you mentioned in the Surya Bedhi Pranayama piece is : Do a round of 10 repetitions and then inhale completely, hold your breath in for 1-5 seconds and then exhale completely. – what does inhale completely mean here …does it mean after 10 repetitions one needs to breathe in from both nostrils or is it something else. Would be grateful if you could clarify.

  4. yogastudent
    yogastudent says:

    hi anmol,

    if this is practiced daily, are the effects cumulative over time or is the effect just temporary?

    if it is done long term can you balance someones fundamental yin/yang state?


  5. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Rain,

    The affects of your technique will be similar to Surya Bedhi Pranayama, but not as potent. Exclusive breathing through right nostril will be more effective, but also should be approached with greater caution.


  6. rain77
    rain77 says:

    Hi, anmol, i’ve come across a technique whereby inhale is done using right nostril and exhale thru left nostril. It seem different from the technique above. Would the result be the same? Or which one is better?

  7. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Dan,

    1 – Yes right nostril only for all breathing for this exercise, including the final breath.

    2- Traditionally the inhale and hold is done at the end of the exercise, but you can experiment with that a little by holding periodically if you like.

    Don’t overdo this pranayama, it is quite potent.


  8. dan
    dan says:

    hi anmol i have some questions.
    At the end when i inhale and hold the breath i do with with right nostril only ?
    And as i progress doing 15 minutes i hold my breath only at the end of the exercice or at every 10 repetitions?

  9. Lisa Moore
    Lisa Moore says:

    Hi Anmol,

    I have been aware of this breathing for many years and whilst I do not practice it consistantly, I have always managed to calm myself down in times of trouble and boost me up when my energy is low.

    Great site and I look forward to reading all you have to offer.


  10. Anmol Mehta
    Anmol Mehta says:

    Hi Al,

    Stick to your meditation routine and establish a consistent practice first. That is most important. With regard to adding components, the general rule is “Not to overload the bullock cart,” meaning don’t do more that you are ready for (as this creates issues exactly as you indicated above).

    Best Wishes,

  11. al
    al says:

    This is a great technique, with many benefits that I’m looking to achieve, however, I’m already doing a routine of meditation, should i add this to that? Sometimes when i have too many things to do i get discouraged and or forget to do things, so what would you recommend. I also only just started my meditation 1.5 weeks ago.


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