SUDARSHAN KRIYA YOGA(SKY)-A Yoga Breathing method backed up by Science
WHAT IS SUDARSHAN KRIYA YOGA (SKY)
Yoga and meditation have scientifically shown to help with depression and anxiety. In yoga, one of the relaxation techniques is the breathing technique exercises. Pranayama is the regulation of breath also known as yoga breathing. It has shown to balance the autonomic nervous system and influence psychological and stress-related disorders (1). Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) is one of the specific forms of yoga breathing technique which has shown an incredibly positive effect on mind and body.
HOW TO PRACTICE SUDARSHAN KRIYA YOGA
Sudarshan kriya yoga consists of four main breathing techniques as described below (2).
- Ujjayi or “Victorious Breath” is sometimes called “Ocean Breath” because the sound created by the gentle contraction of the laryngeal muscles and partial closure of the glottis is reminiscent of the sound of the sea. This slow breath technique (2 to 4 breaths per minute) increases airway resistance during inspiration and expiration and controls airflow so that each phase of the breath cycle can be prolonged to an exact count. The subjective experience is physical and mental calmness with alertness.
- During Bhastrika or “Bellows Breath” air is rapidly inhaled and forcefully exhaled at a rate of 30 breaths per minute. It engenders excitation followed by calmness.
- “Om” is chanted three times with very prolonged expiration.
- Sudarshan Kriya or “Proper Vision by Purifying Action” is an advanced form of cyclical breathing at varyingrates—slow, medium, and fast.
WATCH SUDARSHAN KRIYA YOGA GUIDED MEDITATION HERE
CREDIT: The art of Living
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU PRACTICE SKY
In one of the studies done on effectiveness of SKY, subjects were instructed to practice once per day for 30 minutes, followed by 15 minutes of rest, 6 days per week and great improvement was seen in patients with depression (2).
Therefore, the recommendation is:
-Once per day
-6 days per week
SUDARSHAN KRIYA Yoga(SKY) BENEFITS
Studies has been conducted to see the effectiveness of Sudarshan kriya yoga on depression. Three studies in particular have found Sudarshan kriya yoga (SKY) to be effective in the treatment of depression (2). In one of the studies patients with major depression and without any previous yogic knowledge was chosen (2). The patients showed significant reductions in both Hamilton Rating Scales for Depression (HRSD) and Beck Depression Inventory scores after 1 week of SKY training and 3 more weeks of daily practice (2).
According to studies conducted to see the effective of SKY on insomnia, it was shown to improve sleep quality (2).
“Insomnia is one of the first symptoms to respond to daily SKY practice.
Many patients find that an extra 5–10 minutes of Ujjayi breathing while lying in bed at night with the lights out will help induce sleep (2).”
“Ujjayi quiets the mind, reduces obsessive worry, and induces a state of physical and mental calmness conducive to sleep (2).”
Therefore, it is recommended to practice SKY for 5-10 minutes while lying in bed at night with lights out to have a restful night and energetic morning.
HELPS WITH ANXIETY
When Anxiety is caused by stress, a few breaths of Ujjayi will restore a sense of control (2). That is why it is called the “Ocean breath” as it brings physical and mental calmness. Therefore, it is recommended to practice it at least ten minutes whenever you feel anxious.
Practicing yoga daily has been shown to enhance your overall well-being and mood. Additionally, Yoga breathing techniques such as Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) is a well studied practice that is scientifically proven to treat stress, anxiety, and depression. Add this beautiful practice to your daily routine for a healthier and happier life.
This article is not intended to substitute for professional medical or counseling advice. If you suffer from a physical or mental illness, please always seek professional help.
1-Brown RP, Gerbarg PL. Sudarshan kriya yogic breathing in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression: Part I-neurophysiologic model. J Altern Complement Med. 2005;11:189–201. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
2-Brown RP, Gerbarg PL. Sudarshan kriya yogic breathing in the treatment of stress, anxiety, and depression: Part II-clinical applications and guidelines. J Altern Complement Med. 2005;11:711–7. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]