So what is Sudarshan Kriya?

Let’s explore Sudarshan Kriya, one of the well known popular paynayama “packages” there:

“Sudarshan kriya yoga (SKY) is a type of cyclical controlled breathing practice with roots in traditional yoga that provides relief for depression, and it is taught by the nonprofit Art of Living Foundation. It has four distinct components.

Detailed descriptions of the four main SKY breathing techniques are as follows.

  1. Ujjayi or “Victorious Breath”: This involves experiencing the conscious sensation of the breath touching the throat. This slow breath technique (2–4 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.
  2. During Bhastrika or “Bellows Breath,” air is rapidly inhaled and forcefully exhaled at a rate of 30 breaths per minute. It causes excitation followed by calmness.
  3. “Om” is chanted three times with very prolonged expiration.

Source: NCBI

International Journal of Yoga: Sudarshan Kriya yoga: Breathing for health

by  Sameer A. Zope and Rakesh A Zope.

DISCLAIMER

All content is for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical practitioner before attempting any therapeutic, nutritional, exercise or meditation related activity.

Pranayma breathing: bodily impact

At it’s essence Pranayama is a mechanism that involves control of breath as a prop to eventually gain  control the mind and the thought process.  However, rather than delving into brain MRI and “thought” scans it may be less daunting to just see the impact of controlled breathing on physiological processes.

This is from a recent twelve week study published in the International Journal of Yoga:

  • “Slow and deep breathing is efficient as it reduces the ventilation in the dead space of the lungs. Shallow breathing replenishes air only at the base of the lungs in contrast to deep breathing that replenishes the air in all parts of the lung. It decreases the effect of stress and strain on the body by shifting the balance of the autonomic system predominantly toward the parasympathetic system and improves the physical and mental health
  • Heart rate, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and perceived stress scale decreased significantly (P < 0.05) in the study group following 12 weeks slow breathing exercise training, while no significant change (P > 0.05) was observed in body mass index  and waist hip ratio. There was no significant change in the control group.”

Source: NCBI

Effect of Modified Slow Breathing Exercise on Perceived Stress and Basal Cardiovascular Parameters by G.Sunil kayak, G.S Gaur, G.K Pal

DISCLAIMER

All content is for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical practitioner before attempting any therapeutic, nutritional, exercise or meditation related activity.

Meditation: what do we see, if anything?

There’s ample literature out there describing the zone of meditation in which one sees different kinds of lights.  Certainly what one sees is subjective, and as per Ayurveda it may even be linked to karmic influences. However, let’s keep it simple and try to look for recorded study of these light experiences. This one is  from a small sample size of meditators observed at the Brown university:

  • More than forty categories of experience were aggregated into six higher-order clusters: cognitive, perceptual, sense of self, affective/emotional, somatic/physiological, and social/occupational. “perceptual” is defined as pertaining to the senses, i.e. the visual, auditory, gustatory, olfactory, and tactile systems. “Light experiences” emerged as a sub-category of perceptual experiences in the visual domain. Inclusion criteria for light-related visual experiences included use of the word “light” or description of an experience either directly linked to visual perception with the phenomenal quality of luminosity or brightness. “
  • Scientific studies of light-related experiences tend to classify such phenomena as visual hallucinations. This section presents findings from sensory deprivation, perceptual isolation, and disorders of the visual system.
  • The possibility of viewing meditation practice as a form of sensory deprivation has potentially profound implications. Current medical technologies are combining non-invasive brain stimulation techniques that alter neuronal excitability and enhance cortical plasticity with training protocols to enhance outcomes in neuropsychiatric patients, including dementia, pain, addiction, anxiety, and depression
  • The arising of lights may signal a period of enhanced neuroplasticity and potential for important and enduring shifts. Further research should investigate whether it is the unique configuration of sensory deprivation, attentional training, and investigative processes that accounts for why meditative practices tend to lead to enduring perceptual and affective changes and cognitive insights.

Source: NCBI

DISCLAIMER

All content is for educational purposes only. Please consult your medical practitioner before attempting any therapeutic, nutritional, exercise or meditation related activity.