Research on Sudarshan Kriya

Physical & mental health benefits, often shown from the very first session.

And results are cumulative; they grow stronger over time.

Sudarshan Kriya and accompanying breathing practices, referred to collectively as SKY and taught through the Art of Living Foundation, have been found to enhance brain, hormone, immune and cardiovascular system function.  Published research  shows SKY significantly reduces stress, depression, anxiety and PTSD, and increases well-being both mentally and physically. Research also demonstrates that the effects of SKY reach all the way down to the molecular level, to our DNA.

Over 60 independent studies conducted on four continents and published in peer review journals, have demonstrated a comprehensive range of benefits from SKY practice.

Significant Health Benefits Scientifically Documented and Published in Peer Review Journals 

Mental Well-being:

Restoration and Enhancement of Vibrant Mental Health:

  • Relieves anxiety[1-7]& depression[2, 4, 8-14] , Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms [3, 12, 13] and stress levels [4, 6, 14]
    • Significant reductions in anxiety are found in many populations, including a 73% response rate and 41% remission rate in individuals for whom medication and psychotherapy treatments had failed[1].
    • Multiple studies demonstrate that depressed patients who learned SKY experienced a 67-73% remission rate within one month.
    • Significant reductions in PTSD symptoms were found in 6 weeks and the 60% reduction was sustained 6 months later without any follow up[12].
  • Reduces impulsivity and addictive behaviors [15, 16]
  • Improved emotional regulation [14, 17]
  • Increases levels of optimism, well being and quality of life [4, 5, 12, 18, 19]

Enhanced brain functioning:

  • Increased mental focus / heightened awareness [20]

Improved Quality of Sleep:

  • 3x more time spent in deep restful stages of sleep [21]

Physical Well-being:

Enhanced biochemical status:

  • Reduced biochemical markers of stress: cortisol [2, 22], corticotrophin[2] blood lactate[23], ACTH[2], and plasma MDA[2, 24] [25]
    • For example, blood lactate levels in police cadets who did not learn SKY were 4 times higher than their classmates who were randomized to  learn SKY, suggesting a  greatly increased resilience to stress in SKY practitioners.
    • Since stressful physiological responses negatively impact immune, cardiovascular, endocrine and mental health, this has significant implications for wellness.
  • 33% increase in the well-being hormone prolactin from the very first session. [26]
  • Increased levels of antioxidant enzymes (glutathione, catalase, and superoxide dismutase) [6, 23, 27] which protect us from many diseases and rapid aging.

Enhanced immune function:

  • Improved immune cell counts in apparently healthy individuals [16, 28]
    • Some documented within three weeks (neutrophils, lymphocytes, platelet count )[29]
  • Improved immune cell counts in health compromised individuals seen in 12 weeks (Natural Killer Cells) [16]
  • Beneficial changes in our DNA which support an increased life span of white blood cells, our immunity cells. [27]

Enhanced Cardiovascular and Respiratory Function:

  • Reduced heart rate in both healthy and health compromised individuals[30] [6]
  • Reduced blood pressure in both healthy and health compromised individuals [6, 25, 30]
  • Improved cholesterol and triglyceride (lipid) profile: [24] [6, 28] as early as 3 weeks, with no change in diet [31]
  • Improved respiratory function: [3, 32, 33] where respiration rate dropped by 5% in 1 week [3] and 15% in 12 weeks[32] and lung (vital) capacity increased [33]

In Summary, Sudarshan Kriya uses specific cyclical, rhythmic patterns of breath to bring the mind and body into a relaxed, yet energized state. Its effects have been studied in open and randomized trials, both in healthy and health compromised populations.

Research suggests that SKY  reduces depression, anxiety, PTSD and stress It has also been shown to curb addictive behaviors and substance abuse. It significantly increases feelings of well-being, optimism and mental focus and improves emotion regulation 8. In addition, SKY is associated with enhanced  cardio-respiratory function, (add references) antioxidant status and immune system function, . The practice has even been shown to positively impact gene expression, suggesting that the effects of SKY span all levels of the physiology from the DNA within our molecules to organ systems. Viewed together, the wide range of documented benefits suggest that SKY may be an efficient tool for rapidly strengthening both mind and body.

Research Slides


Depression Research





1. Katzman, M.A., et al., A multicomponent yoga-based, breath intervention program as an adjunctive treatment in patients suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder with or without comorbidities. International journal of yoga, 2012. 5(1): p. 57.

2. Vedamurthachar, A., et al., Antidepressant efficacy and hormonal effects of Sudarshana Kriya Yoga (SKY) in alcohol dependent individuals. Journal of affective disorders, 2006. 94(1): p. 249-253.

3. Seppälä, E.M., et al., Breathing‐Based Meditation Decreases Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Symptoms in US Military Veterans: A Randomized Controlled Longitudinal Study. Journal of traumatic stress, 2014. 27(4): p. 397-405.

4. Kjellgren, A., et al., Wellness through a comprehensive yogic breathing program - a controlled pilot trial. BMC Complement Altern Med, 2007. 7: p. 43.

5. Sureka, P., et al., Effect of Sudarshan Kriya on male prisoners with non psychotic psychiatric disorders: A randomized control trial. Asian journal of psychiatry, 2014. 12: p. 43-49.

6. Agte, V.V. and S.A. Chiplonkar, Sudarshan kriya yoga for Improving Antioxidant status and Reducing Anxiety in Adults. Alternative & Complementary Therapies, 2008. 14(2): p. 96-100.

7. Narnolia, P.K., et al., Effect of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga on Cardiovascular Parameters and Comorbid Anxiety in Patients of Hypertension.

8. Janakiramaiah, N., et al., Antidepressant efficacy of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) in melancholia: a randomized comparison with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and imipramine. Journal of affective disorders, 2000. 57(1): p. 255-259.

9. Janakiramaiah, N., Gangadhar, B.N., Naga Venkatesha Murthy,, S. P.J., T.K., Subbakrishna, D.K., Meti, B.L., Raju, T.R.,, and A. Vedamurthachar, Therapeutic efficacy of Sudarshan
Kriya Yoga (SKY) in dysthymic disorder. NIMHANS J., 1998. 17: p. 21-28.

10. Naga Venkatesha Murthy, P., et al., Normalization of P300 amplitude following treatment in dysthymia. Biological Psychiatry, 1997. 42(8): p. 740-743.

11. Murthy, P.N.V., et al., P300 amplitude and antidepressant response to Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY). Journal of affective disorders, 1998. 50(1): p. 45-48.

12. Descilo, T., et al., Effects of a yoga breath intervention alone and in combination with an exposure therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in survivors of the 2004 South-East Asia tsunami. Acta Psychiatr Scand, 2010. 121(4): p. 289-300.

13. Martin, A., Multi-component yoga breath program for Vietnam veteran post traumatic stress disorder: randomized controlled trial. Journal of Traumatic Stress Disorders & Treatment, 2013.

14. Kharya, C., et al., Effect of controlled breathing exercises on the psychological status and the cardiac autonomic tone: Sudarshan Kriya and Prana-Yoga. 2014.

15. Ghahremani, D.G., et al., Effects of the Youth Empowerment Seminar on impulsive behavior in adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Health, 2013.

16. Kochupillai, V., et al., Effect of rhythmic breathing (Sudarshan Kriya and Pranayam) on immune functions and tobacco addiction. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 2005. 1056(1): p. 242-252.

17. Gootjes, L., I.H. Franken, and J.W. Van Strien, Cognitive Emotion Regulation in Yogic Meditative Practitioners. Journal of Psychophysiology, 2011. 25(2): p. 87-94.

18. Jyotsna, V.P., et al., Comprehensive yogic breathing program improves quality of life in patients with diabetes. Indian journal of endocrinology and metabolism, 2012. 16(3): p. 423.

19. Warner, A. and K. Hall, Psychological and Spiritual Well-being of Women with Breast Cancer Participating in the Art of Living Program, in Psychology of Cancer, N.L. Hicks and R.E. Warren, Editors. 2012, Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

20. Bhatia, M., et al., Electrophysiologic evaluation of Sudarshan Kriya: an EEG, BAER, P300 study. Indian journal of physiology and pharmacology, 2003. 47(2): p. 157-163.

21. Sulekha, S., et al., Evaluation of sleep architecture in practitioners of Sudarshan Kriya yoga and Vipassana meditation*. Sleep and Biological Rhythms, 2006. 4(3): p. 207-214.

22. Kumar, N., et al., Randomized controlled trial in advance stage breast cancer patients for the effectiveness on stress marker and pain through Sudarshan Kriya and Pranayam. Indian journal of palliative care, 2013. 19(3): p. 180.

23. Sharma, H., et al., Sudarshan Kriya practitioners exhibit better antioxidant status and lower blood lactate levels. Biological Psychology, 2003. 63(3): p. 281-291.

24. Agte, V.V. and K. Tarwadi, Sudarshan kriya yoga for treating type 2 diabetes: a preliminary study. Alternative & Complementary Therapies, 2004. 10(4): p. 220-222.

25. Agte, V.V., M.U. Jahagirdar, and K.V. Tarwadi, The effects of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga on some physiological and biochemical parameters in mild hypertensive patients. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol, 2011. 55(2): p. 183-187.

26. Janakiramaiah, N., et al., Therapeutic efficacy of Sudarshan Kriya Yoga (SKY) in dysthymic disorder. Nimhans Journal, 1998. 16(1): p. 21-28.

27. Sharma, H., et al., Gene expression profiling in practitioners of Sudarshan Kriya. Journal of psychosomatic research, 2008. 64(2): p. 213-218.

28. Subramanian, S., et al., Role of sudarshan kriya and pranayam on lipid profile and blood cell parameters during exam stress: A randomized controlled trial. International journal of yoga, 2012. 5(1): p. 21.

29. Subramanian, S., et al., Role of sudarshan kriya and pranayam on lipid profile and blood cell parameters during exam stress: A randomized controlled trial. Int J Yoga, 2012. 5(1): p. 21-7.

30. Somwanshi S. D., H.S.M., Adgaonkar B. D., Kolpe D. V., Effect of Sudarshankriya Yoga on Cardiorespiratory Parameters. International Journal of Recent Trends in Science And Technology, 2013. 8(1).

31. Agte, V.V.T., Kirtan, Sudarshan Kriya Yoga for Treating Type 2 Diabetes: A Preliminary Study. Alternative & Complementary Therapies, 2004. 10(4).

32. Somwanshi, S., et al., Effect of Sudarshankriya Yoga on Cardiorespiratory Parameters. Int J Recent Trends in Science and Technology, 2013. 8(1): p. 62-66.

33. Chavhan, D.B., The Effect Of Sudarshan Kriya and Bhastrika Pranayama on Endurance Capacity in Kho-Kho Players International Multidisciplinary Research Journal, 2103. 6(1).