I always keep hearing about the innumerable benefits of Sudarshan Kriya from different people including celebs, friends, relatives, neighbors next door, unknown people, and lastly from my sister. This powerful breathing technique has impacted over 45 million across the globe.
Some believe that Sudarshan Kriya can address the smallest to the biggest problems in life. But, I had no issues in life that I could not handle. My husband then commented, “Are you waiting for issues to get larger than you can handle?” I had no words.
I told my husband, “I will attend the Art of Living Program and will only continue to the next day if there is a tangible takeaway on the first day of the program.” Finally, I participated in the Online Meditation and Breath Workshop. From that day until this day, I have been reaping the benefits of Sudarshan Kriya.
What is Sudarshan Kriya?
Su means proper, darshan means vision, and kriya means a purifying practice. Sudarshan Kriya which is a Sanskrit term meaning “proper vision by purifying action” is a simple yet powerful rhythmic breathing technique with slow, medium and fast cycles. Sudarshan Kriya purifies at the cellular level and energizes you to be untouched by stress. (For in-depth information and understanding, please visit our blog “What is Sudarshan Kriya”)
Evidence-based benefits of Sudarshan Kriya
There are myriad benefits of practicing Sudarshan Kriya regularly. Let’s look at the ninety-nine benefits of Sudarshan Kriya.
99 Benefits of Sudarshan Kriya
- The three-stage Ujjayi pranayama of the Sudarshan Kriya
Ujjayi pranayama is practiced in three stages with three different hand positions to direct prana to all the five lobes of the lungs and flush out toxins accumulated therein for a long time. A study shows that patients with depression, anxiety and panic disorder have Low RSA (Respiratory sinus arrhythmia). Ujjayi breath increases RSA by increasing the parasympathetic influences.
- Bhastrika increases the capacity of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS)
Studies show that Bhastrika provides a mild stimulation and thereby increases the capacity of SNS to respond to acute stressors without rapidly exhausting its reserves.
- Calms the mind
The unique effect of bhastrika pranayama in stimulating our body with rapid and continuous breathing brings calm.
- “Om” results in physiological alertness.
“Om” chanting results in physiological alertness and increased sensitivity to sensory transmission. An increase in beta activity in the left frontal, occipital and midline regions of the brain is found in the Sudarshan Kriya practitioners.
- Clears your vision
The advanced form of breathing, Sudarshan Kriya, includes slow, medium, and fast cycles. It clears your vision and purifies your being.
- Slows down the heart rate
Deep breathing slows down the heart rate, with more oxygen, giving rest to the brain.
- Relaxes body organs and functions
The organs and functions stimulated by the three paces of breathing in Sudarshan Kriya need some time to absorb and impact the proper functioning of the body.
- Channelizes energy
Meditation after Sudarshan Kriya channelizes the energy and brings great tranquillity to sudarshan kriya practitioners.
- Overcomes body fatigue
Sudarshan kriya reduces the underlying stress at the cellular level of the body and enhances the life force energy. It helps in overcoming fatigue that remains in your system inspite of taking rest.
- Improves health and well-being
The sudarshan kriya steps regulate the breaths to control the mind resulting in the overall well-being of the body. The powerful techniques of sudarshan kriya improve organ functioning, further maintaining your health.
- Makes you energetic
You can feel the flow of energy, especially while doing the fast breathing cycles of sudarshan kriya. Some practitioners feel it in their palms and faces. You feel energetic throughout the day rather than getting tired by the second half of the day.
- Strengthens immune system
Research conducted at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, on the effects of sudarshan kriya revealed an increase in antioxidants at the enzyme activity, RNA and DNA levels. Thus, sudarshan kriya helps strengthen the immune system and lowers cell deaths.
- Reduces cholesterol levels
Even in stressful conditions, sudarshan kriya shows evidence to reduce cholesterol in 3 weeks of regular practice, with no diet change. Sudarshan kriya reduces the bad cholesterol (LDL) and increases the good cholesterol (HDL). An increased HDL level removes other forms of cholesterol from your bloodstream and lowers the risk of heart disease.
- Reduces joint and body pain
Sudarshan kriya surfaces and finally flushes out toxins from the joints and overall body, reducing pain.
- Benefits weight loss/gain
Sudarshan Kriya satisfies unhealthy urges for oily and fast food helping lower your BMR (Basal metabolic rate). Additionally, it helps you handle stress, eat mindfully, improve your metabolic rate and let you manage time. All of these benefits make Sudarshan Kriya vital for your weight management journey.
- Increases the brain’s gray matter
When you regularly practice sudarshan kriya, your mind, body and breath are in union. It stimulates the gray matter density and activates the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex of the brain.
- Greater creativity
The synchronization of the left and right brains stimulates thinking ability and creativity. You get brilliant ideas.
Greater mental focus
EEG measures electrical brain activity. In this study, sudarshan kriya practitioners demonstrated significantly greater EEG Beta wave activity indicating high alertness and mental focus.
- Greater clarity of mind
Virat Chirania, Corporate Trainer, shares, “My decision-making has improved. I have greater clarity. I used to be over-analytical in life. With the regular practice of sudarshan kriya, I am far more relaxed and happier than I used to be.”
- Induces better quality sleep
A homemaker Astha shares, “I slept like a baby after ages, the day I did the first Sudarshan Kriya.” Sudarshan kriya improved rapid eye movement (REM) latency and slow-wave sleep. 3x more time is spent in deep restful stages of sleep.
- Enhances brain function
Sudarshan kriya boosts brain function and reduces five of the six major risk factors for Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Promotes a sense of quietness to the brain
It promotes a sense of calmness in the brain by reducing the impact of overstimulation of the frontal lobes.
- Brings valor to manage challenging situations
Tina, a regular sudarshan kriya practitioner, shares, “I have become more relaxed about challenging situations at home and work, and I have become more patient with people. Valor invokes in me at the time of managing challenges.”
- Reduces stress
Reduction in stress-hormone levels (cortisol and ACTH Adrenocorticotropic hormone) is facilitated by Sudarshan Kriya in bringing down stress levels.
- Reduces anxiety
Published research shows a significant anxiety reduction. sudarshan kriya gave a 73% response rate and 41% remission rate in individuals for whom medication and psychotherapy treatments were futile.
- Relieves depression
Multiple studies demonstrate that depressed patients experienced a 68-73% remission rate within one month of practicing sudarshan kriya. Practitioners didn’t show any evidence of depression for the said period.
- Increases self-confidence
Madhav, “I thought I couldn’t do anything in life till I experienced Sudarshan Kriya. My self-confidence is back living my dreams.”
- Improves self-esteem
Sudarshan Kriya is a self-empowering tool using the breath to balance out expectations of contemporary life with a spontaneous satisfaction from within. It increases self-efficacy and self-perception, impacting the self-esteem of a person.
- Prepares for unknown future
“My mind would constantly hook up to the fear of the unknown future till I did Sudarshan Kriya. The breathing techniques prepare me to live in the present moment more often,” says Ashima, a homemaker.
- Reduces aggression
Sudarshan kriya uses different breathing cycles to release negative emotions like stress, frustration and aggression. It brings harmony between mind and body through breath.
- Increases the secretion of feel-good hormones
Endorphins, serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin are the feel-good hormones that increase with regular practice of Sudarshan Kriya.
- Aids in identifying the problems
With clarity of mind, you can identify the problems holding you back. Accordingly, implementing solutions becomes simple.
- Promotes lactation
Sudarshan Kriya is beneficial for lactation in breastfeeding mothers as it keeps them away from postpartum stress. With higher levels of feel-good hormones, the lactation level increases in happy mothers.
- Menopausal women
Research shows that within 30 days of practicing sudarshan kriya, the menopausal women had improved antioxidant levels. This result was superior to the effects of Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) or Vitamin E on the antioxidant levels.
- Intensifies yoga and meditation
As Sudarshan Kriya creates harmony in body, breath and mind, it aids in intensifying the yoga experience. Deep and restful meditation happens after practicing sudarshan kriya.
Sudarshan kriya practitioners get liberated from the emotional and physical knots that hold them down.
- Renders a deep inner peace
Sudarshan Kriya calms the mind resulting in deep inner peace.
- Improves acceptance
Sudarshan kriya improves acceptance of unfavorable situations. With increasing acceptance levels, belongingness and open communication, handling conflicts becomes effortless. Niyati M Bhatt, Product Leader, “I became better at handling conflicts in my relationships after practicing Sudarshan Kriya regularly.”
- Improves patience
Relationships blossom with the foundation of patience and trust. Valuing relationships beyond others’ faults is achieved through sudarshan kriya practice.
- Enhances team-working skills
Regular practitioners of sudarshan kriya become much more capable as team leaders. They foster mutual trust with their members, have clarity in responsibilities, are open to criticisms, resolve conflict quickly and are proactive.
- Reduces tension in personal relationships.
With sudarshan kriya practice, acceptance and belongingness dawn in helping ease tension in personal relationships. Sudarshan Kriya (SK) impacts your perspective. Instead of fighting over trivial issues, you feel grateful for how your partner cares for you. Sudarshan kriya improves patience. So you give a patient ear to what your spouse wants to share. Sudarshan kriya increases empathy. The frequency of fights comes down, and if at all the couple fights, they end in compassion and humor.
- Improves sense of responsibility towards self and surroundings
With the improvement in belongingness, sudarshan kriya practitioners shoulder responsibilities for the neighborhood. Earlier, only one’s family mattered the most. But now, the understanding dawns that when your neighborhood is at peace, you can enjoy peace in the family.
- Improves the sense of community living
The Art of Living volunteers have undertaken community projects rejuvenating 48 rivers PAN India, transforming the lives of 8,00,000+ inmates, providing education to 70,000+ students, training over 2.2 million farmers in natural farming, and more. With the practice of Sudarshan Kriya, a sense of caring and sharing is enhanced.
- Motivates peaceful living in society
The understanding that the purpose of life is in peaceful living and living for others dawns on you after the sudarshan kriya practice.
Benefits of Sudarshan Kriya for students
After practicing sudarshan kriya, I started being cool with the chaos created by my children. I wanted my children to experience inner peace too. I was delighted to know my children could have these takeaways from the Children and Teens Program.
- Brings Enjoyment in study
That many competition and board exam rank holders to attribute their success to Sudarshan Kriya is sufficient evidence that sudarshan kriya is beneficial for students. The exam time for kids is exam time for parents as well. But Kiran Dinesh, mother of Bhavani, shares, “Bhavani is relaxed. She doesn’t feel the pressure of exams at all. For her, exam day is just another day.”
Do you want to feel the same way?
Help your children with their exams. Gift them Intuition Process.
- Resilience ability gets charged
Emotional overhaul happens through sudarshan kriya. The process of overcoming failures or adversities requires emotional strength. sudarshan kriya makes it happen. Research shows an increase in resilience to handle stress in sudarshan kriya practitioners.
- Improves reasoning power
The frontal lobes of the brain are involved in reasoning, motor control, emotion, and language. sudarshan kriya promotes efficient energy utilization and power spectral density for different brain rhythms in the frontal, frontocentral, occipital and parietal lobes, depicted by the gamma, alpha and theta bands. Working memory capacity increased after sudarshan kriya because it reduced the latency of activation. Therefore, sudarshan kriya is an effective training technique for improving reasoning power.
- Improves focus on what is important for the future
The short-term stimuli and dopamine-driven feedback loops created by social media (Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Snapchat, Instagram, Quora and Pinterest) are destroying how students work. sudarshan kriya helps children refrain from such stimuli and pursue what is vital for the future.
- Strengthens mind-body complex
A strong body and a strong mind both go hand-in-hand. Better academic performance, future career prospects and happy life are achievable with a strong mind. Research documented benefits have shown sudarshan kriya is an efficient tool in strengthening your mind-body complex.
- Encourages to stand up against bullying and ragging
Students become courageous and gather support from others to stand up against such acts of aggression. 9-year-old Srikant shares, “Previously, I got bullied a lot. After the Utkarsha Yoga Program, I stood up for myself. I stopped playing with my friends who bullied me. Later, they realized their mistake, and we became friends again.”
- Increases confidence in handling peer pressure
Studies show a 50% decrease in teens with peer pressure after the regular practice of sudarshan kriya. Students become confident to stand up and say ‘No’, choose friends wisely, consider alternatives and measure the consequences to prepare for handling peer pressure.
- Improves intuitive ability
Research has been conducted on children practicing Sudarshan Kriya and other breathing techniques in the Intuition Program (5+ up to 18 years) for their intuitive abilities. It revealed improvement in their performance from Day 0 to Day 40 in terms of accuracy and response time in the computer and paper test with eyes closed.
- Raises life force energy
A child aspires to do many things in life. When your life force energy – prana is high, everything is possible. sudarshan kriya uplifts mental well-being – the prana level is heightened, and children feel happy and inspired to achieve their goals.
- Safeguards from addictions
Addictions happen due to low energy levels. With the regular practice of sudarshan kriya, prana improves and children are not inclined to addiction of any kind. There are many positive effects of rhythmic breathing (Sudarshan Kriya and Pranayama) on immune functions and tobacco addiction. sudarshan kriya reduces stress and thereby decreases the dependency on addictive substances. The impact of sudarshan kriya in alcohol addiction cases has been life-transforming.
- Boosts mental health
A shorter response time in a blindfold test of Sudarshan kriya practicing children indicates that the mental processes increased in children and information processing became faster, implying improved cognition. The research results indicate Sudarshan kriya boosts mental health in children.
- Sharpens the ability to handle hormonal changes
Teens practicing Sudarshan kriya get the ability to eliminate stress and emotional toxins at the cellular level. Thereby they can handle hormonal changes in a much more relaxed manner.
- Faces fewer mood swings
13-year-old Meera shares, “I used to get a lot of mood swings. One minute I was happy, another minute sad. Now, after the Medha Yoga program and practicing Sudarshan Kriya daily, my mind is stable, calm and happy.”
- Sharpens intellect
- Increases productivity
Students become conscious of their gadget time and friendship time. They learn to stop excesses to devote time for better productive and creative tasks like music, craft, rapping, beatboxing, drumming, playing tennis, volleyball, cricket, cycling, or meditating.
- Makes social media an asset
Social networking used to be a deterrent to achieving goals. After the Sudarshan kriya practice, social media becomes an asset. Children use it to develop their skills. They share useful information about competitions, tutorials, or contests with those friends or peer groups they care about.
- Fosters values
Students who had minimal respect for their siblings, friends, parents and grandparents have improved relationships, after the regular practice of Sudarshan kriya.
- Helps to overcome behavioral challenges
Studies show a 78% decrease in teens with conduct problems at home and school. Medha Yoga participant 14-year-old Meghna shares, “My cranky behavior has reduced, and I feel at peace now as I regularly practice Sudarshan Kriya.”
- Reduces hyperactivity
Studies show that 67% of children who practice sudarshan kriya daily after participating in the Utkarsha Yoga program report a decrease in hyperactivity.
- Improves academic grades
Grade 12 student Shriya shares, “Sudarshan Kriya has helped find a fine balance between my academics and sports. I am an achiever in academics and sports.”
- Makes decision-making faster
Grade 12 student Shriya shares, “Being a district-level sports athlete, I need to be calm. Sudarshan Kriya has helped in achieving that when I have to make tough and quick decisions on the playground.”
- Removes fear of the unknown
Studies conclude that the Intuition Process program participants overcome many fears of the unknown, like walking in the dark, fear of exams, fear of talking to strangers, fear of being alone in an unfamiliar place and stage fear.
- Plans with better foresight
Research indicates the development of foresightedness in the practitioners (students) of Sudarshan Kriya. They can plan accurately.
- Takes more responsibilities
Students who practice sudarshan kriya daily are encouraged to take more responsibilities wearing a smile.
- Improves accuracy
A significant increase in accuracy indicated with ‘closed eyes computer and paper-based tests’ conducted during Intuition Process, implies that intuitive powers emerged in students. Research on the Intuition Program reveals a 50% increase in children who scored with above 75% accuracy after practicing sudarshan kriya.
- Increases friendliness
“Before experiencing Sudarshan Kriya, I would go to school feeling upset about the previous day’s bitter incidents with classmates. Now, I practice the breathing techniques and feel happy about myself to have so many friends,” says Yuvansh.
- Overcomes shyness
13-year-old Meera says, “I was a shy person before the Utkarsha Yoga program. Now, I deliver speeches in my school assembly. I am a confident person.”
Medical benefits of Sudarshan Kriya
- Activates the vagus nerve
Many studies show that sudarshan kriya causes vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), which induces physiologic changes in the organs, glands, cortical areas and the limbic system.
- Enhances Lymphocyte count
Approximately 70% of all immune cells are lymphocytes. Sudarshan kriya practitioners showed increased lymphocyte count by more than five folds compared to non-practitioners, indicating a better immune system.
- Decreases clinical depression
Antidepressants have harmful side effects. Sudarshan kriya essentially reduces major depressive disorder as effectively as antidepressant drug therapy without any side effects.
- Reduces everyday blues
In four weeks of practicing Sudarshan Kriya, everyday blues were reduced by one-third in depression patients.
- Reduces clinical anxiety
Several studies show that 73% of GAD patients (Generalized Anxiety Disorder) administering 12 weeks of drugs and psychotherapy treatment, experienced reductions in anxiety within four weeks, after practicing sudarshan kriya.
- Decreases everyday anxiety
Sudarshan Kriya significantly reduces non-clinical or everyday anxiety. 41% of patients achieved remission.
- Reduces cortisol in patients with addiction
In addition to conventional treatment of patients with substance use, sudarshan kriya practice doubles its effectiveness in reducing cortisol levels.
- Increases Natural Killer cells
Studies on cancer patients show that sudarshan kriya increased natural killer cells significantly after 12 weeks of practice compared to the baseline.
- Leads to healthier blood pressure
Heart rate and blood pressure are the determinants of a healthy heart. sudarshan kriya practitioners show healthy heart rate and blood pressure values.
- Reduces PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder)
One week of sudarshan kriya practice lowers PTSD symptoms. The encouraging results persisted for a year without any follow-ups, yielding long-term benefits.
- Increases antioxidant enzymes
The practice of sudarshan kriya brings greater antioxidant enzyme levels (glutathione, catalase, and superoxide dismutase.) It protects us from many diseases and rapid ageing.
- Increases levels of optimism
Optimism in sudarshan kriya practitioners substantially increased in four weeks. Valerie S shares, “I am much more optimistic about my future. I feel that I am not alone. I feel happier, more energetic and just better all around. I feel fulfilled.”
- Improves Life satisfaction
The scores changed from ‘slightly satisfied with life’ to ‘being satisfied with life’, one week after sudarshan kriya. These results persisted for four weeks post sudarshan kriya.
- Positively impacts gene expression
Sudarshan kriya practice positively impacts gene expression. The effects of sudarshan kriya span all levels of physiology – from DNA (within our molecules) to organ systems.
- Changes in the expression of genes in WBC
Sudarshan kriya changes the expression of genes in white blood cells within two hours of starting the practice.
- Improves respiration
The respiratory rate dropped by 5% in one week of sudarshan kriya practice and around 15% in three months. The lung capacity increased.
- Increases mental alertness
Study results indicate increased mental focus and heightened awareness in sudarshan kriya practitioners. It is surprising to note that sudarshan kriya practitioners displayed significantly greater mental alertness (or beta activity).
- Enhances the feelings of bonding and affection
Studies show that Sudarshan Kriya releases prolactin, vasopressin and oxytocin via vagal afferents to the hypothalamus and anterior pituitary Oxytocin secretions are low in depression patients. With the ‘treatment’ of sudarshan kriya, oxytocin increases.
- Benefits treatment of cancer
Sudarshan Kriya has a preventive role against cancer. It may be effective as a secondary preventive measure after curative treatment of cancer. It can also delay the progression of cancer.
- Improves levels of vasopressin
Vasopressin regulates and improves the constriction of blood vessels and reabsorption of water by kidneys in sudarshan kriya practitioners.
- Provides a ‘corrective emotional experience’
For healing the cognitive distortions and deep emotional wounds resulting from trauma, sudarshan kriya practice is beneficial.
- Help to recover fast
After practicing sudarshan kriya, recovery from stressful stimuli is faster.
- Benefits HIV/AIDS patients
Studies say significant psychological improvements are revealed immediately after the practice of sudarshan kriya.
- Decreases blood lactate levels
Sudarshan kriya diminishes the blood lactate levels by 87.5% in the highly stressed group of individuals.
- Leads to Holistic life
Sudarshan kriya practice transforms you from tension to tranquillity to lead a holistic life.
- Regulates workload
Sudarshan Kriya affects stress regulation which improves workload tolerance capacity for multitasking activities.
- Increases immunity in The Art of Living teachers
Sudarshan kriya has improved the physical and mental health of thousands of sudarshan kriya trainers (The Art of Living teachers). Their spiritual growth is profound. They experience a beautiful relationship with self, family and others. Their extended family of volunteers and participants bring completeness to life. Learning in the programs is no more an intellectual concept but a living reality.
You can also be an instrument to impact lives, thus bringing social change. Become an Art of Living teacher.
- Deepen your wisdom
- Build inner strength
- Develop skills to uplift your community
- Reduces frequency of the unwanted traits
I have participated in many programs of the Art of Living, and the Sudarshan Kriya experiences have been impactful. My impulsive nature may still persist. Earlier it happened twice a day, now twice a month. I see the reduced frequency of the unwanted traits as a takeaway.
Sudarshan Kriya benefits all walks of life homemakers, females in prepartum and postpartum periods, students, entrepreneurs, working professionals, victims of violence, war refugees, ex-militants and prison inmates.
10 reasons to learn Sudarshan Kriya if you are a student
8 Facts about Sudarshan Kriya from Gurudev himself
Biochemistry of Sudarshan Kriya
Sudarshan Kriya for Depression
Are you not able to be in the present moment? Watch this now – Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Published Research Studies on Sudarshan Kriya in Peer Reviewed Journals
Sudarshan Kriya regulates workload