Surya Bhedana Pranayama | ‘Right Nostril Breathing’
Surya Bhedana Pranayama is performed by inhaling deeply via your ‘right’ nostril, hence the name. Thus, is another pranayama exercise that activates our parasympathetic nervous system. However, at the same time helps activate Pingala nadi (right) energy, an energy responsible for controlling physical work of the body.
Surya Bhedana helps with concentration and keeps the mind alert. Therefore, is recommended in times of low mood, sadness, low energy, or a lack of enthusiasm. In Sanskrt, surya, means “sun”, and bhedana means “piercing”, “penetrating”, “breaking through” or “relieving”.
Oftentimes, Surya Bhendana pranayama is regarded as one of the most beneficial techniques in Hatha yoga. Hence, by using this technique we are tapping into sun energy, or manly vitality in our bodies.
Surya Bhedana Pranayama Benefits:
Surya Bhedana stimulates the central nervous system. Consequently, increasing heat production within the body. Benefits include; improving digestion, making the mind sharp.
In addition, by practicing this breathing exercise, the rib cage expands. Thus, opening of the heart and the improvement of its activity. The lungs decongest, and breathing becomes more fluid.
This type of breathing is touted for helping clear the sinuses. It’s recommended to utilize in the cold, or during winter months, when heat production is important.
- Firstly, take a comfortable cross-legged position. For example, half lotus or lotus position.
- Then, inhale. Lift your shoulders and roll them back. As you exhale, slide your shoulder blades down to keep your spine straight. The arms are extended along the body, the hands resting on the knees with the palms facing up. The thumb and forefinger are closed in a delicate contact, called Chin Mudra.
- Raise your right hand, bring your index and middle fingers between the eyebrows, where the third eye is located, Bhrumadya Drishti. Close your eyes but direct your inner gaze towards that point. Deeply inhale. Then, exhale completely emptying the lungs.
- Gently close the left nostril with the index finger and slowly inhale with the right nostril, counting to four. Now close the right nostril with your thumb and exhale from the left nostril. Again counting to four, emptying the lungs. Inhale from your right nostril and exhale out from your left nostril.
This type of breathing is performed with alternating nostrils. After exhaling, close the left nostril again with the middle index and inhale with the right nostril, counting to four. Then, exhale from the left nostril. Keep your back straight, eyes closed and your gaze fixed on the third eye.
Continue to inhale from the right and exhale from the left, closing the nostrils alternately. If you can, try to increase the length of your breath, bringing it to six counts, both in the inhale and in the exhale.
Experience the sense of warmth, strength and energy that this type of pranayama brings to the entire nervous system.
Start the first session with ten breaths from both nostrils. Gradually increase, dedicating at least fifteen minutes a day to your Pranayama. Practicing in the morning can provide a needed kick-start to the tasks ahead.
In cases of pregnancy or cardiovascular problems, an intense practice of Surya Bhedana is not recommended.
If you find it hard to arise in the morning due to low mood, Surya Bhedana Pranyama is an excellent ally to face the challenges of our day that awaits us with determination and courage.