Sudarshan Kriya, a stress buster

Sudarshan Kriya, a stress busterMANGALORE: 'Sudarshan Kriya' is an ancient but potent breathing technique, reintroduced to the society, by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar through Vyakti Vikas Kendra in 1982.

This includes two simple yoga techniques -- Pranayama and Poornayoga. Pranayama is a technique to govern the breathing process and Poornayoga includes practise of simple yoga postures.

Sumana Kamath of Vyakti Vikas Kendra, Mangalore Information Centre, says the practice of these two techniques known as 'Sudarshan Kriya', brings about rejuvenation of mind and body, balance of mind and thought and emotional intelligence.

Kamath points out that breathing is normally an unconscious process. Through the practice of Pranayama, a person will learn to consciously govern the breath to bring harmony into the body, mind and spirit.

She says that human existence can be broadly divided into three categories -- thinking, feeling and being conscious. The common link between all these activity is 'attention or awareness'. "But our attention either remains at one place in the case of continuous concentration or it moves between various places. Longer attention in one particular part of the body, helps build up stress in that part. This leads to physical malfunction and irregular breathing". Kamath adds that Sudarshan Kriya normalises breathing by concentrating on breathing systematically.

Explaining the process of practising Sudarshan Kriya, Kamath said first the eyes have to be shut to cut off external stimuli so that one concentrates on him/herself. Then shift to 'Vajrasana' position which straightens the spinal cord and makes the movement of attention between the brain and spinal cord hindrance free. It also helps in breath freely.

The three positions of Pranayama, which incrementally takes arms from down to up, physically engages muscles in the neck and shoulders, thereby relieving pressure built-up in them due to stress.

The 'Ujjai' breathing technique concentrates attention in the spinal cord, which controls breathing in normal circumstances also. In 'Bhastrika' position, breathing out forcefully, the respiratory tract gets purified and expands.

The final stage of Kriya is 'Sukasana' position which involves rhythmic inhalations and exhalations of long, medium and short duration.

Kamath said that it takes only about 30 to 45 minutes to do the short Sudarshan Kriya. It can be practiced at any time during the day, except when stomach is full. Spending some time doing the kriya away from one's busy schedule, is a great stress reliever. Coupled with light physical exercises, its benefits are manifold.

Source: Times of India: Sept. 9, 2003