Surya is the SUN. Bhedana is derived from the root “bhid” meaning to pierce, to break or pass through.
In Surya Bhedana Pranayama, the breath is inhaled through the right nostril. In other words the Prana passes through the Pingala or Surya Nadi. A Kumbhaka is then performed and the breath is then exhaled through the left nostril which is the path of the Ida Nadi.
- Sit in any comfortable position like Padmasana, Siddhasana, or Virasana.
- Keep the back erect and rigid. Lower the head to the trunk. Rest the chin in the notch between the collar bones.
- Stretch the life arm. Rest the back of the left wrist on the left knee. Perform Jnana Mudra with the left hand.
- Bend the right arm at the elbow. Bend the index and middle fingers towards the palm, keeping them passive. Bring the ring and little fingers towards the thumb.
- Place the right thumb on the right side of the nose just below the nasal bone, the ring and little fingers on the left side of the nose just below the nasal bone, just above the curve of the fatty tissue to the nostrils.
- Press the ring and the little finger to block the left side of the nose completely.
- With the right thumb, press the fatty tissue on the right side.
- Now inhale slowly and deeply controlling the aperture of the right nostril with the tip of the thumb nearer the nail. Full the lungs to the brim (Puraka).
- Then block the right nostril so that both are now blocked.
- Hold the breath for about 5 seconds (antara Kumbhaka) while practicing Mula Bandha.
- Keeping the right nostril completely blocked, open the left nostril partially and exhale through it slowly and deeply.
- During the exhalation regulate the rhythmic flow of air from the left nostril by adjusting pressure with the ring and little fingers.
- This completes one cycle of Surya Bhedana Pranayama. Continue with more cycles at a stretch from 5 to 10 minutes, according to capacity.
- All the inhalations in Surya Bhedana are from the right nostril and all the exhalations from the left nostril.
- Throughout the process, the passage of air is felt at the tips of the fingers and the thumbs and in the nasal membranes where pressure is applied. The passage of air makes a sound similar to air escaping from a cycle tube. This sound should be maintained constant throughout by varying pressure on the nostrils.
- The eyes, temples, eyebrows and the skin on the forehead should remain completely passive and show no sign of strain.
- The mind should be absorbed completely in listening to the proper sound of the passage of air and in maintaining a proper rhythm in breathing.
- Each inhalation and exhalation should last for the same length of time.
- The inhalation and the exhalation should not be forced. An even and slow rhythm should be maintained throughout.
- Lie down is Savasana after completing Pranayama.
Make sure and be aware that you are actively breathing from the right nostril.
Tips and Help:
- You can start with the low counting and then increase it.
- In the very beginning of your practice you can even start doing it without Kumbhaka (the holding) and Jalandhara Bandha. That will make you feel more comfortable with the breathing. Then you slowly introduce those elements into the exercise.
Benefits of Surya Bhedana Pranayama:
- By reason of the pressure on the nostrils, in this Pranayama the lungs have to work more than in the case of Ujjayi. In Surya Bhedana they are filled more slowly, steadily, and fuller than in Ujjayi. It helps in recreation of lung tissue and enhances their capacity.
- Surya Bhedana increases digestive power, soothes and invigorates the nerves, and cleans the sinuses.
- Surya Bhedana Pranayama purifies the brain and destroys the intestinal worms and diseases arising from excess of wind (Vayu).
- Surya Bhedana Pranayama cures rhinitis, cephalalgia and various sorts of neuralgia.
- The worms that are found in the frontal sinuses are also removed by regular practice of Surya Bhedana Pranayama.
- People suffering from asthma, cold and gastric problems can get relief from Surya Bhedana Pranayama.
- Regular practice of Surya Bhedana Pranayama strengthens the immune system.
- If you have cold feet and hands often do Surya Bhedana Pranayama and get warm again!
Note: – It often happens that the passages of both the nostrils are not of the same width, one being bigger than the other. In that case the pressure of the fingers has to be adjusted. In some cases the right nostril is completely blocked while the left one is clear. In that case, inhalation may be done only through the left nostril, while exhalation is done only through the right nostril (Chandra Bhedana Pranayama). In course of time due to the manipulation of the fingers the right nostril clears and inhalation through it becomes possible.
- Persons suffering from low blood pressure will derive benefit but those with high blood pressure or heart trouble should not hold their breath after inhalation whilst practicing Surya Bhedana Pranayama.
- Surya Bhedana Pranayama should not be performed if you are suffering from any kind of fever as it increases the heat in the body.
- If you recently have diarrhea, please also avoid Surya Bhedana Pranayama.
- People who have high Pitta or acidity should avoid Surya Bhedana Pranayama as well.