“The breath has a great secret to offer.” ~ Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Sudarshan Kriya

What was so powerful about Sudarshan Kriya, the famed breathing technique developed by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar? Wanting a first-hand experience, I signed up for a 3-day Art of Living part 1 course scheduled during Mar 15-17.

The lady instructor, a volunteer with the AoL foundation, had been practicing for 12 years. (This foundation is known for being run entirely by volunteers.)

As before with Sri Sri Yoga, we started out with some stretching. Then the breathing method of Ujjai was taught, which is done by constricting and opening the throat. The 4 initial breathing exercises are performed using this technique.

After that, the main part began. So humSo hum is considered the natural rhythm of breathing, as well as of the universe. We took a breath in when So was announced and breathed out with Hum. Followed this rhythm for many cycles, alternating between quick breaths and slow ones.

I found the Kriya very intense. Even felt dizzy in between. The complete process lasted an hour. (They do teach another one which is about 25 minutes and can be practiced at home daily.)

On all of the 3 days, I slept and drank water like crazy! And had a headache on the 2nd day.

But overall, I found it pretty relaxing.

Many people I know, who have never done any sort of breathing exercise before, found that this technique made them feel very peaceful, a feeling they had experienced back in their childhood days. 🙂

My take? I doubt whether I would be able to inculcate this intense technique into my daily routine. Pulling myself out of bed daily to do Suryanamaskars is itself a big challenge!

Towards the end of the workshop, they showed a video on the AoL foundation. An appreciable thing is that they have been involved in a lot of social work. A specific point came to my notice – zero farmer suicides in 512 villages adopted by them in Vidarbha region of Maharasthra. This is definitely an achievement – sadly, this region has seen significantly more suicides than any other.