The Power of Breath. Written by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

The Art of Living

Power of the Breath The Sudarshan Kriya, a powerful rhythmic breathing technique that facilitates physical, mental, emotional, and social well-being is an integral part of the Art of Living programs. It is today universally acclaimed for its effectiveness in eliminating stress, and bringing one completely into the present moment. As HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar puts it, the Sudarshan Kriya came to him like an inspiration to bridge the gap between the worlds of inner silence, and outer expression of life. Nature is replete with various rhythms, and cycles – day follows night, night follows day, seasons come and go. Similarly, there are biological rhythms to our bodies, minds, and emotions. When these rhythms are in sync, we feel a sense of harmony, and well-being. When stress or illness throws them out of order, we experience discomfort, and discontent and feel upset, and unhappy. Sri Sri on the Sudarshan Kriya “I was already teaching meditation, and yoga. But I felt there was something that was lacking. Though people do their spiritual practices, their life is in a sort of a compartment. They do their prayers, meditation, and spiritual practices but when they come out in life, they are very different people. So, I was thinking how can we bridge this gap – between inner silence, and outer expression of life. During a period of silence, the Sudarshan Kriya came like an inspiration. After I came out of the silence, I started teaching whatever I knew, and people had great experiences.” ‘Su’ means proper, ‘darshan’ means vision, and ‘Kriya’ is a purifying practice. The Sudarshan Kriya is therefore a purifying practice, whereby one receives a proper vision of one’s true self. This unique breathing practice is a potent energizer. Every cell becomes fully oxygenated, and flooded with new life, bringing a sense of joy in the moment. And when we feel good about ourselves, love flows naturally in all our relationships with others. The rhythmic breathing pattern of Sudarshan Kriya harmonizes the rhythms of the body, and emotions, and brings them in tune with the rhythms of nature. The breath connects the body, and mind. Just as emotions affect our patterns of breathing, we can bring about changes in our mental, and behavioural patterns by altering the rhythms of our breath. It flushes our anger, anxiety, and worry; leaving the mind completely relaxed, and energized. The results of Sudarshan Kriya have surprised the medical fraternity across the world. ‘My cancer disappeared’ A doctor from Germany was suffering from metastatic cancer that had spread to her brain and liver when she came to attend her first Art of Living program. She did the course lying down. Two courses later, the cancer had disappeared. Being a doctor, she was requested to explain this. She suggested that possibly, the Sudarshan Kriya and meditation cleared her cells off stresses, leaving the layer of consciousness (or energy) surrounding those cells; which in turn, penetrated deep into her DNA. Independent medical research has documented the benefits of the technique, including alleviation of depression and heightened awareness and creativity. * Studies have demonstrated significant falls in cortical levels, known as the ‘stress hormone’ among Sudarshan Kriya practitioners, suggesting greater levels of both, relaxation and resilience to stress. * A study by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, concluded that regular practice of the Sudarshan Kriya invokes positive emotions, replacing anger, frustration and jealousy. * It’s also found that it improves the blood cholesterol profile with significant drops in total cholesterol and LDL (harmful) cholesterol, as well as increases in HDL (beneficial) cholesterol.

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