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Steps and Benefits of Surya Bhedana Pranayama, Right Nostril Breathing

Right Nostril Breathing (Surya Bheda / Bhedana Pranayama – Right Nostril Breathing) is one of the important Pranayama Breathing Techniques, often combined with Breath Hold (Kumbhaka). “Surya” means “Sun”. During Solar Breath, the Solar Channel (Surya Nadi) or right nostril energy channel is activated. The Sun Breath has been mentioned in Yoga texts, such as Hatha Yoga Pradeepika and Gheranda Samhita.

In Yoga, the right nostril energy channel or Surya Nadi is also known as “Solar Channel – Pingala Nadi”. Because it deals with Prana energy and bodily functions. Also, the left nostril energy channel or ‘Moon channel – Chandra Nadi’, deals with the mind. Inhalation is always done through the right nostril and exhales using the left nostril. Which is said to activate all body functions.


The Sun Breath is classified as a “Kumbhaka” practice or practice related to “Keeping the Breath”. Breathing is kept to the maximum limit depending on each person’s ability (feeling comfortable). The practice of Breath Hold or breath-holding is an advanced practice. You should learn from a qualified Yogi. People with heart disease and blood pressure problems should not perform breath-holding techniques without consulting their doctor. This Breathing Technique (Pranayama) should not be done immediately after a meal. It is recommended to keep a gap of at least 4-5 hours after meals.

1. Precautions

  • You can start with Pranayama at an easy level, then progress to an advanced level. If you are new to Yoga, you can even do Sun Breath without Breath Hold (Kumbhaka), and Neck/Chin Lock (Jalandhara Bandha – Throat / Chin Lock). Follow this simple way, will make you feel healthier and more comfortable. As you progress, you slowly add the Breath Hold technique into your practice. (Neck Lock: The chin is folded, so it is also called Chin Lock)
  • People who are having problems with high blood pressure should not practice this Pranayama. Before performing the Sun Breath exercise, people who have undergone brain surgery, or heart surgery should seek advice from medical professionals, or experts in Yoga. Always perform this Pranayama methodically, and under the supervision of an experienced person.

2. How to Do Sun Breath

  • Sit in a meditative posture, preferably Lotus Pose (Padmasana – Lotus Pose), Perfect Sitting Pose (Siddhasana – Accomplished Pose), or Diamond Pose (Vajrasana – Thunderbolt / Diamond Pose).
  • Keeping your torso and spine straight, place your hands on your knees. Take a deep breath and relax for a few breaths before starting this Pranayama exercise.
  • Now, with your right hand perform the Nasagra Mudra, placing your index and middle fingers on your forehead between your eyebrows.
  • Always use your ring finger to open and close the left nostril, and your thumb to open and close the right nostril.
  • Next, use your ring finger to close the left nostril.
  • Inhale slowly to fill the lungs with the right nostril.
  • Close both nostrils (thumb closes right nostril and ring finger closes left nostril) and hold the breath.
  • While Holding Breath, perform Neck/Chin Lock and Anal Lock (Mola Bhandha – Root Lock).
  • Hold the breath for as long as you feel comfortable. According to Yoga texts, “Yogi should hold their breath until the sweat breaks out”. However, be careful! Because never overuse the Breath Hold technique.
  • Release the Anal Lock and the Neck/Chin Lock, and then exhale through the left nostril (Ida Nadi), and at the same time close the right nostril closed with the thumb.
  • It is a cycle of the Breath of the Sun. Repeat as many rounds as possible. You can start with 5 rounds and then increase to 10 rounds, or more. In addition, the duration of Breath Hold (Kumbhaka) should be increased cautiously. A highly skilled Yogi can do up to 80 rounds per practice of this Pranayama.

3. Sun Breath Benefits

  • Activates the body and its functions.
  • Increases Digestive Fire (Agni – Digestive Fire).
  • Fights all diseases caused by lack of oxygen in the blood.
  • According to Gheranda Samhita scriptures, The Sun Breath counteracts depression and death, awakens the Kundalini energy, and increases the Digestive Fire (Agni).
  • In the Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, The Breath of the Sun clears the frontal sinuses, cures disordered expressions of Vata Energy (Vata Dosha), and removes intestinal worms.
  • According to Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, you can perform the Abdominal Lock (Uddiyana Bandha – Abdominal Lock) by contracting your abdomen at the end of the Kumbhaka. This will force the Prana energy to enter the Central Energy Channel (Sushumna Nadi). Which causes the Kundalini energy to be awakened.