The term Surya Bheda literally translates to "piercing the Sun". However, it indicates to the drawing in of the vital force of life (Prana or the Chi) into the body. This Pranayama is specifically suited to be performed in the winter seasons when heat generation by the body is vital. In addition, the regular practice of the Surya Bheda Pranayama also can bestow the following benefits to its practitioner:
• Improves all metabolic activities of the body
• Strengthens the immune system response and defense
• Brings relief to gastric ulcer conditions
• It claims to cleanse impurities of the body
• Is believed to generate internal body heat
METHOD OF EXECUTING THE SURYA BHEDA PRANAYAMA:
1. Sit on a mat on an even floor in Lotus position (Padmasana).
2. Make sure your spine is straight and the shoulders relaxed. The head and neck should be in line with the straight spine.
3. Close your eyes gently.
4. Now place your right middle finger on your left nostril closing it.
5. Place your right index finger in between the space of the two eyebrows.
6. Breathe in deeply and slowly till you feel your lungs are full – do optimal inhalation only to the point you can comfortably do so without exerting or discomforting yourself.
7. Now close the right inhaling nostril with your right thumb by placing it atop the nostril.
8. Apply the Jalandhar bandha or the chin lock - bringing your chin down to rest on your chest.
9. Hold the inhaled air for as long as is comfortably possible.
10. Undo the Jalandhar bandha slowly (i.e undo the chin lock).
11. Open your left nostril and exhale slowly and completely.
12. Steps 4 - 11 completes one cycle of breath.
A beginner may hold their breath with the chin lock for 5 seconds. With consistent practice, you can advance up to a breath hold of 10 seconds. However, do not hold your breath for long if you feel uncomfortable. Stop the Pranayama and resume on normalizing.
A beginner may start with 10 cycles (i.e performing steps 4 -11 ten times) but should increase it gradually to up to 30 cycles per session.