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Surya Bhedi/Chandra Bhedi Pranayama

Surya Bhedi (also called Surya Bhedana) pranayama can stimulate and awaken energy both in the physical and the pranic bodies. In particular, it can activate and energize the Pingala Nadi, which is associated with the right nostril or the "sun" nadi and the sympathetic nervous system.

Chandra Bhedi (or Bhedana) is just the opposite of Surya Bhedi and activates the Ida Nadi which is associated with cooling aspect and the parasympathetic nervous system.

The word "surya" means the sun and "bhedi" means one that can pierce. Thus the literal meaning of Surya Bhedi is to pierce or energize the right/Sun/heating nostril. Chandra means the moon and represents the cooling energy of the moon.

In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Surya Bhedi is described in the following three shlokas:

Verse 2.48: Sitting in any comfortable and stable posture, the Yogi should breathe in slowly and smoothly through the right nostril.

Verse 2.49: Retain the breath within until the breath diffuses to the roots of the hair and tips of the nails, and let it out through the left nostril slowly.

Verse 2.50: Surya Bhedi is excellent for purifying the brain area (cranium), destroying the imbalances due to "vaata dosha" (a term representing disturbance of the wind, taken from Ayurveda, the ancient science of medicine) and removing bacteria from the body. It should be done repeatedly.

Gherand Samhita, another ancient text of Hatha Yoga, has a similar description of Surya Bhedi pranayama (5.57, 5.58)

It is worth noting that in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika there is no mention of the Chandra Bhedi pranayama. Most commentators, however, believe that Chandra Bhedi should be practiced as a complementary practice to Surya Bhedi.

I am giving below steps only for Surya Bhedi pranayama.  In Chandra Bhedi, we breathe in through the left nostril and breathe out through the right. The steps are identical to those mentioned below for Surya Bhedi.

Step-by-step


Alternate nostril breath


Alternate nostril breath

Surya Bhedi is a very energizing breathing technique and can generate heat in the body. So we want to progress slowly with the technique, working in stages to introduce breath retention and bandhas, increase capacity and duration of each session. If you are a beginner, practice each stage for a few weeks before moving on to the next stage.

All breaths are deep and soft using the Ujjayi breathing technique. Make sure that you don’t feel any strain during breathing.

For this breathing practice, use the Vishnu Mudra with the right hand to close the right nostril with the thumb and the left nostril with the ring finger.

Stage 1

  1. Sit in a comfortable sitting posture with the spine upright, head and neck aligned with the spine, and shoulders relaxed
  2. Take a deep inhalation through the right nostril using the 3-part Ujjayi breath
  3. Exhale deeply through the left nostril again using the 3-part Ujjayi breath. Try to make the duration of exhalation twice as long as that of inhalation.
  4. That completes one round. Repeat for about 7-8 rounds

Stage 2

  1. Sit in a comfortable sitting posture with the spine upright, head and neck aligned with the spine, and shoulders relaxed
  2. Take a deep inhalation through the right nostril using the 3-part Ujjayi breath
  3. Apply the Jalandhara Bandha (Chin Lock) and hold the breath in for a duration that feels comfortable
  4. Release the bandha and exhale deeply through the left nostril again using the 3-part Ujjayi breath. Try to make the duration of exhalation twice as long as that of inhalation.
  5. That completes one round. Repeat for about 7-8 rounds

Stage 3

  1. Sit in a comfortable sitting posture with the spine upright, head and neck aligned with the spine, and shoulders relaxed
  2. Take a deep inhalation through the right nostril using the 3-part Ujjayi breath
  3. Apply the Jalandhara Bandha (Chin Lock) and the Mula Bandha (Root Lock) and hold the breath in for a duration that feels comfortable
  4. Release the bandha and exhale deeply through the left nostril again using the 3-part Ujjayi breath. Try to make the duration of exhalation twice as long as that of inhalation.
  5. That completes one round. Repeat for about 7-8 rounds

Stage 4

  1. Sit in a comfortable sitting posture with the spine upright, head and neck aligned with the spine, and shoulders relaxed
  2. Take a deep inhalation through the right nostril using the 3-part Ujjayi breath
  3. Apply the Jalandhara Bandha (Chin Lock) and the Mula Bandha (Root Lock) and hold the breath in for a duration that feels comfortable
  4. Release the bandha and exhale deeply through the left nostril again using the 3-part Ujjayi breath. Try to make the duration of exhalation twice as long as that of inhalation.
  5. At the end of exhalation, retain the breath out and apply all the three bandhas – Chin Lock, Root Lock and Uddiyana Bandha (Navel Lock), also called Mahabandha
  6. Release all the three bandhas before proceeding to the next round
  7. That completes one round. Repeat for about 7-8 rounds

Benefits:

  • Creates heat in the body and counters imbalances of the vata dosha (disturbances of the wind element).
  • Activates and stimulates the pranic energy by energizing the Pingala Nadi.
  • Helps alleviate dullness, lethargy, depression.
  • Brings fresh energy to the body so one can perform physical activities more efficiently.
  • Makes the mind more alert and perceptive and is a good pre-meditation pranayama practice.
  • Useful in treating low blood pressure and infertility in women.

Contraindications

People suffering from heart disease, high blood pressure or epilepsy should avoid this pranayama.

44 comments to Surya Bhedi/Chandra Bhedi Pranayama

  • mk pandey

    very good

  • narendra bhattarai

    my right nostril is blocked most of the time, so i can not perform anulom bilom pranayama, can surya bhedi pranayam clear the right nostril ?
    what should i do so that i can inhale and exhale fully and efficiently during the pranayam ?
    thanking you so much

    • Hello Narendra,
      you may want to try steam inhalation for about five minutes. That should clear your nostrils. Then you should practice jala neti. These two practices should help you clear up both nostrils. Then it will be much easier to do the pranayama practices.

  • Meenakshi

    Hi,

    I am suffering from allergic rhinitis and after doing suryabhedi pranayam for single day and the accumulated mucus (yellow color) started to discharge though i feel it has started helping me but I am feeling very uneasy ( burning sensation in throat) and tremendous pain in front portion of my face. Is there any problem should i stop doing it or continue believing these symptoms would subside gradually.

    Also after doing Suryabhedi pranayam I felt that through out the day I am breathing through my right nostril only is their only problem if that happens as sometimes i feel a bit dizzy.

    Please suggest.

    • Hello Meenakshi,
      My suggestion is to practice these pranayama practices under the guidance of a local qualified yoga teacher. It is hard for me to judge whether what you are experiencing is temporary or not. It could well be an indication of the cleansing that is going on. On the other hand, you cannot ignore signs like feeling dizzy. In my class I urge students to stop any practice that causes dizziness as that could be counter-productive.

      • Meenakshi

        Thank you Sir really grateful for your reply,

        However, I would like to mention that the dizziness did not happened while practicing the pranayama it was felt in due course of day may due to high humid weather and yes I could feel the cleansing happening in my sinuses also other problematic symptoms of bloating are also subsiding. Watching the results I want to continue to practice this pranayama . I am based in delhi hence keeping in view the weather and fact that i have profound vata dosh I want to understand the ideal duration of performing suryabhedi pranayama.

        Regards

        • Certainly, Meenakshi, if you know that your dizziness was not related to your yoga practice, you should continue with the practice. There is no “ideal” duration for the practice. For every individual, it depends on how comfortable you are with the practice. If you start feeling light-headed, dizzy or otherwise uncomfortable in any manner, you should not continue with the practice of Surya Bhedi pranayama.

  • Varun

    Sir,
    I have had sinusitis from many years and I was adviced to do SuryaBedha by my instructor. But when I checked my BP recently, it was 140/90 (31 yr old male). Doing SuryaBedha made me feel I was getting more anxious. Do you think this is normal?

    Thanks

    • Hi Varun,
      Surya Bhedi pranayama is associated with the Pingala naadi which is the sun/hot naadi. So, this pranayama can generate more heat in the system. This practice should be followed by the balancing Anuloma Viloma pranayama. If it increases both BP and anxiety, I think you should reduce the intensity/duration of the practice to stay at a level that feels more comfortable. Check back with your instructor and make sure you are doing it right and not overdoing it.

  • Latha

    Dear Guruji,

    I have severe sinusitis and hence started Surya bedhi pranayama. Presently my BP is under normal condition. I just would like to know whether practicing this pranayama going to affect my BP?

    • Hello Latha,
      Practicing surya bhedi, without complementing it with chandra bhedi or Anuloma Viloma can possibly affect BP. I suggest you include some deep breathing pranayamas like anuloma viloma, bhramari, ujjayi etc. as part of your practice.

  • Mohan

    I am BP patient today it is 140/98
    How to control with yoga , I am 53 yrs old
    I am using medicines

  • Anand Iyer

    Hi,

    I am suffering form blood pressure and high cholesterol. what precautions I need to take care before doing Surya bedhna pranayam. after doing Surya bhedhi can I do Chandra bhedi immediately.

    • Hello Anand,
      Indeed, you should do chandra bhedana right after surya bhedana, especially with your health condition. In general, I recommend that you practice bhramari and alternate nostril breathing to close out your pranayama practice as these will calm the nerves down and balance out all the dualities.

      • Anand Iyer

        Thank you for the reply. Can u teach me the correct method of chandra bhedna and surya bhedna. Yesterday I tried chandra bhedna and after few minutes I started coughing and my nose were blocked…..

  • sonia sharma

    I suffer from pitta vatta vikruti. Gas and bloatedness.I lado suffer from chronic amoebiases.will suryabheda pranayam help me

    • Hello Sonia,
      I am not sure if just by practicing these couple of techniques you can get the desired benefits. I always recommend developing a full yoga practice comprising of asana, pranayama and meditation to really derive full benefits. Once you have a good practice, then you can lay more emphasis on specific techniques which might be more suited to a given physical condition.

  • Harsh Wadhwa

    Namaste.. my blodd pressure went upto 135/200 which is now 100/160 currently.. pls guide me.. can I just perform chandra bhedi pranayama alone? As I’ve read that surya bhedi pranayama may shoot your blood pressure. All my heart and kidneys n liver are intact.. it’s just the high blood pressure. I’m 34 male.

    • Hello Harsh, you may need to take a closer look at what might have caused the BP to rise in the first place. Is it your diet? lack of exercise? stress? lifestyle? Unless you have some idea of the cause it is hard to deal with it only through some breathing practices. Of course, Chandra bhedi, alternate nostril breathing, bhramari etc are the pranayamas that may help also.

      • Harsh Wadhwa

        Thanks Sir for the reply.. And I guess chandrabhedi has already started to help. I’ll also so bhramri along. Could u please suggest more pranayamas.

  • manik

    Sir. I am suffering from renal failure and I am on dialysis since two yrs , suprisigly after dialysis my health deteriorates ,. I don’t have anything like BP or Sugar only s urea and St creatinine are very high, if I do any pranayam or even anulom vilom pranayam just 10 rounds sr creatinine increases. Enquired many yoga instructor s. None. replied, Please guide me

    • Hello Manik,
      I am sorry to read about your health situation and how pranayama seems to make it worse. I am actually a little surprised that even a gentle anulom vilom seems to make things worse for you. Maybe you should try some gentle asana practice to build more strength and resistance and then try pranayama. Not having any direct experience in this area, I am unable to offer any well-informed recommendation. All the best.

  • a.k.prabhakar

    feeling nausia from some time with anulom vilom.from one month facing rhinitis problem.why i feel nausea?may i practise anulom vilom and suryabhedi pranayam same time?

    • Hello Prabhakar,
      It is quite unusual to feel nausea after anulom-viloma pranayama. Not sure what could be causing it. Are you straining in any way when doing the practice? Your rhinitis could be the other possibility. My suggestion would be to inhale steam for about five minutes before doing anulom-viloma. That way the nostrils will get free and you will feel no strain. I hope you are doing surya bhedi before anulom-viloma. Since surya bhedi is likely to created internal heat, it is best to follow it with Sheetali/seetkari pranayama and then do the anulom-viloma. Hope this helps.

  • tridib mandal

    i have high pitta dosha……will chandra vedi pranayam be usefull to me??

  • ks

    Can you give more information about shuddhi kriyas like vesan, dand ,neti etc

  • Prashantha S

    My blood pressure is about 140 and 95. Blood pressure is due to stress and depression. Can I do soorya bhedi pranayama? I heard that soorya bhedi pranayama is good for stress and depression.

    • Hi Prashantha, I have not seen anywhere mentioned that Surya Bhedi is contraindicated for BP. I suggest you do the surya bhedi but eventually follow it up with the alternate nostril breathing practice (nadi shuddhi or anuloma viloma) to balance out the pranic energy.

      • Prashantha S

        Thank you for your valuable suggestions regarding the Soorya Bhedi pranayama. I need another clarification. Shall I do soorya Anuloma Viloma pranayama (right nostril inhale and exhale by the same nostril).

        The above clarification is very much required for me because one of the yogic doctors (BNYS degree holder) suggested me that who are suffering from hypertension due to stress and depression should not do Soorya Bhedi and Soorya Anuloma Viloma Pranayama. She suggested that Soorya Bhedi and Soorya Anuloma Viloma Pranayamas are increasing the body temperature. The increased body temperature may raise the BP further to a higher value.

        I heard that Soorya Bhedi and Soorya Anuloma Viloma pranayamas are good for stress and depression relief.

        Please clarify my doubt.

        • Hello Prashantha, my suggestion would be to try out surya bheda pranayama and see if it impacts your blood pressure. If you have a BP monitoring instrument at home, you can check your BP at a fixed time during the day and see if you experience major fluctuations which could be the result of your surya bhedi pranayama. In my experience, it is not easy to generalize the effect of any pranayama. Much depends on individual constitution. My other suggestion is to not ignore other pranayama practices like ujjayi pranayama, bhramari, anuloma viloma, kapalabhati etc. It is the combined effect of all these practices that can help you with stress and depression and many other health conditions.

  • Purnima

    Good day sir

    I am suffering from sinus in right nostril from last 10 years .medicine only helped till taking medicine.But at the same time my hairfall which makes me in depression. Now by steaming ,anulom-vilom ,jalneti.I am try to stoping my nose blockage.But wvery next day mucus.although I eradicate through jal neti .But I am always depressed due to my sever hair fall.Bue to sinus I stoped eating amla,dahi as making me more cough.As while couging and eradicating mucus my all energy wasted and I feel my all food and fruits are not giving good results as agin intense hair fall.After reading yur page I think this surya bedhi can generate a lot of heat in me.and my cold problem may cured.So how come my hairs will start growing as they are falling from roots .as roots of hair are very thin.Please help sr.

    Next the process of starting the pranayam:
    1) start with anulom -vilom then surya bedhi( as per your instructions.) then kapal bhati.
    plese tell the right sequence…

    • Hi Purnima,
      I don’t have any experience with yoga for hair growth. From what I have read, shirshasana could be of some help. You need to do regular asana, pranayama and, most importantly, meditation to take care of your depression.

  • St.Thirumoolar of Tamilnadu who is the contemporary of St.Patanjali
    has written in detail about chandrayoga. I am teaching that yoga in
    Thirumoolar yoga siddha peedam Coimbatore. contact 9486677366
    St.Thirumoolar is emperor of yogis. His student Kalanginath went to China. He is known as Confucious. Thirumoolar says about astangayoga
    vasiyoga,kayakalpayoga,pariangayoga,kesariyoga,amuritharanai etc.
    Since all these are in Tamil.They are least known to the world.

  • Ajay Shastri

    Dear Guru Ji,

    Thank you for your informative article. I want to start doing SuryaBhedi Pranayama to increase my depleting energy levels and simultaneously do Chandrabhedi Pranayama for excessive laziness. I am doing both because my laziness and low energy levels have hugely impacted my life over the years. I have been doing Anulom Vilom without Kumbhaka for 7 months for anxiety and energy but have seen no difference. Will also start doing it with Kumbhaka now. Can the three of these pranayamas be done daily? Does it sound like these three might help in conjunction? Please let me know.

    Thank you,
    Ajay Shastri

    • Dear Ajay,
      In my opinion, you cannot treat a few isolated yoga practices as therapeutic treatments for serious ailments. Yoga is helpful when it is practiced for the whole “being” – mind, body, intellect and deeper. In that sense, you need to establish a daily practice of asana, pranayama, yoga nidra and meditation. Having done that, you can put more emphasis on the techniques that you have mentioned for added benefits for your specific situation.

  • Ankit

    Can we do chandra bhedi and surya bhedi daily ?
    Will suryabhedi only help in chakra meditation?
    why i am asking if pingala will be more activated then how we will balance ida naadi

  • Anu

    Hi,

    Can I do Surya Bhedi pranayama along with Anulom Vilom (alternate nostril breathing) Pranayama?

    Is there such a thing that one must not mix any pranayama practices together?

    • Yes, Anu, various pranayama practices can be combined in the same session. My suggestion is that you do the anuloma viloma practice as the last one in your session as it helps balance out the system.

  • Anu

    Okay, thanks for the quick response. I had read somewhere that Chandra bhedi and Surya bhedi should not be done together so was making sure whether pranayama practices can be mixed at all.