How To Take Care Of Yourself: Sudarshan kriya and meditation for mammas and daddas

Posted on Aug 23 2013 - 8:00pm by megganmamma
Time for sudarshan kriya

Time for sudarshan kriya

When I was 26 years old I did this course called ‘The Happiness Program.’  I know it sounds really naff when people say this, but it changed my life.  It really did.  When I registered for the course I didn’t realise just how much I needed it.   I’d spent so many years of my life being really busy.  I was constantly trying to fit in as much as I could.  I was an addicted multi-tasker and a high achiever – basically your classic Type A personality.  I  guess I believed that the more I did the more fully I was living.  At the end of the day what that mostly left me with was an over-riding feeling of worn-out-ness. I didn’t realise it at the time, but my system was really knackered.

On the course we learnt this breathing practice called the sudarshan kriya.  It was powerful.  I’d done many breathing techniques before and I’d been teaching yoga for a few years, but nothing I’d done came anywhere near this.  Our teacher said that if we really wanted to experience the benefits of the sudarshan kriya we should practice it once a day for 30 minutes over a period of 6 months.  I took it on.  I was really keen to see how it would affect me.   The benefits were huge.  One of the benefits I noticed almost immediately was that I was able to get so much done in heaps less time, quite effortlessly.  At that time I was working as a freelance journalist and needed to pump out a lot of articles, fast.  I had to work long, hard hours to meet my deadlines, until I started doing sudarshan kriya every day.  My mind was so fresh after kriya.  I was able to punch them out in no time.   The words just flowed through me.

During one of the days on the course I felt that a lot of anger was coming out of me.  I got a boil on my top lip which was really sore.  It felt like it was symbolic of the anger that was coming out – like a mini volcano erupting on my face.  It was nasty.  And then after the Happiness Program I found myself being really calm in stressful situations.  I was really able to remain centred and to think clearly and act effectively, without trying to, where previously I’d usually have lost my temper or ended up being really angry for a long time.  When stressful situations or people popped up around me it didn’t seem to touch me as much.  The more regular my practice of the sudarshan kriya became the more I felt as though there was some sort of shield that was protecting me.  I know that may sound a little strange but I don’t know how else to describe it.

Overall, the course had such a huge impact on me that years later I did my Teachers Training course at the Art of Living ashram in Bangalore, India, and became a volunteer teacher of it.

How To Get Your Kriya and Meditation Done When You Have A Newborn

For the last 13 years I’ve done the sudarshan kriya at home pretty much every day. When Joshi was born I missed a few days, but was back into it within 10 days or so.   Kriya’s not something you can do while your baby’s awake and in need of your attention, so the way I’d fit it in initially was to do it during the day as soon as he fell asleep.  It could be any time of day, because he didn’t yet have a specific sleeping pattern.   Anyway, as soon as he’d fall asleep I’d drop whatever I was doing and go straight into three stage pranayama (one of the initial breathing practices you do to prepare for sudarshan kriya).  Yes, of course there was always laundry to do, dishes to wash, rooms to tidy, etc (when isn’t there with a baby!), but I knew that if I was to get my kriya done I had to seize those small and unpredictable windows of opportunity.  Everything else could be done while Joshi was awake; kriya couldn’t.

Of course there were times when my practice would get interrupted because Joshi would wake soon after he’d fallen asleep.  Sometimes I had to come out of my meditation really quickly to tend to him.  If you meditate regularly you know how jarring that can be.  But I decided I wasn’t going to complain about it.  I was just grateful to have got 10 or 20 minutes in, or whatever it was.  Something’s better than nothing, right?

How To Get Your Kriya and Meditation Done When You Have A One Year Old

Now that Joshi’s almost a year old a lot has changed.  When he wakes up in the morning (usually around 6.15am), instead of getting some extra sleep while Simon looks after Joshi, I get up, have a shower and spend the next hour doing my practice.  I do 15-20 minutes of padmasadhana (a gorgeous sequence of yoga poses which is taught on the more advanced Art of Living courses), 30 minutes of sudarshan kriya and 10-20 minutes of sahaj samadhi meditation, (which I also learnt through the Art of Living Foundation).  When I’m done, I look after Joshi while Simon does his.  This is what works best for us now.  It wouldn’t have worked when he was a newborn coz I was just too tired to get up at that time of the morning… and it may not always work either. We just have to work out what’s best on any given day.

I have to say, I often wonder how parents cope without something like sudarshan kriya in their day because this parenting journey is really demanding and you really need all the energy and patience you can get to deal with situations with your kids well.  Since I’ve become a parent my level of appreciation for the benefits that sudarshan kriya bring me have increased so much.  Not a day goes by where I don’t feel like I’m one of the luckiest people on the planet, for having come across the Happiness Program and what it’s brought to my life.  I promise you, if I wasn’t doing kriya everyday things would look a lot different at home and Joshi and I certainly wouldn’t be smiling as much.

Tip of the day for parents-to-beLearn the sudarshan kriya and meditation now, before you become parents.

Extra tip for mammas-to-be:  Learn how to do sudarshan kriya before you become pregnant because you can’t learn it while your bub’s growing inside you.  Also, once you have your baby it’s so much harder to make the time to do the course.  Not that it’s impossible, just harder.  The Happiness Program is a total of about 18 hours spread usually over 6 consecutive sessions, so it’s a big commitment.   You also can’t miss any of the sessions, so you really need to be able to take it on fully.  Having said that, once you’ve learnt the sudarshan kriya you have an amazing tool with which to take care of yourself.  And I promise you, you’ll need that when you become a parent, especially if you want to share your best self with your family and not your worn out, irritable, sleep-deprived, grumpy self.

PS.  The Art of Living Courses, including The Happiness Program, are taught by volunteers in 152 countries, so you can do them almost anywhere in the world.   I will be teaching The Happiness Program in Sydney soon.  To register for now my next Happiness Program, 5-10 April 2016, click here.

Oh, and when your kids are old enough they can do the Art Excel Course.   They’ll love it.  It’s heaps of fun.

Further reading about AOL:

Art of Living Foundation – http://www.artofliving.org

Mums and dads reading this … have you done The Happiness Program?   How has it helped you?

29 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. katesurfs April 4, 2013 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    I couldn’t survive without doing Sudarshan Kriya! I’ve been doing my daily for 11 years and every day I think about the situations that being a parent has put my in, and I know that I wouldn’t be able to handle those situations the same if I had never done the Happiness Program. Having one child, it was a little tricky to fit in the practice, and now having two is even more… tricky.. but I never miss a day, I know it’s totally worth it 🙂 Kate Bassett – Aware Parenting Instructor.

    • megganmamma May 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm - Reply

      That’s inspiring to read Kate. I can’t imagine how hard it is to fit it in having two kids, but it’s obvious from what you say that having experienced what the sudarshan kriya gives you, you do whatever you have to to make the time to do it.

      When I first learnt the kriya it took a lot of discipline and commitment for me to do it every day, but once I realised how the accumulative affects of practicing it daily was affecting my mind and bringing so much peace inside me, it became much easier to keep that commitment. I’m so grateful that I came across it.

  2. Ajay May 12, 2015 at 7:35 am - Reply

    I do sudarshan kriya regularly and now I cannot stop it, life has become so beautiful because of sudarshan kriya. Had one question – can pregnant women do sudharshan kriya? I did not come across any concrete answer for this question.

    • megganmamma May 12, 2015 at 7:46 am - Reply

      Hi Ajay, if they have done the Happiness Program and learnt the sudarshan kriya before becoming pregnant then women can do sudarshan kriya when they are pregnant, for as long as they feel comfortable. Bhastrika must be avoided all through pregnancy. They can practice long sudarshan kriya until their fifth month of pregnancy … and only after that if they are really comfortable with it. A woman cannot learn sudarshan kriya while she is pregnant.

  3. Kate May 18, 2015 at 11:53 am - Reply

    I did the Happiness Program two years ago and since doing my Sudarshan Kriya every day for past several months, I have seen a very noticeable difference. I used to have shallow breathing and a bit of asthma, I also used to get short breathed when anxious and now I don’t really even notice my breathing – it’s much more soft and steady and that’s been so re-assuring, it makes me feel grounded and comforted. I have also felt an inner glow growing and growing and it’s like my eyes have opened up; my awareness has grown and my senses have sharpened. I feel more emotionally stable and things don’t stick to me like they used to – I used to be a dweller – and so I am very grateful for that. Now I can just move on! The other amazing thing I’ve noticed is my increased energy levels. I seem to be able to do more with my time. I don’t get tired until it’s bed-time, love that!!
    It took me a while to make sudarshan kriya a habit but now it is and there’s no turning back.

    • megganmamma May 18, 2015 at 2:57 pm - Reply

      Lovely to read of your experiences Kate. What a powerful testimonial to the sudarshan kriya!

  4. Gavin May 18, 2015 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    This technique was a life changer for me – it eradicated my depression and brought my focus to the present moment in a short time. I couldn’t recommend it more!

    • megganmamma May 18, 2015 at 2:58 pm - Reply

      Thanks for commenting Gavin. I’ve met a lot of people who’s depression disappeared after regularly practicing sudarshan kriya. Awesome that there’s a way to deal with depression that doesn’t include pills and horrid side effects!

  5. Jyothsna Aradhya May 18, 2015 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    I learnt the Sudarshan Kriya around 15 yrs ago. I just happened to do it just like any other workshop you would do in your early 20’s on your journey of exploring life. Well, I must say after all these years my life could never have been as interesting as it has been if I had’nt stumbled upon the Art of Living course (now called the Happiness Program). More interestingly, I believe that it’s because I practice sudarshan kriya that I felt so relaxed after having my baby and could deal with the challenges that motherhood threw at me. I can now say motherhood has been the most pleasurable experience of my life. Credit goes of. course to me:))) and to the meditation and Sudarshan Kriya practice, which I do everyday whenever possible. Highly recommend to all mums and dads. Great article Megs!!!

    • megganmamma May 18, 2015 at 6:51 pm - Reply

      Hi Jyothsna! Thank you for sharing your experience here with us. I love hearing about how sudarshan kriya helps parents! I wish I could also get the children to share their comments here! I’ve heard of so many parents tell me that their kids asked them to go and do their sudarshan kriya because they wanted their mum or dad to stop being all angry and grumpy and tired! Kids can feel the difference in their parents.

  6. Percy. Asundaria. May 18, 2015 at 6:11 pm - Reply

    I have been practising Sudarshan Kriya, from 1999 till date. I don’t fall sick, I don’t take any medicines. I’m full of energy and at sixty plus, I prance around like a forty year old. I get things done faster, rather things just fall into place. Life is one big miracle, including being married for four decades. No kidding. Percy.

    • megganmamma May 18, 2015 at 6:46 pm - Reply

      Oh Percy! Thanks for sharing that here! I can just feel all that energy pulsating through your words!

  7. Amrita May 19, 2015 at 11:49 pm - Reply

    Sudarshan Kriya has brought peace and beauty back in my life. My day is incomplete without doing my Kriya. I started this practice 9 years ago in Malaysia while I was under tremendous stress and was taking some medications too.. Slowly and steadly it transformed my state to a beautiful state of bliss and happiness. I feel happy and full of energy everyday.This Sudarshan kriya is a real gift to me and am so fortunate to receive it.

    • megganmamma May 20, 2015 at 8:44 am - Reply

      So lovely to read your experience Amrita. Thank you for sharing here. I too feel very very fortunate.

  8. Zarmeen May 20, 2015 at 9:41 pm - Reply

    I came across the Art of Living through a dear friend of mine 2 years ago and I can’t express my gratitude to her for pushing me to go and do the Happiness Course. On reflection, today, I honestly feel it saved me from leading a “superficial” and artificial life. I woke up so to speak !! Immediately after the course I wasn’t regular with practicing sudarshan kriya. I did it for about 2 weeks and stopped due to work pressures. I’m very much that Type A person Meggan talks about (from her past). But then suddenly the advanced course (also called the Art of Silence Course or the Part 2 course) was offered. It was within months of me doing the first course and again my friend pushed me. If I could get everyone to just do the happiness course and DEFINATELY follow through with doing he advanced course, you won’t ever forget the amazing gifts these courses give you. The amazing experiences of both courses left me hanging for more and I have since repeated both courses and done a few other courses offered through the Art of Living.

    The knowledge from the courses and practicing the sudarshan kriya give me respite from my own mental busy mind, freedom from worries; it gives me a sense of being soooo grateful that as I type this message I feel teary with gratitude. It allowed me to release my crap baggage and allowed me to just accept myself.

    I’m now doing sudarshan kriya regularly, as I can feel the “shield” that often gets talked about. I find I’m now able to be in situations that are very challenging and to be more centreded when I’m around people who are getting upset. Bad feelings don’t last as long and I an able to brush it off. I can’t explain it fully. My family is so much better off for it too! I feel now that my 2 beautiful daughters are getting a chance to see me from within … and as for my hubby… I think we are both growing together much better too.

    To all those reading this, I just sincerely hope you give it just one go. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!!!
    And to you Meggan Mumma.. you are an amazing teacher. Thank you.

    • megganmamma May 24, 2015 at 10:14 am - Reply

      Beautiful sharing Zarmeen. And yes, doing the Art of Silence course as soon as possible after doing the Happiness Program can make the hugest difference and really help people to consolidate their practice of the kriya and apply the knowledge to their lives. The Happiness course, while so profound and life-transforming for so many people, is really just the beginning. It scratches on the surface so to speak. And then the Art of Silence course takes you deeper, deeper into that inner stillness and joy.

  9. Anonymous July 28, 2015 at 11:12 pm - Reply

    As much as I love doing my sudarshan kriya daily , it makes me a bit insecure to see my husband so deeply into it that he will try to do kriya twice a day , combined with a 40 min mediation twice daily ( because he has done Sahaj samadhi) Is it ok to do kriya twice in one day ? Does it really turn someone into a “socially dysfunctional ” person as I already see him withdrawn and trying not to talk most of the times .

    • megganmamma July 30, 2015 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      Hi Pratia, thanks for sharing your comment here. The guideline is that sudarshan kriya can be practiced once a day. If you are unwell then you can practice it twice a day. I understand that you think your husband is becoming socially dysfunctional as a consequence of doing sadhana (the breathing practices and meditation), but it may be that something challenging is going on for him right now and that he is doing more sadhana to help himself to move through it more easily. It’s common for someone who’s gone deeper in sadhana to want to talk less and be in silence and stillness more. While this might occur as being socially dysfunctional and seem odd to others, the person who is experiencing it may feel very comfortable with the change.

  10. Diwa Venkata March 7, 2016 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    This article is so inspiring. I’ve been doing Sudarshana Kriya for 2 months now and I can see the changes in me. It is like a happiness pill which keeps your mood up though out the day and recycles the bad thoughts every morning. Thanks Meggan for sharing this article.

    • megganmamma March 7, 2016 at 10:21 pm - Reply

      So nice to read about your positive experience Diwa! I could notice the changes in me during the course – it was just incredible to witness those. Glad you’re experiencing your own positive effects too.

  11. shweta May 20, 2016 at 7:20 pm - Reply

    Hi

    i learned sudarshan kriya 2 months back.I was regular.But when i came to know that i am pregnant i stopped doing kriya.Is it safe for me to continue kriya.As this is my first child after many years.So little worried

    • megganmamma May 26, 2016 at 10:56 am - Reply

      Hi Schweta, firstly congratulations! How exciting. You can do short kriya during your pregnancy if you are comfortable with it. You should not practice bhastrika when you are pregnant. You can practice the long kriya in a group until the 5th month of your pregnancy. And you can do kriya when you are in labour. Nadi shodhana and meditation are excellent. Do the sahaj samadhi meditation course, if you haven’t already and practice that meditation technique every day. Also do as many Part 2/Art of Silences courses as you can while you are pregnant. Wishing you all the best. Jai Gurudev!xx

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