Build Body Heat with Surya Bhedana–The Sun Breath

In this post: When we practice Surya Bhedana, we inhale through the right nostril, which increases body heat. This is why this breathing technique is called “sun breath.”


Surya Bhedana is known as sun breath. You may not know this, but our right nostril is associated with the sun and the sun’s heating energy. Our left nostril, which is used in Chandra Bhedana,  is associated with the moon and the moon’s cooling energy.

Therefore, when practicing Surya Bhedana, which involves inhaling through the right nostril, you will notice increased body heat and mental stimulation as you tap into the heating “sun” energy of the right nostril.

surya bhedana sun breath
Thanks to Zama Yoga for the image.

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What Happens When You Practice Surya Bhedana?

In addition to stimulating your mind and heating your body, Surya Bhedana is also useful in several other ways. According to Sarvyoga, some other benefits of Surya Bhedana are that it:

  • activates body functions.
  • increases digestive fire.
  • awakens the Kundalini Shakti.
  • cures all diseases that are caused by insufficiency of oxygen in the blood.
  • cleans the frontal sinuses.
  • helps relieve Vata-related problems.
  • destroys intestinal worms.
  • heats feet or hands.
  • creates lots of energy.
  • boosts the appetite.
  • improves colds, coughing, asthma, or other respiratory problems.
  • lowers the blood pressure.
  • cures gas problems.
  • increases feelings of sexual desire.
  • helps leucoderma and other skin related problems.

Don’t Try This If…

Do not perform Surya Bhedana if you have:

  • high blood pressure,
  • heart disease, or
  • if you have had brain or heart surgery.

Also, if you are new to breath work, build your skill with Chandra Bhedana. It is not appropriate for a beginner to do the more advanced Surya Bhedana.

Regardless of skill level, do not complete Chandra Bhedana and Surya Bhedana in the same day.

Always try to practice breath work on an empty stomach.

Surya Bhedana’s Ratio

According to Sarvyoga, you should inhale, hold, and exhale on a 2:8:4 ratio. Once you perfect this ratio, you can increase it to 4:16:8 or even 8:32:16, depending on your capabilities.

How to Practice Surya Bhedana

  1. Begin in a comfortable position. You can be on your back or seated, whatever works best for you.
  2. Place your right hand in the Visnu Mudra. In this hand position (the same one that you use for Nadi Shodhana), you bring your pointer and middle fingers toward your palm while keeping the other fingers and thumb extended.
  3. Block your left nostril by placing your ring finger against your nasal passage.
  4. Establish Jalandhara bandha and slowly inhale through the right nostril. Count while you breathe. You can use ujjayi breathing if you need help creating a smooth, long inhale.
  5. Pause for four to five seconds at the top of your inhale.
  6. Release the left nostril and block the right.
  7. Exhale through the left nostril. Count while you exhale. Your exhale should take longer than your inhale.

This counts as one set. If you are new to this kind of breathing, begin with 10 sets. Eventually, increase the number of breath sets and the overall duration of your breath work. The goal is that one day you will be able to breathe in this manner for 10 minutes or more.

For the Visual Learners…

Here is a video for the visual learners who want to practice Surya Bhedana.

Before You Begin…

Before you begin any breathing practice, make sure you are sitting in a comfortable position. Take a moment to mentally check in with your body.

Notice where you are tight. Notice where you have pain. Then, as you breathe, try to create relief for these areas.

Also, make sure the breathing practice you selected meets your goals. For example, if you’re new to breathing practice or if you want to cool your body, you want to practice Chandra Bhedana, not Surya Bhedana.

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Do you have any other tips for practicing Surya Bhedana? Please let us know in the comments below.

About Sarah Stockett

Hi, I'm Sarah! I'm a certified Pilates and yoga instructor with a passion for pain relief. I believe you can use simple exercises to relieve your aches + pains. AND, I believe I can teach you how.