Sodarshan Chakra Kriya: physical and practical instructions

Here are for your reference merely the physical and practical instructions without the philosophy or benefits:

POSITION: Sit with a straight spine (either with legs crossed or sitting on a chair with feet flat on the ground) Eyes are focused at the tip of the nose, or closed if you prefer.

(more about sitting straight & focussing on the nose below the unaltered teachings of Yogi Bhajan)

a) Block off the right nostril with the right thumb. Inhale slowly and deeply through the left nostril and hold the breath.
Mentally chant ‘Wahe Guru” 16 times, while pumping the navel point 3 times with each repetition (once on ”Waa”, once on ”hey”, and once on ”Guru”) for a total of 48 pumps.
b) Unblock the right nostril and use the right index or pinkie finger to block the left nostril. Exhale slowly and deeply through the right nostril. Continue, inhaling left nostril, exhaling right.

TO END: Inhale and hold 5-10 seconds. Exhale. Then stretch and shake the body for about 1 minute to circulate the energy.
TIME: Suggested length for this kriya is 31 or 62 minutes a day. The ideal is to start at 31 minutes, but you can begin with 11 minutes, then build up to 31, then 40, and eventually 62.

Yogi Bhajan has suggested that we follow any Kriya with One Minute Breath: 20 seconds slow inhale, 20 seconds suspending the breath and 20 seconds slowly releasing the breath. Do this for up to 11 minutes. If you have trouble with 20 seconds then do 15 seconds. Don’t beat yourself up. This should be a delicious experience where you savor the subtlety of your efforts. This will allow your whole psyche to fully assimilate and digest the Kriya consciously and will help you sustain the effects of your practice.

Yogi Bhajan said in Gurdwara on Sunday, December 22nd, 2002:
“Now, most powerful and beautiful is Sodarshan Chakra Kriya.  I thought that I have taught for so many years, now people are ready for it.  We didn’t start teaching it the first day. For me (I do not know about anyone else) it took 30 years to be able to control my left and right nostrils without holding them with my fingers.  And I still do that sometimes when I feel very weak – I use my hand and fingers.  Somebody can say, “Switching nostrils is not needed since the air coming through the right nostril and the left nostril meets.”  We shall not take any responsibility for such wrong practices!   What the hell is one creating? Disturbing the pituitary, the master command gland?  These kinds of jokes will end by themselves, but it will be dangerous for those who practice it wrong.   There is nothing in the teachings which are not clearly stated and which have not worked accurately”

And another Yogi Bhajan Quote from
“The Teachings are the Teachings, and have no one’s personality in them.  I never edit them; you should not edit them.  It is a Golden Chain.  My own prayer is that you can perfect what it is, and go with it.  It is a funny thing.  It is a three thousand year old proven path – it’s not going to stop.  Why do you want to add or subtract something – to satisfy your ego or convince students?  It is very deceitful on the part of a teacher to teach teachings to please people.  So honestly give people what we have.  Teach like me. Teach exactly as it is.  If you are not going to teach Kundalini Yoga purely, then don’t teach it at all. With Kundalini Yoga you are dealing with the life force of the atom.  Don’t play with the pranic energy”

This is how the Siri Singh Sahib (Yogi Bhajan) keeps track of the counting.
Inhale (blocking the right nostril with the right thumb, other fingers held straight up in the air). And then I hold, and then I count ’16’ – – how? One. two. three — counts with the pinkie finger, moving it slightly three times. Four. Five, six — moves the ring finger three times. Seven, eight, nine — moves the middle or Saturn finger three times. Ten. eleven, twelve: — moves the index finger three times Thirteen, fourteen, fifteen — moves the thumb slightly for three beats. Sixteen — brings the index finger over to block off the left nostril, as he releases the right thumb from the right nostril. Then Exhale through right nostril.
You are open to try what works for you.

— above were unaltered teachings of Yogi Bhajan in order not to change anything.
The way I counted was that
I moved my thumbs from finger to finger on each 3 “Wahe Guru” pumps:

Left Thumb to left Index finger and
1. right thumb to right index finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”, then
2. right thumb to right middle finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”, then
3. right thumb to right ring finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”, then
4. right thumb to right little finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”, then
Left Thumb to Middle finger and
5. right thumb to right index finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”, then
6. right thumb to right middle finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”, then
7. right thumb to right ring finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”, then
8. right thumb to right little finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”, then
Left Thumb to left Ring finger and
9. right thumb to right index finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”, then
10. right thumb to right middle finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”, then
11. right thumb to right ring finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”, then
12. right thumb to right little finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”, then
Left Thumb to left pinky finger and
13. right thumb to right index finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”, then
14. right thumb to right middle finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”, then
15. right thumb to right ring finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”, then
16. right thumb to right little finger pumping “Wa”, “He”, “Guru”.

However I want to point out, that both counting systems are just suitable until you internalize the 16 pump cycles. Then you should put your hands onto the knees and feel the 16 beats (I feel them as 4×4 beats now).
About the posture:
From the Hindu Tradition (one of the sources for Sikhism) I gathered:
The Jalandhar Bandha is a yoga position in which the neck is to be bent a little for achieving this bandh. But it should not be bent much. It is to be pressed onto the depression just as a spring is pressed with a little force.
It has been described in Hathapradeepika in the third chapter:
“The chin is to be pressed on the chest (heart) after contracting the throat. This bandh eliminates old age and death. The contracted veins in the throat ensure that the liquid from the skies is received here. Hence, the bandh has been appropriately known as Jalandhar Bandh, which means that it destroys any pain in the throat.
… Who practices this bandh for six months will, no doubt, achieve siddha status.”
And I also want to emphasize that I read that this exercise is even more effective be done with eyes focussing on the tip of the nose. This will definitely be the hardest part of the entire exercise and everyone I know hates this.
It is futile to force it, but instead constructive to relax into a forceful non-resistant state of mind which allows the eyes to drift within. (I did set myself from time to time a second short timer repeating itself which reminded me often to focus on the nose again.)
It has literally to do with a state of relaxed focus and by my experience this leads to a stronger presence, to literally be more in the “here and now” – which is probably why this Kriya is for focus.