Bandhas/Locks

0 Fri, 17 September 2010, 16:34

Meaning: Bandha means lock or bond of the internal energy or prana which is produced during the practice. Bandha allows the prana to flow within the body so that the different parts of the body are nourished with the prana. Bandhas are used in yoga practices where the internal organs or external muscles of the body are locked or contracted. Bandhas are practiced along with asanas, pranayamas, kriyas, or mudras. Three types of bandhas are – mula bandha, uddiyana bandha, and jalandhar bandha.

 Mula Bandha: Mula means root, hence root lock. This bandha mainly relates to contraction of perineal muscles, located in the region of anus and genitals. This bandha must be performed in Sidhasana pose however it can be performed while sitting in the Padmasana pose also. Initially it’s difficult to isolate the muscle as it feels everything is pulled up and contracted but with practice you can discriminate it easily. 

Practice: 

1) Sit in Sidhasana or Padmasana. (Sit straight)

2) Press the heel of the foot to the perineum

3) Take a deep breath, exhale. Contract and draw the perineal muscles upwards.

4) Hold for few seconds, relax the muscle, and breathe naturally normally

5) Practice this bandha for 5 times in the beginning, gradually increasing the practice from sitting to standing in forward bend poses. 

Benefits:   

This bandha controls the apana, the energy that moves downwards which is in the lower abdomen with practice it prevents the prana to escape downwards. This is a very powerful bandha and improves the health of reproductive system and activates kundalini energy. 

Uddiyana Bandha:  

Meaning: Abdominal lock, the word Uddiyana means to fly upward. In this bandha the abdomen (and diaphragm) is made to rise up to the chest. It is also known as the stomach lift. 

Practice: 

1) Sit in comfortable position, padmasana or siddhasana

 (one can stand for full abdominal lock)

2) Place the hands on the knees. Close the eyes and relax the whole body.

3) Take a deep breathe through your nostrils and exhale your mouth.

4) Lean forward locking the chin, press hands on the knees, and raise the shoulders.

5) Contract abdominal muscles pulling them inwards and upwards. (Again in the beginning it is difficult to recognize the separate muscle but with practice you will be able to achieve it)

6) Hold the position keeping the abdominal wall sucked in. Even before you gasp for breath release the lock, relax the shoulders, raise the head and inhale slowly.

8) In the beginning 3 rounds can be practiced, moving to 10 rounds as the body gets accustomed to the practice of uddiyana bandha.

9) This bandha has to be performed under the supervision of the guru or yoga instructor. 

Benefits:

1) People suffering from abdominal ailments such as constipation, indigestion, worms etc can benefit from this bandha.

2) Abdominal organs are massaged and toned.

3) It helps in easing tension and anxiety.

4) It helps in improving blood circulation of the internal organs.

5) This practice directs the energy in the shushumna nadi. 

Jalandhara Bandha: 

Meaning: The Sanskrit ‘Jalan’ means net and ‘dhara’ means flow. This bandha helps in regulating the network of the nadis in the neck, the flow of prana in throat. It is said in Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Jaladhar bandha destroys old age and death, and even stops the downward movement of the nectar. 

Practice:

1) Sit in comfortable position (siddhasana or padmasana).

2) Place the hands on the knees, relax the whole body.

3) Inhale deeply, hold the breathe (rechaka).

4) Bend the head forward, press the chin to the throat.

5) Straighten the hands, move the shoulders upward.

6) Hold the position as long as you can.

7) Slowly relax the shoulders, release the lock, raise the head and exhale. 

Benefits:

1) It helps in balancing the thyroid function and regulating the metabolism.

2) It helps in bringing mental relaxation by reducing stress and anxiety.

3) It also helps in improving the respiratory and circulation system.

Hari OM,

Amrit Kalsi

Yoga Practitioner

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