Yoga and Bandhas

27 Jan


The bandhas are mechanisms by which a yogi can direct the flow of prana, the universal life-force energy that animates and unites us all. Bandhas are subtle internal locking techniques that are used to strengthen and protect crucial parts of the body, especially during strenuous practice. More technically, bandhas are defined as the co-activation, or simultaneous testing, of antagonistic, or opposing, muscle groups around a joint complex. Bandhas strengthen and stabilise joint complexes, helping to move prana, or energy, and consciousness to precisely where it needs to be focused.

The three main bandhas are:

Mula Bandha

Uddiyana Bandha

Jalandhara Bandha

In Sanskrit mula means root, and thus Mula Bandha is the root lock. To find it, sit, stand, or even be in an asana, and if you are a man, contract the area between the anus and the testes. If you are a woman,  contract the muscles at the bottom of the pelvic floor, behind the cervix. Mula bandha, or the “root lock,” is a conscious action, a dynamic engagement and release of the pelvic floor in relationship to the movement of the diaphragm.

Uddiyana bandha is the abdominal bandha described and employed in hatha yoga.  In yoga, Uddiyana bandha is both a type of pranayama , breathing technique as it is one of the three key yogic energy locks. Uddiyana Bandha is one of the interior body locks used in yoga and breath exercises.

Jalandhara Bandha is the chin Bandha described and employed in Hatha Yoga. Jalandhara Bandha is a yoga exercise where the throat is contracted and the chin firmly placed on the chest.

Bandhas should improve the effectiveness of the breath. In strenuous poses, using bandha activation will improve breathing by lengthening the spine, expanding the rib cage and stabilizing the lower back. Releasing the bandhas in relaxed positions supports relaxed, diaphragmatic breathing. Practitioners should use the ease and effectiveness of the breath as the litmus test for the correspondence between action, as well as the happiness of your nervous system.

Related Yoga Poses Savasana, Vajrasana, Pigeon Pose, Triangle Pose, Half Moon Pose.

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