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Introducing the Bandhas

January 05, 2019

Introducing the Bandhas  

Bandha quite literally means lock, seal, tighten or hold. When used correctly bandhas hold the power of transformation and have the ability to release feelings of euphoria. Combining bandhas with breathing techniques or pranayamas will energise both body and mind, cleanse internal organs, remove blockages in the energy zones and encourage spiritual advancement. 

There are four main Bandhas.Three of which are responsible for sealing pranic energy (vital life force) in different areas of the body. The fourth bandha is a combination of the three and will intensify the effects received from each individual bandha. 

Bandha practice encourages pranic energy to enter the central nadi (energy zone) that travels along the spine - Sushumna Nadi.  Nadis are energy zones that carry pranic energy around the body. Sushumna nadi passes through the seven main chakras positioned along the spine. It is believed that along this nadi are three knots or granthis. For a true spiritual awakening these knots need to be removed and energy must travel up sushumna nadi. Committed and dedicated practice could help to redirect prana into sushumna nadi and remove the granthis.  However this is an extremely rare occurrence.

Spiritual awakening will take many many years and even lifetimes of committed practice it is not something that happens for every practitioner.

Mula Bandha (Root Lock) 

Begin in a seated meditation posture with a straight spine. Begin by breathing slowly in and out through the nose with the eyes lightly closed. When you feel ready inhale and retain the breath. During the breath retention draw up the pelvic floor muscles. Hold the breath for as long as you feel comfortable. Do not strain during the breath retentions.  Relax the muscles slowly and evenly before the exhalation. Repeat three times.  

Although mula bandha is taught in the early stages as a muscular contraction of the pelvic floor, after time and much practice you will become aware of just one central point being drawn up. Advanced practitioners might like to perform mula bandha in Siddha Yoni asana (for ladies) and Siddhasana (for Gentlemen); these postures have the legs crossed so that the heels are in contact with the genitals.  In these postures it is possible to become aware of the contraction and enhance the flow of prana from the lower body to the upper. 

This bandha has many physical and spiritual benefits.  It will help prevent haemorrhoids and internal prolasps that are often experienced after child birth and labour.  It increases the blood supply to the prostrate.  It also helps to realign the physical, mental and spiritual bodies in preparation for a spiritual awakening. 

Uddiyana Bandha (Abdominal Lock) 

Begin in a seated meditation posture with a straight spine. Place your palms on your knees. Begin by breathing slowly in and out through the nose with the eyes lightly closed. Inhale deeply and exhale firmly through the mouth making a loud “HA” sound and simultaneously contract the abdominal muscles. Remain like this with the lungs empty for a comfortable length and then repeat for three more times. 

This bandha will aid digestion, prevent constipation, strengthen the diaphragm and cleanse the liver. It will also help to balance the adrenal glands removing lethargy, anxiety and tension whilst helping to strengthen and tone the internal organs and trunk area of the body. 

Jalandhara Bandha (Throat Lock) 

Begin in any seated meditation posture with a straight spine. Place your palms on your knees. Close your eyes and begin to breathe slowly in and out through the nose.  When you feel ready inhale and retain the breath. Whilst retaining the breath drop the chin forward onto the chest. Hold the breath for as long as you feel comfortable.  Do not strain during the breath retentions.  Lift the chin before you exhale.  Repeat three times. 

This Bandha will encourage relaxation and enhance meditation techniques. It will help to remove stress and anger and eliminate tension from the face, neck, throat and head. It is also said to help regulate the functioning of the thyroid gland. 

Maha Bandha (The Great Lock) 

The great lock combines all of the above three locks. Begin in a seated meditation posture with a straight spine. Place your palms on your knees. Begin by breathing slowly in and out through the nose with the eyes lightly closed. Inhale deeply and exhale firmly through the mouth making a loud “HA” sound and simultaneously contract the abdominal muscles, draw up the pelvic floor and when all of the breath has left the body drop the chin forward onto the chest. Remain like this with the lungs empty for a comfortable length and then repeat for three more times. 

The great lock will provide all of the benefits of the above bandhas. It will also help to regulate hormone secretions, by balancing the endocrine system and rejuvenate body and mind. 

Bandhas are incredibly powerful and performing just a three of each five times a week will have a very positive effect. Due to the breath retention and various areas of the body becoming restricted bandhas are not to be performed by sufferers of high or low blood pressure or during pregnancy. It is possible to perform moolha bandha during pregnancy but under no circumstances should the breath be retained. 

Always seek medical advice before commencing any new exercise routine.




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