Bandhas (locks)

Bandha means lock, stop or close-off by pressure or strain on the muscles to flow pran(life-force) or energy to a particular area of the body. And when the bandha is released, energy flow more strongly with an increased pressure through the body. Which flushes old, dead cells and organs get strengthened, rejuvenated.
Specific bandhas are:

Mula Bandha

Uddiyana Bandha

Jalandhara Bandha

Maha Bandha

Mula Bandha (Root lock)

In sanskrit, mula means root, mula bandha means root lock.

  • Sit in meditation pose (sukhasana or padmasana), with palms on the knees.
  • Concentrate on the muladhara chakra.
  • Man, should contract the area between the anus and the testes. And woman should contract the muscles at the bottom of the pelvic floor, behind the cervix.
  • For beginner, it may be difficult, initially inhale deeply and hold the breath, and firmly contract the anal muscles by gently lifting the pelvic floor muscles as, one try to stop the flow of urine and a bowel movement at the same time. Do not contract buttocks muscles. With proper practice, one will be able to contract proper muscles, and leave the rest aside.
  • This contraction, allows energy to flow up, not down and out.
  • Hold the muscular contraction as per capacity. Gradually held throughout entire yoga practice with a long exhalation relax pelvic muscles and come in starting position.
  • Moola bandha can also be performed after exhalation on empty lungs and in sitting, standing or in any yoga posture.
  • Mula bandh gives strength and increases stability of pelvic muscles and spine.
  • Mula bandha stimulates the pelvic nerves, and helps to tone uro-genital, excretory systems, endocrine system and intestinal peristalsis.
  • Mula bandha help to relive from constipation, hemorrhoids, asthma, bronchitis and arthritis.
  • Mula bandha improve appetite, circulation.
  • It also helps to calm, relax the mind and relieve from frustration and depression.
  • Mula bandha activates and purifies the muladhara chakra, help to awake kundalini shakti.
  • Mula bandha increase muscular control of the pelvis and thus helps with the problem of premature ejaculation.
  • Helps to give more pleasure during sexual activity.
  • If mula bandha perform during the pregnancy, helps to prepare the muscles for easier delivery.
  • Use of yoga posture with mula bandha, helps to gain greater stability and balance to the pose.

Contraindications of mula bandha

  • High intracranial pressure
  • Heart disease

Caution:
Mula bandha promotes the rapid energy growth, which may result in hyperactivity. Thus, perform with caution and proper guidance.

Uddiyana Bandha (The abdominal lock)

Uddiyana means to fly up, or to rise up.

  • Uddiyan bandha can be perform in standing and sitting position also.
  • To perform uddiyana bandh in sitting position, sit on the floor in mediation pose (sidhhasana or sukhasana). Place both palms on the knees, raise the shoulders and bend torso slightly forward.
  • To perform in stand position, stand on the floor, with legs apart from each other, bend forward and place both palms on the knees. Bend the knees slightly.
  • Concentrate on the manipura chakra.
  • Take a deep breath, exhale and holding the breath out, lifting the diaphragm, pull the belly in and up under the ribcage (pull the abdominal muscles in and up into the abdominal cavity).
  • Hold the position as long as comfortable.
  • Take a deep breath, and relax abdominal muscles and come to the starting position.
  • Repeat procedure as per capacity
  • Uddiyana bandha stimulate digestion, intestinal activity, increase metabolism. Helps to relive from constipation and indigestion.
  • It helps to relive from stress and lethargy.
  • It stimulates adrenal system, and other abdominal organs.
  • As it stimulates pancreas, balance insulin secretion thus helpful in diabetes.
  • It helps to strengthens the immune system.
  • It helps to activate manipura chakra.
  • It helps to tone abdominal muscles, decrease belly fat.

Contraindications of mula bandha

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Pregnancy

Caution:

  • Perform only on an empty stomach.
  • Go according to capacity, don’t push much.

Jalandhara Bandha (Throat lock)

In sanskrit jal means throat, jalandhara bandha means throat lock. It controls the flow of energy in the nerves and blood vessels of the neck.

  • Sit in meditation pose (sukhasana or padmasana), with palms on the knees.
  • Concentrate on the vishuddhi chakra.
  • Bend body slightly forward, keeping the back straight.
  • Inhale slowly and deeply through nose.
  • With lifting sternum, slightly, press the chin firmly against the chest, in the pit of the throat (mid of the collar bone) so that the windpipe and oesophagus are firmly closed.
  • Hold the breath for as long as possible.
  • With a long exhalation raise the head and return to the starting position.
  • Repeate procedure as per capacity.
  • It helps to stimulate and regulate function of thyroid and parathyroid glands.
  • It helps to improve metabolism.
  • It helps to increase ability to retain the breath for a long period.
  • It is helpful in throat diseases.
  • It helps to relive from stress and lethargy.
  • It helps to activate vishuddhi chakra.
Contraindications of mula bandha

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease

Caution:

  • Do not overstrain, hold breath as per capacity.
  • Thyroid patient should consult doctor first.

Maha Bandha (Throat lock)

Maha bandha is the combination of all three bandhas.

  • Sit in meditation pose (sukhasana or padmasana), with palms on the knees.
  • Keeping the back straight, tilt upper body slightly forward and raise the shoulders.
  • Take a deep breath and exhale fully through the mouth.
  • Hold breath out, concentrating on the vishuddhi chakra, perform jalandhara bandha, and concentrating on the manipura chakra perform uddiyana bandha. Finally come into mula bandha with concentrating on the muladhara chakra.
  • Maintain the position with all three bandhas, as long as possible.
  • Inhale and slowly release the bandhas in the same sequence as they were applied.
  • Releax all muscles and come in normal position.
  • Maha bandha gives the benefits of all three bandhas.
  • It stimulates entire organs, muscles, endocrine and nervous system.
  • It helps to improve the capacity of swimmer, runner to hold breath for longer duration.

Caution:

  • Do not overstrain, hold breath as per capacity.
  • One should fallow precaution given in individual bandhas