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Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Bandhas - Interior locks used in yoga

There are three bandhas - Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha and Jhalandara Bandha. Each bandha is a lock, meaning a closing off of part of the interior body. These locks are used in various pranayama and asana practices to tone, cleanse and energize the interior body and organs. When all three bandhas are activated at the same time, it is called Maha Bandha, the great lock.

Mula Bandha-Root lock. The first of three interior body “locks” used in asana and pranayama practice to control the flow of energy. To activate mula bandha, exhale and engage the pelvic floor, drawing it upwards towards your navel.

Uddiyana Bandha-Definition: Abdominal lock. The second of the three interior body “locks” used in asana and pranayama practice to control the flow of energy.
Uddiyana bandha can be practiced alone or in conjunction with mula bandha. To engage this bandha, sit in a comfortable cross legged position. Exhale your breath, then take a false inhale (draw the abdomen in and up without taking in any breath.) Draw the belly up underneath the rib cage. To release, soften the abdomen and inhale. Uddiyana bandha tones, massages and cleans the abdominal organs. (Often incorporated into poses such as Downward dog)


Jhalandara Bandha: Throat lock. The third and last of the three interior body “locks” used in asana and pranayama practice to control the flow of energy. Jhalandara bandha can be practiced alone or in conjunction with mula bandha and uddiyana bandha. To engage this bandha, sit in a comfortable cross legged position. Inhale so the lungs are about two-thirds full, and then hold the breath in. Drop the chin down, and then draw the chin back closer to the chest so the back of the neck does not round. Hold as long as is comfortable and then bring the chin up and release the breath. (Can be incorporated in poses such as downdog when gazes goes to navel).

Namaste

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