The importance of Bandhas in Yoga- Steps & Benefits

Yoga Bandhas.JPG

Bandha is a yogic lock which enables a yogi to block and then direct the flow of pranic energy in certain ways to change the energy pattern in the body. Remember, when the water flow gets obstructed and then when it gets free, the flow of water becomes much faster with increased pressure, the same thing reflects in Bandha. In this practice, the energy flow to a particular area of the body is blocked and when it gets released, the energy flow becomes stronger. The breath is held during the practice of Bandha. This can be practised either retention of breath inside or outside. There are four types of Bandhas as follows.

  1. Jalandhara Bandha (Throat or Chin Lock)
  2. Uddiyana Bandha (Lift of Diaphragm or Abdominal Lock)
  3. Mula Bandha (Root or Anal lock)
  4. Maha Bandha

Uddiyana and Maha Bandha should only be practised after exhalation, while Jalandhara and Mula Bandha can be practised either after inhalation or exhalation. Bandhas can be practised by either sitting in Vajrasana, Sukhasana or Padmasana. This can be practised before starting the practice of meditation.

Precautions

Discuss with your doctor before practising Bandhas, if you have any recent medical concerns. This breathing exercise should be done on empty stomach having a gap of 4-5 hours between practice and your meal. Practitioners suffering from low or high blood pressure, heart diseases, Ulcers or breathing problem should avoid practising Bandhas. It is advisable to practise Bandhas under the guidance of an experienced Yoga teacher.

Mula Bandha (Root or Anal lock)

Mula Bandha, otherwise known as Anal or Root lock is located in the perineum. It is often advised to hold this lock throughout the asana practice, as it is thought that it keeps all your life prana inside and prevents from leaking down and out. This lock is performed by contracting the perineum muscles of males, whereas for females the contraction involves the region located at the opening of the womb. This can be practised either with Kumbhaka or Rechaka. It awakens the Muladhara Chakra which is located at the base of the spine. In Sanskrit, it’s called मूल बंध.

Benefits

  1. This Bandha helps in stimulating digestion and the endocrine system.
  2. Tones organs in the pelvic regions and increases control over the sex drive.
  3. Regular practice helps to release in depression, stress, anxiety and promotes calmness and energy.
  4. Mula Bandha strengthens your pelvic floor and gives relieve in haemorrhoids.
  5. Since Muladhara chakra gets activated during the Mula Bandha, you get awakened with consciousness and kundalini energy.

Steps

  1. Sit on Padmasana or Sukhasana with your eyes closed and spine erect.
  2. Inhale deeply and hold your breath.
  3. Place your hands on the knees. Bring your upper body slightly forward and looking at your nose, touch your chin to the chest.
  4. Now, concentrate on the Muladhara Chakra (Perineum) and lift your muscle from the groin area (Contract the anal muscles).
  5. Hold your breath and muscular contraction as long as you feel comfortable.
  6. Now, exhale and return to the original position.

Jalandhara Bandha (Throat or Chin Lock)

This is one of the must to do bandhas to get rid of diseases and lead a healthier life. Jalandhara came from the Sanskrit word Jal and Dhara. Jal means the flow of water and Dhara means stopping the flow. This can be practised either with Kumbhaka or Rechaka. Jalandhara Bandha, otherwise known as Throat or Chin Lock is located in the neck. It prevents prana from leaking out of torso throughout the throat. It awakens the Muladhara Chakra which is located in the throat region. In Sanskrit, it’s called जालन्धर बंध.

Benefits

  1. Bandhas stop the flow of blood and when it gets released, there is an increased flow of blood which improves blood circulation throughout the body.
  2. This flushes dead cells, renews, rejuvenate and strengthens your organs.
  3. Helps to concentrate and focus.
  4. Since energy channels get purified, it brings balance and equilibrium in your body while release stress and blockages.
  5. This pose helps to improve the functions of Thyroid, parathyroid glands and spinal cord.
  6. Regular practice can improve the metabolism and overcome the ageing and decay of the body.
  7. Bandhas help to get the blood flow to the vocal cord and thus becomes beneficial for singers and speakers.

Steps

  1. Sit on Padmasana or Sukhasana with your eyes closed and spine erect.
  2. Place your hands on the knees. Take a deep breath and raise your chest and hold your breath for few (8 to 10) seconds.
  3. Now, exhale completely to clear out air from lungs.
  4. Hold your breath and bend forward slowly.
  5. Ensure to push your head and neck to the chest.
  6. Lower your chin while contracting your neck and throat muscles.
  7. Now, looking at your nose, touch your chin to the chest.
  8. Concentrate on the Vishuddhi Chakra and hold the breath for as long as you feel comfortable.
  9. Now, to release raise your chin, neck and come to the starting position.

Uddiyana Bandha (Lifting of Diaphragm or Abdominal Lock)Bahya Pranayama.JPG

Uddiyana Bandha, otherwise known as upward flying is located in the abdomen. In this lock, the breath is kept held outside (Kumbhaka). This lock is performed by pulling the abdomen muscles inwards and upwards while pushing the abdominal muscles against the back side of the spine towards the rib cage. Generally, it is practised along with the Jalandhara Bandha. This lock enables the Prana and Apana to merge at the solar plexus and thus improves the digestive power. It awakens the Manipura Chakra which is located at the naval region. In Sanskrit, it’s called उड्डियान बंध.

Benefits

  1. This Bandha helps to stimulate, lift and retain your prana
  2. It improves the functioning of the adrenal glands.
  3. Brings a higher level of awareness and aids in the higher practices of Dhyana and Samadhi.
  4. Massages internal organs, increases circulation and thus improves digestion.

Steps

  1. Continue from step 9 of Jalandhara Bandha.
  2. Concentrate on the Manipura Chakra and pull your abdominal muscles in and up under the rib cage such that your stomach and back seem to touch each other from the inside.
  3. Hold the breath for as long as you feel comfortable.
  4. Now, to get released from the pose, take a deep inhalation and release the muscular tension.

Maha Bandha

When we combine all the above three bandhas, it becomes Maha Bandha. Practise this Bandha after you become comfortable with all three Bandhas. Start with Mula, then Uddiyana and then Jalandhar Bandha. Reverse the order, while you release the Bandhas. In Sanskrit, it’s called महा बंध.

Now, don’t wait. Enjoy your Bandhas practise and have an awesome day! If you feel this article is helpful to you then share your experience with us by commenting below. We would be happy to hear from you!

“Yoga is a tool for realigning our awareness with the divine, creating a state of oneness that is our true nature”

Advertisements

Author: Rakesh Pradhan

Rakesh Pradhan is a Yogi, Blogger, Civil Engineer and a continuous learner. When he was 14 years old, one day his neighbourhood uncle asked him about Yoga and Meditation. He got so motivated about the amazing benefits of this beautiful Yoga that he started reading Yoga books, watching videos and practising yoga poses. Now, he is helping people to learn Yoga and keep them away from stress and lifetsyle diseases.