Up until now I have not spoken too much about bandhas in my yoga classes but I am planning to introduce them a bit more as they are a powerful aspect of a yoga practice. So, if you haven’t heard of them before, what are bandhas?!
Bandha in Sanskrit means “lock”. Quite simply they are energy locks that stop the lovely light energy you are creating in the body through yoga from escaping, instead using it to aid your practice and heal your body.
Sounds good doesn’t it? 🙂
There are 3 main ones:
Mula Bandha – this means root lock, so as the name suggests it’s in the same location as your root chakra, at the base of your spine in-between your legs. The best way to experience it is to hold down there as if you are busting for the toilet, but not clenching the bum.
The aim is to hold this through out your whole yoga practice. By doing this it stops energy seeping out through the base of your spine and instead raises it up wards filling you with energy, giving you that lovely light feeling.
Uddiyana Bandha – this lock is around your abdomen and diaphragm. It also raises your energy upwards and is great for your digestion, your heart, your adrenal system and metabolism. Having it locked will really help with your twists, balance, forward and back bends. Ideally the aim it to have it locked through your practice along with mula bandha. A way to connect with it is to:
- stand up, inhale deeply, lift arms above your head
- as you exhale fold foward (from your hips) and place your hands on your thighs, arms straight
- before you take your next inhale, pull your tummy muscles back towards your spine. You should be able to see your ribs poking out as your stomach is sucked inwards
- inhale to come up
- You might just find it easier to watch this video on yoga journal!
Jalandhara Bandha – this lock is in your throat. It’s beneficial to your circulation and respiration system, plus can really calm your mind it you are feeling any tension or stress.
It’s not meant to be used through out your whole yoga practice and is only really used whilst doing certain pranayama (breath) exercises.
To connect with it sit crossed legged, back straight:
- inhale, lift spine
- towards the end of the inhale slightly lift your sternum, move your chin slightly forward and tuck the chin to the chest giving yourself a big double chin. The aim is for the chin touch your sternum.
- you hold the breath while you are in the lock, for as long as you can. Holding the breath like this really helps to calm the mind.
- then on the exhale slowly release so your head is back upright ready for the next inhale
I’ll be talking about these more in my classes and in the next workshop – Be Happy.
Have fun practising these and noticing the benefits they give you.