Bandha Yoga: the energy locks
Have you heard about Bandha Yoga? Would you like to know what a Bandha is? How and why should they be locked? In this article you will discover the three main Bandha in yoga, their benefits, how to practice them and with which yoga material!
The term Bandha comes from the Sanskrit and means: “action of binding”, it refers to the attachment to the world by the chain of our acts according to the Hindu philosophy.
It consists of performing contractions on specific points of the body, their practice is combined with mudras, pranayamas and asanas.
The objective of this yoga technique is to to lock a part of the body in order to control the energy and to redirect their flow in the central psychic way in order to operate a spiritual awakening.
Bandhas are particularly used in Hatha Yoga, they are muscular contractions performed on three parts of the body: throat, abdomen and perineum which allow to work on the chakras. They can be practiced lying down, sitting, standing, it is therefore a conscious muscle activationthey are punctuated by cycles of contractions and relaxations.
Breathing plays a very important role in the practice of bandhas, we generally install the bandha during the breath retention: between the inspiration and the expiration. When retention is maintained voluntarily, it is called kumbhaka.
What is prana?
Prana means life force or life energy, it is the forces or energies forces or energies that we need to do our “life activities”, they allow us to better understand the effects of the bandhas on our body and mind.They allow us to better understand the effects of the bandhas on our body and our mind, it is essential to understand the five main pranas:
Apana strength required for excretion: sweating, urination…
Samana strength required for metabolism and digestion.
Prana force necessary for the heart to pump blood.
Vyana force that governs the circulation at all levels: food, water, oxygen, circulation of emotions and thoughts,
Udana : strength required to speak, think, move the eyes…
- Mula Bandha
The Mula Bandha is connected to the Chakra Root Muladhara, it strengthens all the muscles present in the base of the spine: in the area of the pelvic floor through muscle contraction and breathing. For this it is necessary to adopt the meditation posture then to locate the shape of the pelvic floor: the pubis in the front and the coccyx in the back.
It is activated during the retention after inspiration and just before expiration.
When the pelvic floor muscles are engaged, the pubis and coccyx come together, it allows energy from the lower body upwards.
2. Uddiyana Bandha
This bandha is connected to the Sacral and Solar chakras: Manipura and Svadhisthana and is related to the throat area and the area from thepubic bone to the navel.
It is activated after the exhalation, during the short pause before the inhalation.
When you activate this lock, you feel a massage of the internal organs thanks to the pressure exerted on the diaphragm which produces an enlargement of the thoracic cage. This has a very good detox effect for the spine.
The mantras to be used during the practice of Uddiyana Bandha are :
– RAM during exhalation and retention with empty lungs.
– OM during inspiration and retention with full lungs
3. Jalandhara Bandha
This bandha represents the throat chakra: Vishuda, it is located at the level of the neck.
It is activated during the exhalation, it implies to lower the chin to bring it closer to the chest and to lengthen the nape of the neck, one must feel the throat tightening at the level of the glottis.
The activation of this bandha allows us to raise the energy at the level of the head, and plunges us into a state of deep concentration, especially when we are in retention.
To practice the Mula Bandhait is necessary:
- Place yourself in the posture of the butterfly pose on your yoga mat: legs bent and open to the sides, soles pressed together and hands placed on the feet.
- Be sure to keep your your back straight, open the chest and expand the spine, you can use a meditation cushion to adopt an optimal posture.
- Breathe in while slightly retracting your belly to activate the navel and then contract the muscles of the perineum. Hold your breath as you imagine the energy moving up the spine to the top of the head.
- Exhale while relaxing all your muscles, including the perineum.
- Repeat this exercise three times and then take a few seconds to observe the sensations in your body.
This is how the Uddiyana Bandha is practiced:
1. Stand on your yoga mat, with your legs shoulder-width apart to be rooted in the ground and knees slightly bent.
2. Tilt your chest forward and place your hands on your kneecapsyour arms should be straight so that the weight of your trunk rests on your legs.
3. Completely relax the abdominal muscles to ensure the lifting of the abdominal viscera
4. Exhale to completely empty your lungs and hold your breath (in retention).
5. Suck in your belly Do as if you were breathing in but without letting the air enter your lungs so that your organs are sucked upwards.
6. Breathe in again imagining that your breath goes up your spine, to the top of your head, then stay a few seconds with full lungs.
7. Exhale and then repeat the exercise as many times as you like.
Here is how to practice the Jalandhara Bandha :
- Sit cross-legged on your yoga mat
- Breathe in and hold your breathPlace your hands on your knees and roll your shoulders back, stretch your neck forward while keeping your back straight. Lengthen your spineRelax your shoulders and raise your sternum.
- Press your chin towards your chest or your collarbones to create pressure on the trachea and esophagus.
- Hold your breath as long as possible, release all tensions in the neck.
- Raise your head on a long exhale then return to the starting position.
- Take your usual breath in this position in this position for a few moments before repeating the exercise.
This bandha can also be performed in the half bridge posture!
From an astral point of view, bandhas stimulate the chakras because they have the effect of block and increase the flow of energy around them. Energy is distributed more efficiently throughout the body when the chakras are stimulated, creating a physical and mental well-being.
From a physical point of view, the practice of bandhas has the effect of activate the muscles and stimulate the organs and glands present in the requested area. Each Bandha has its own benefits:
The Mala Bandha activates the pelvic floor muscles and stimulates, tones and improves the function of the reproductive organs. It minimizes incontinence, stabilizes the sacroiliac joints, promotes stability and lengthening of the spine, and revitalizes the entire body by activating the flow of vital energy through the body. It also has many benefits on the mind: it calms the mind, promotes stability and develops self-confidence.
From a physiological point of view, the Uddiyana Bandha allows to stimulate all the organs of the abdomen, it supports digestion as well as the elimination of toxins, it has a beneficial effect on the spine. It improves concentration and provokes a state of mental appeasement and relaxation, it gives a lot of energy that is why it is preferable to practice it in the morning, when you have an empty stomach.
The Jalandhara Bandha has many benefits: it improves the ability to hold one’s breath and to concentrate. It is beneficial if you suffer from throat disease, it helps regulate the thyroid and parathyroid: it strengthens the immune system and regulates menstruation.
Even if the practice of bandhas has many benefits for the body and mind, there are still some contraindications Pregnancy, blood pressure or intestinal disorders, abdominal or heart disease.
A comfortable yoga mat like the Natural yoga mat of the softness range in Merino wool, a soft and comfortable material that promotes relaxation. This yoga mat has extra large dimensions 200 x 75 cmand of a sufficient thickness (1.5 cm) so that you can enter a state of deep relaxation, especially when you perform your Bandha in seated postures and therefore in contact with the mat. Indeed this carpet is ideal for gentle practicesin both summer and winter thanks to the intelligent properties of sheep’s wool.
For more information on the different practices and principles of yoga, discover the selection of books and games Yogom, in order to develop your knowledge in a playful and fun way!
The yoga mat of the Performance range is perfectly adapted to the practice of these Bandha: it has a soft and comfortable peach skin touchit is thick (4mm) but dense enough so that you don’t sink during your postures and its dimensions are extra large (183×68cm). Its natural rubber base brings stability to your practice, its microfiber coating brings grip, especially if you tend to sweat. Moreover, this yoga mat is 100% ecological, it corresponds as well to your desires, your needs as to your convictions!
Meditation cushion Bandha practice in Yoga implies to realize many breathing exercises and thus to adopt the meditation posture. The meditation cushion will allow you to sit more comfortably, and to have the perfect posture: knees on the ground and back straight.
The Bandha in yoga are therefore yoga techniques that allow to lock a part of the body (throat, belly..) in order to control the flow of energy in the body. The engagement of these different areas of the body allows to stimulate the organs and to feel the benefits on a physiological and spiritual level.
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