increase your development in asanas, pranayama, and meditation.
Although there are more bandhas, I want to focus on the 3 primary locks.
• Mula bandha (root lock)
• Uddiyana bandha (abdominal lift)
• Jalandara bandha (chin lock)
Generally, it is recommended that you begin practicing the mula bandha before
moving on to the other main bandhas.
Mastery of mula bandha comes slowly for most people. Simply put, to activate this lock squeeze the area between the genitals and the anus. Technically speaking, we are talking about the perineum. H. David Coulter in the Anatomy of Hatha Yoga defines the perineum as “A diamond-shaped region whose borders are the bottom of the pubic symphysis, the inner borders of the inferior pubic rami and ischial tuberosities, and sacrotuberous ligaments, which extend between the ischial tuberosities and the inferior tip of the sacrum and coccyx.”
Be careful, this action is not to be mistaken with a Kegel exercise. In fact, this bandha is quite elusive as it is requires the subtle lifting of the perineum. Try it out by engaing the muscles in this area without contracting the glutes.
Visualize sucking in the perineal space to make an empty space for the front of the pubic bone and sacrum to move toward each other.
Use this lock while sitting in meditation.
To begin, exhale completely. Notice how the abdomen is naturally sucked in with the exhalation. Now pull the abdomen in and up. Feel the diaphragm raise and keep it still. Paradoxically, you are inhaling without inhaling as the diaphragm is lifted.
Jalandara involves the chin and neck. Keep the neck straight and bend the chin down and in. This lock can be done easily in many asanas (poses). Think of the locks as energy valves rather than muscle contractions. You’re directing the air through nadis (channels or meridians) to hold in the outward flow of breath and bringing it back toward the center.
All three bandhas can be practiced simultaneously. Before giving it a try, practice each bandha
individually, then once you have mastered all three bandhas go for it.
Additional resources: Breathing and Bandhas
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