In spite of their distinct practice, Bandha has also been traditionally incorporated with other yogic practices such asana, pranayama, and mudras. Therefore, they posit themselves as the significant constituents of yogic practice. The Sanskrit word ‘Bandha’ means ‘to lock’ or ‘to restrict’. Applying certain lock in the certain part of the body, the practice of Bandha is made. The flow of prana is protected performing Bandhas. In order to preserve and redirect the prana to the energy center, the lock in the physical body is applied which leads to an effect on the pranic body.
For awakening psychic genii, the application and regular practice of bandha have greater help. Actually, the Bandhas has a direct connection with granthis (psychic knots). The psychic knots indeed prevents the free-flow of energy along the Sushumna Nadi which also bars in activating the kundalini. There are mainly four Bandhas; Moola Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha, Jalandhara Bandha and Maha Bandha, the combination of first three Bandhas.
Moola Bandha is connected to Brahma Granthi whereas Uddiyana bandha is connected with Vishnu Granthi and Jalandhara Bandha is interlinked with Rudra Granthi. Brahman Granthi is allied with first two chakras Mooladhara and Swadisthana chakras mainly focused on survival instinct, awareness, and innate insight. Vishnu Granthi is related with Manipura and Anahata chakras which emphasize on the nourishment of Pranamaya Kosha ( Pranic Body) and Manomaya Kosha( Mental Body) respectively resulting in the effect of Annamaya Kosha ( Physical Body).
Furthermore, Rudra granthi is accompanied with Visuddhi and Ajna chakras centering on Vijnanamaya Kosha (Intellectual Body) which concerns on higher intuitive and intellectual understanding. In this regard, Bandha is applied in our yogic practice for awakening and allying our consciousness into universal consciousness starting through the physical level of practice.
Jalandhara Bandha emphasizes the locking of the throat so that the breath that has been inhaled will be held in between the throat and pelvic floor. At the throat, the lock is applied not to allow the breath go away from this point placing the chin in the upper part of your body in the notch between your color bones.
The word Jala refers to ‘net’ and Dhara means ‘flow, stream’. The practice which locks the net of the stream of the energy from this point at the throat is generally perceived as Jalandhara Bandha. It also has the meaning of locking the flow of nectar which descends down to Visuddhi Chakra followed by the entrance into other chakras. Thus, the practice of Jalandhara Bandha preserves the prana.
Jalandhara Bandha compresses the carotid sinuses which are located in the carotid arteries in the neck. The carotid sinuses help to control the respiratory and circulatory system properly. It also regulates the increased breathing and heavier breathing. It also develops one-pointed state of mind, release tension, anxiety, anger, and laziness. The thyroid is also balanced and metabolism is also maintained in a proper manner.
- Sit in any comfortable posture keeping the eyes closed and spine erect.
- Place your palms flat on the knees.
- Inhale and retain the breath. Bend the head forward to place chin to the upper part of your chest in the notch between the color bones.
- Straighten the arms and press the knees with the hands at the same time also raise the shoulders upward and forward creating the hunch little bit on the upper back.
- Stay in this position for few seconds and then release your shoulders, arms and throat lock making your head upright and then exhale.
- You can practice three to ten rounds.
A person suffering from cervical spondylitis, vertigo, epilepsy, high blood pressure, heart disease, and high intracranial pressure should be cautious and are recommended not to practice Jalandhara Bandha.
The practice of Uddiyana Bandha necessitates the contraction of the abdomen. The word Uddiyana Bandha literally means Abdominal Contraction. The process of flying upward is the meaning of word Uddiyan. In the practice, the stomach is lifted upward and inward to the diaphragm and chest. Before directly jumping to the practice of abdominal contraction in the sitting posture, the preparatory practice can be performed.
Standing with feet about half a meter apart, you will take a deep inhalation and you will exhale simultaneously and slowly bend forward from your waist. Your palm will be above your kneecaps fingers facing downward with slight bending of your knees. You will start to feel that your abdomen is moving upward and close to your spine. After for few comfortable minutes or seconds, you will slowly make your head upright. You may need to exhale and inhale while coming to the standing posture. Now the practice can be performed in sitting posture.
The practice of Uddiyana Bandha has the higher effect on the liver and pancreas. It stimulates the digestive fire. In addition, it also massages the abdominal organs which also helps to balance the adrenal glands leading us to the soothing and calming state decreasing lethargy and sluggishness as well as releasing tension and anxiety of the body and mind. The practice of Uddiyana Bandha has been very effective for the proper blood circulation in the entire torso of the body.
- Sit in any comfortable posture with spine erect and eyes closed.
- Place your palms flat on your knees while keeping your elbows straight.
- Take a deep inhalation and exhale completely which means the Bahya Kumbhaka (External Retention) will be applied.
- Raise your shoulders which will allow the extension of your spinal cord.
- Lock the throat that is Jalandhara Bandha placing chin to the chest.
- Contract the abdominal muscles upward and inward to spine. Hold the abdominal lock as much as you feel comfortable still applying external retention.
- Release your abdomen and make your head upright.
- Take a deep inhalation and exhale and relax.
- Uddiyana Bandha can be performed three to ten round in single sitting.
Contra-indication: During pregnancy, Uddiyana Bandha is not recommended to practice. Besides, the lock is advised not to practice for people having the issues of high blood pressure, stomach ulcer, heart disease, glaucoma, colitis, diaphragmatic hernia, and intracranial pressure.
Moola Bandha requires the lock at the certain muscles of pelvic region in the perineum. The area between anus and testes is contracted and pulled upward for the practice of Moola Bandha. In the process of practicing Moola Bandha, the application of Ashwini Mudra and Vajroli/Sahajoli Mudra also become an essential yogic practice to understand and differentiate as these three have similar and close connection indeed. The contraction of an anus is Ashwini Mudra also called Horse Psychic Attitude. The contraction of testis for men and contraction of labia for women is called Vajroli and Sahajoli respectively.
Moola Bandha can be practiced along with other yogic practice such as pranayama and asanas as well as it can be practiced separately. It is connected with emotion, happiness, sadness, ecstasy and gloomy, anger and joy all are part of the emotion. At the beginning of the practice, a separate practice of each bandha is essential for its proper understanding and experience. The practice of Moola Bandha has numerous benefits to be mentioned.
It’s not only about physical and emotional uplift does it make, but also the spiritual and mental aspects. It has been boon for transferring the sexual energy into the spiritual awakening path. Pelvic nerves and urogenital and excretory systems also get stimulated by the Moola Bandha. The issues of psychosomatic such as depression and degenerative issues can be lessened and relieved by the practice of Moola Bandha.
- Sit in any comfortable posture and close your eyes.
- Place your palms on your knees and make chin or jnana mudra with your index fingers and thumbs.
- Take deep inhalation. Place your chin on the upper part of your chest in the notch between your color bones to apply Jalandhara Bandha and hold your breath.
- Contract your pelvic floor, the area between your testes and anus in the perineum.
- Slowly make your head upright and release Moola Bandha and then Jalandhara Bandha.
- Then exhale and relax. The practice can be performed for 10 times.
Contra-indication: It is not recommended to practice Moola Bandha during menstruation.