Bandhas & Maha Bandha
Bandhas are a series of energy gates within the subtle body which assist in the regulation of pranic flow within subtle energy channels (nadis). When engaging the locks the energy is forced to spread throughout these pathways. Then, it can be assimilated on cellular level as prana feeds our subtle body and balances the gross nervous system.
There are three main bandhas: Moola Bandha (perineum contraction, Jalandhara Bandha (throat lock) and Uddiyana Bandha (abdominal lock). Maha Bandha (the great lock) is called maha (which means ‘great’ in sanskrit) because it combines all three bandhas in one practice.
Maha Bandha offers enhanced benefits of all three bandhas:
– regulates the entire hormonal system
– affects the hormonal secretions of the pineal gland
– rejuvenates the body on cell-level
– slows down ageing
– introverts the mind before meditation
– when mastered, it can fully awaken prana in the main chakras.
– leads to a merger of prana, apana and samana in manipura chakra which is the culmination of all pranayamas.
– high or low blood pressure
– heart conditions
– stomach or intestinal ulcer
– recovering from any visceral ailment
Start practicing Maha Bandha only when you master Moola Bandha, Jalandhara Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha and ideally together with pranayamas and mudras. Otherwise, you can practice it on its own after asanas and pranayamas, just before meditation. Practice on an empty stomach
Sit in siddha/siddha yoni asana or padmasana (or utthanpadasana). Keep the hands on the knees, the spine erect and the head straight. Close your eyes and relax the body. Inhale slowly and deeply through the nose and exhale forcefully and completely. Retain the breath outside.
Perform the bandhas in this order:
– Jalandhara Bandha: bend the head forward and press the chin tightly against the chest. Straighten the arms and lock them firmly into position, pressing the knees down with the hands. At the same time, hunch the shoulders upward and forward locking the arms in this way and thus intensifying the pressure applied to the neck.
– Uddiyana Bandha: make a false inhalation, keeping the glottis closed and expanding the chest, as though breathing in but not actually taking in air.
– Moola Bandha: focus your awareness on perinea/vaginal region. Contract by pulling up on the muscles of the pelvic floor and hold the contraction tightly using only the muscles related to mooladhara region.
Hold the breath and the bandhas as long as it feels comfortable. Then release them in the opposite order:
– Moola Bandha
– Uddiyana Bandha
– Jalandhara Bandha
When the head is upright inhale slowly. This is one round. Keep the eyes closed and the body relaxed breathing naturally before starting the next round.
Awareness will move every few seconds both on the physical and spiritual levels:
– perineal region; mooladhara chakra
– abdominal region; manipura chakra
–throat region; vishuddhi chakra
As you progress in your practice increase by one round at a time until reaching 9 rounds
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