Bandha Yoga Poses

By on May 7, 2015
bandha

Bandha

WHAT ARE BANDHAS IN YOGA?
Bandhas are physical techniques to exercise and control specific and different organs and nerves in the body. The word bandhameans ‘to hold or tighten’ which exactly describes the physical actions that are required to perform these practices. Various parts of the body are gently but powerfully contracted and tightened. This has the effect of massaging the organs, removing stagnant blood, stimulating and regulating the nerves connected with these organs. This improves the functioning and health of the body.

Although these bandhas are performed physically, they have a subtle effect on the whole body by an influx of psychic vibrations throughout body. These psychic vibrations invigorate the various psychic points in the body thus ensuring free flow of prana or energy through all the systems.

Bandhas in conjunction with other techniques
While being developed and perfected, the bandhas can be practised on their own. However, as the aspirant progresses along the yogic path, bandhas should be incorporated into the practices of mudras and pranayama. In this way maximum benefits will be attained. When the flow of prana is stimulated as in the practice of pranayama, the bandhas control the flow and direct it to the required areas, thereby preventing dissipation.

Kumbhaka (breath retention)
Bandhas require the practitioner to retain the breath. At first, of course, the retention should be of short duration but it will become longer and longer as the practitioner develops his abilities. Retention may be external or internal. The activity of the lungs can be suspended after deep exhalation or air can be retained in the lungs after inhalation. This practice is an essential part of bandhas, as well as pranayama as it develops the capacity to hold the breath. The period of retention should be gradually increased over a few weeks or months without imposing undue strain on the lungs.

JALANDHRA BANDHA

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Jalandhara bandha (The chin lock)

  • Sit in any of the meditative poses which allow the knees to firmly touch the floor. (Sukhasana is not suitable).
  • Persons, who cannot sit in padmasana, siddhasana, etc., can do jalandhara bandha while standing.
  • Place the palms on top of the knees.
  • Relax the whole body and close the eyes.
  • Inhale deeply, retain the breath inside, bend the head forward and press the chin tightly against the chest (particularly the sternum).
  • Straighten the arms and lock them into position. Simultaneously hunch the shoulders upwards and forwards – this will ensure that the arms stay locked. The palms should remain on the knees.
  • Stay in the final position for as long as you are comfortably able to retain the breath.
  • Then relax the shoulders, bend the arms, slowly release the lock, raise the head and exhale.
  • Repeat when the respiration returns to normal.

Important point-
This practice can also be performed with the breath retained outside.

Duration-

  • For as long as the practitioner is able to comfortably retain the breath.
  • Repeat up to 10 times.

Sequence

  • Ideally performed in conjunction with pranayama and mudras.
  • If practiced on its own, after asanas and pranayama but before meditation.

Precautions-
Never inhale or exhale until the chin lock has been released and the head is upright.

Limitations-
Persons suffering from high intracranial blood pressure or heart ailments Should perform these under expert guidance only.

Benefits-

  • The chin lock closes the wind pipe and compresses various organs including the sinus receptors which are located in the throat regThese receptors are sensitive to the blood pressure in the jugular vein which supplies blood to the brain. If the pressure is high the receptors send messages to the brain and heart, pressure is low then the heart is speeded up in the same way. The receptors are pressure-sensitive and so the compres­sion they receive during jalandhara bandha slows down the heart and brings tranquility to the mind.
  • The thyroid and parathyroid glands are massaged and their functioning improved. These glands, especially the thyroid, have very wide influence on the human organism, growth and sexual functions.
  • This technique relieves stress, anxiety and anger.
  • It is an excellent preparation for meditative practices.

VARIATION: Standing jalandhara bandha

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  •  Assume standing position, with the feet about 11/2 feet apart.
  • Lean forward and place the palms just above the knees.
    Exhale (or inhale) deeply and perform the chin lock, retaining the breath.
  • Straighten the arms to make the chin lock more rigid.
  • Hold the final pose for as long as you are able to.
  • Release the chin lock, hold the head up and slowly breathe out or in, as the case may be.
  • Repeat.

All other details are as given for the sitting form of jalandhara bandha.

MOOLA BANDHA
Moola bandha (The perineum retraction lock)

  • Sit in a meditative pose with the knees firmly on the ground. The best asanas are siddhasana, siddha yoni asana or the more difficult moola bandhasana, since these press the heel into the perineum and thereby automatically help to improve the performance of the bandha.
  • Place the palms on the knees.
  • Close the eyes and relax the whole body.
  • Inhale deeply, retain the breath and perform jalandhara bandha.
  • Then contract the muscles in the region of the peri­neum and draw them upwards.
  • This is the final posture.
  • Hold this pose for as long as you can comfortably retain the breath.
  • Release the contraction of the perineum, slowly raise the head and then slowly exhale.
  • Repeat up to 10 times.

Important Points-
This bandha can be performed by initially exhaling and retaining the breath outside while executing the locks, or while holding the contraction for long periods with normal breathing but without jalandhara bandha.

Duration
For as long as the practitioner is able to retain the breath.

Sequence-

  • After asanas and pranayama but before meditation if performed individually.
  • Ideally practised in conjunction with mudras and pranayama.

Precautions-
This bandha must be perfected carefully, preferably under expert guidance.

Limitations-Same as jalandhara bandha.

Preparatory technique-
Beginners may find it difficult to powerfully contract the muscles of the perineum and maintain the contraction for the duration of breath retention. They are recommended to practice regularly. This will make the muscles stronger and develop the practitioner’s control over them.

Benefits-

  • In this bandha the region of mooladhara chakra (between the urinary and excretory organs) is contracted and pulled upwards. This forces the apana vayu (vital energy in the abdominal region below the navel) to flow upwards and thereby unite with the prana (vayu, vital energy in the region between the larynx and the base of the heart). This generates vitality and good health.
  • It aids in the establishment of brahmacharya and the sublimation of sexual energy.
  • It duplicates the benefits of jaland
  • The pelvic nerves are stimulated and the associated sexual and eliminative organs are toned.

 

UDDIYANA BANDHA
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Uddiyana bandha (The abdominal retraction lock)

  • Sit in a meditative pose, so that the knees rest on the floor.
  • Place the palms on the knees, close the eyes and relax the whole body.
    Exhale deeply and retain the breath outside.
  • Perform jalandhara bandha.
  • Then contract the abdominal muscles as far as possible inwards and upwards.
  • This is the final position. Hold this lock for as long as the breath can be retained outside.
  • Then slowly release the stomach muscles, jalandhara bandha and inhale.
  • When the respiration has returned to normal the process may be repeated.
  • Practise up to 10 times.

Sequence-

Before meditation and after asana and pranayama, if performed alone.
Best practiced in co-ordination with pranayama.

Precautions-

  • In this bandha the diaphragm is pulled up towards the thoracic cage (chest cavity) and the abdominal organs drawn in towards the spine.
  • Practice only when the stomach and intestines arc empty.
  • Release the Limitations-Not for persons suffering from heart problems, peptic and duodenal ulcers or for pregnant women.

Benefits-

  • It is the panacea for many abdominal and stomach ailments like constipation, indigestion, worms, diabetes, etc.
  • The digestive fire is stimulated and all the abdominal organs are toned and rendered more efficient.
  • The liver, pancreas, kidneys, spleen, etc., are all massaged and made healthier; associated diseases are removed with regular practice.
  • The adrenal glands, situated above the kidney, are normalized. This gives vitality to a lethargic person and tranquility to an anxious or overwrought person.
  • The sympathetic nerves of the solar plexus are stimulated. These nerves serve many organs in the body, especially the abdominal organs. The functioning of all these organs is improved for this reason as well as through the massage they receive.
  • Distribution and flow of prana is increased.

VARIATION- Standing uddiyana bandha

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  • Stand erect with the feet about one and a half feet apart.
  • Bend slightly forward and place the palms on the front of the thighs.
  • Look forward, inhale deeply and then exhale completely.
  • Contract the abdominal muscles and draw in the abdomen making the midsection concave and lock it.
  • Retain for some time.
  • Then release the lock, inhale slowly and relax.

This standing variation is generally easier and is recommended for beginners.
ALL OTHER DETAILS ARE AS GIVEN FOR THE SITTING UDDIYANA BANDHA.

About Sharat S.

To keep my friends and readers Healthy, I love to write and share articles on Fruits, Vegetables, Yoga Exercise and more. Importantly, I always promote natural remedies to keep your body healthy.

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