You have often heard me say in class, “engage your bandhas” and I most frequently refer to uddiyana and mula bandha. In fact there are three classic bandhas: mula, uddiyana and jalandhara bandha. These are often referred to as ‘energy locks’ and the paradox is that these energy locks, when engaged, work to unlock energy within the practitioner.
The energy lock is basically the subtle sustained contraction of a group of muscles. Bandhas are used while holding asanas (postures) and moving in and out of asanas.
Mula bandha, known as the root lock is the subtle contraction of the muscles around the pelvic and perineum area. Uddiyana bandha, known as the navel lock, is the subtle contraction of the muscles of the lower abdominal area . This bandha is referred to frequently in asana practice as it supports breathing and encourages core strength. Jalandhara bandha, the throat lock, is where the chin is lowered towards the chin and the sternum is lifted.
The three main benefits of engaging the bandhas are:
- Strengths the core muscles
- Stimulates the digestive organs and elimination
- Creates a lightness in yoga practice
“You cannot always control what goes on outside.
But you can always control what goes on inside.” ~ unknown