Activating the Four Main Bandhas
Activating the four main Bandhas is perhaps the FIRST thing that should be learned (and taught) in Yoga.
Bandhas are literally the locks, or blocks, that control the even flow of Paraná – the vital life energy.
Bandhas are essential to attain control of our body’s energy system. They help in directing this energy to various points where it brings maximum health benefits. This involves tightening of certain muscles for a specific period of time, in a sequence
The throat lock – Jalandhara Bandha – Seals the lower end of the spine and temporarily prevents the pranic energy from moving upwards
The root lock – Mula Bandha – Seals the upper end of the spine and blocks the downwards movement of the prana energy and confines it at the navel region.
The diaphragm lock – Uddiyana Bandha is an advanced form of Bandha that invigorates and moves the prana energy upward with more force than the Mula Bandha,
Combination of all three locks – Maha Bandha is used by advanced practitioners of yoga as a starting point of Hatha Yoga.
Bandhas are a part of the practice of Pranayama. Once mastered, they should be engaged in the practices of Kriya as well as Asanas. It is very important to practice these under expert guidance because if wrongly learned they can produce negative results.
Jalandhara and Mula Bandhas are basic in nature and anybody can easily learn them. They should be practiced during Pranayama, after inhalation and exhalation cycles. On the other hand, Maha Bandha and Uddihyana are generally practiced during the Bahya Kumbhka.
Benefits of Activating the Four Main Bandhas
- Bandhas purify, create balance and remove blockages
- They stimulate the brain centers, opens up the Nadis and harmonize the chakras.
- Bandhas pause the natural flow of blood momentarily, hence when the Bandha is released, it leads to an increased flow of fresh blood which has a rejuvenating effect on all the organs
- Bandhas help in strengthening our concentration, and leads to a calm mind.
- The biggest effect of Bandhas is that they regulate the important internal systems- sexual, hormonal, metabolic and digestive.