Wanna build muscles? Build the internal ones! You’ll be amazed at the strength and benefits you can get from building these muscle groups. Ever wondered how a skinny yogi can go straight into a handstand and all sorts of arm balances and inversions…THE BANDHA’S! In Sanskrit (the oldest known language) bandha means to lock, to hold, or to tighten.
There are 3 main bandhas, the pelvic floor Mula Bandha (Root lock), behind the belly button Uddiyana Bandha and the throat Jalandhara Bandha.
These are actually energy locks and when you incorporate them with Ujjayi breathing (last article) you’ll see your yoga practice go through the roof! You’ll feel an amazing strength and lightness in the body and you’ll have the stamina to hold Asanas much longer.
The benefits of these energy locks are profound. They regulate and control all your internal systems, hormonal, sexual, metabolic, digestive, and more. For men, working the Mula Bandha is highly benefical for the prostate. For women, its a powerful tool for pre and post conception helping bounce everything back into shape. Note these shouldn’t be used whilst pregnant as everything needs to soften to allow childbirth.
The Uddiyana Bandha is a your sense of power, being behind the solar plexus, the 3rd chakra (chakra’s are energy centres in the body), its connected to your self worth and confidence in the world (plus think, fast track abs and amazing inversions!).
And the throat lock Jalandhara Bandha brings a sense of mindfullness to the breath, whilst stimulating the thyroid and blood flow in the neck.
What to do:
First start breathing slow and deep through the nose, on the inhale imagine lifting and squeezing everything up from the pelvic floor (or perineum) as you expand the rib cage to fill the lungs (do not let the belly inflate). On the exhale contract the belly button back to the spine, try to keep the lifting of the pelvic floor at the same time. Whilst inhaling and exhaling draw the chin down and contract the throat slightly to get the nice ocean sound (ujjayi click here). The contraction of both the lower bandha’s on the inhale and exhale is interchangeable, Its creates a battery circuit, one fuels the other. These two are your centre point.
To get all 3 on the go whilst you are in your yoga flow is tough, but ‘practice and all is coming’ as they say! Once you tap into this built in power resource there’s no going back!