MUDRAS and BANDHAS
21 Mar 2021 HYN Himalayan Yoga Academy
MUDRAS and BANDHAS: YOGIC BANDHA AND SPIRITUAL IMPORTANCE: PART- V
Connection between Mudras and Bandhas
Yoga mudras and Bandhas are often taken together as they work on a deeper level. These work on a more subtle level than pranayama and asana. Both mudras and bandhas work on cleaning the mind and healing the body at a subtle level.
Mudra uses some particular body movement or posture to redirect the prana energy to a chakra. The organs connected to that particular area of Chakra gain effect from mudra. Bandha uses the contraction of muscles and organs that redirect the energy to any particular chakra and helps the organs of that area to function well.
Initially, we have no control over our inner body. For example, we can’t control the flow of blood or the flow of heat inside us, etc. Mudras and Bandhas give us control over our inner body. These activities give us the power to control and heal our subtle bodies.
Incorporating Breath in Bandhas
Breath is a very essential part of Bandha practice. Breathing exercises before Bandha allows the Prana to flow throughout the body. Prana is controlled by inhaling and exhaling breaths. Prana governs the energy in all the physical and mental exercises. While practicing bandha, breathing practice (holding the breath) helps to complete the lock.
Actually, the combination of breath with the inner word/contraction of muscles forms a Bandha. Bandhas in conjunction with pranayama gives the best results.
Bandha includes both Antar Kumbhaka (inhalation retention) and Bahya Kumbhaka (Exhalation Retention). Without breath retention (Kumbhaka), no bandha or no lock can be performed.
Thus, Bandha has a deeper relationship with the breath.
Since we were born, we are aware of only our physical body. But, there is a lot more than the physical body. We only know a few things about our subtle body, our soul. Bandha is a deeper understanding of our souls. These stimulate the Prana and Chakras.
Bandhas are boon of Hatha Yoga to us. One, who masters this technique of Yoga, masters his/her soul. Bandha’s results do not overnight These take a little time to show their result. You only need to be patient. You will get the desired results, not immediately, but definitely.
An important component of yoga, the bandhas are primarily meant to serve our yogic practice. They are often misunderstood.
If you have been coming to my yoga classes, you have probably been using them perhaps without realizing it. I often cue them in class to guide my students into better alignment and help prevent injuries. Indeed, the physical practice of the bandhas utilizes co-activation of muscles and physical movements that ensure better alignment in postures and protect us from strain and injury.
But more importantly the bandhas, also known as energy locks , serve as valves that control energy, irrigate the channels of energy, and activate, replenish and balance the flow of prana throughout the body. While practicing, we observe energetic patterns beyond our physical form in the energy body.
How does it work? When you activate a bandha, the energy flow in a specific part of the body is blocked. When the bandha is released, this allows the energy to flow powerfully through the body and increases pressure. Asana creates bandha and bandha serves the breath and the breath is the vehicle for prana.
There are three classic bandhas: mulabandha, uddiyana bandha, and jalandhara bandha. They can be practiced together or individually during kriya, asana, pranayama, mudra, visualization, and meditation. When practiced together they are called tri-bandha.
So finally, remember that engaging the bandhas not only help us with our alignment and prevention of injuries but they are essential in our yogic practice as they prevent disease by sealing the nadis and mastering unruly movements of prana and ultimately, when ready, help us raising kundalini up our sushumna nadi.
So… next time you hear me say, draw your navel in and up, lower your chin down as you lift your sternum slightly… you will understand that I am inviting you to engage your bandhas.
If you want more clarifications about the bandhas, do not hesitate to come to me after class and ask for guidance. I’ll be more than happy to help.