In preparation for my upcoming Bandhas and Mudras Yoga Workshop at Ramapo College of New Jersey on Friday November 13th at 6pm, I've created some yoga art photography and written a bit about each of the 3 energy body locks called the bandhas. I hope this post assists your understanding of what can be an abstract topic.
Mula is a Sanskrit word which means the root of a plant or tree. Bandha means lock. I like to think of it as a bridge you can sense in your inner subtle body that can take you to the other side with an upgrade that offers stability, calmness and improved concentration. Mula Bandha is found at the base of your torso. Your first yoga teacher may have taught you to contract your lower body like you're holding your pee to find it. Well, it is more than that and after some time has gone by of having a committed yoga and meditation practice it is worthwhile finding Mula Bandha so you can hold your postures longer, jump to the top of your yoga mat without hearing a thump, stand on one leg with greater stability plus balance on your hands and head without pain, sit in meditation longer, improve your urogenital health in addition to activate and heal muladhara chakra, the root chakra. This first energy center governs your feelings associated with your family, home and money. When the first chakra is stable and calm, life is more relaxed.
Uddiyana Bandha is an abdominal lock that can be described as tightening your belt on your next exhale and feeling your belly's fire morph into a bird that has flown up into your heart's space. You can contain this upward flying energy by ever so slightly dropping your chin down into Jalandhara Bandha, your chin lock. On your next inhale stretch your lowest ribs away from your hips, move your chin parallel to the floor then exhale draw your belly in and drop your chin a bit. Repeat. Using these subtle body energy locks are useful in strengthening your abdominal muscles, healing manipura chakra, the 3rd chakra, stimulating your thyroid, internally massaging your heart and lungs, improving your digestion and circulation plus lifting the energy of the lower belly to unite with the energies within the navel and heart.
Jalandhara Bandha means chin lock. It is when you drop your chin to point towards your chest. Here the mind meets the heart and the back of your neck breathes. Like tightening the cap to a water bottle to not spill anything out, you apply your chin lock after a big inhale accompanied with pulling your belly in on your exhale to keep your energy powerfully circulating within. Repeat by inhaling with your chin parallel to the floor while your belly stretches high and wide then exhale while synchronizing a little tilt of your chin downward and tightening your belt. Your throat lock exercises and heals your thyroid in addition to activating your communication energy center, vishuddha chakra, the 5th chakra.