Bandha simply means locking, joining together or the act of fettering or catching hold. With reference to human body the Bandha refers to an action in which certain organs of body are tightened, contracted or controlled. For doing this act of tightening or contracting there is definite aim to achieve and that is harnessing the cosmic energy in the human body.
When we wish to enjoy the comforts from electricity we require a lot of equipments and instruments such as transformers, conductors, fuses, switches and insulated wires and finally the apparatus or appliance desired to be used, otherwise the electricity may prove to be fatal or lethal. Similarly when we practice various Asanas and Pranayamas the energy generated needs to be channelized and directed correctly in the human body for definite and distinct purposes. This is possible only when Bandhas are also simultaneously applied during the practice of Asanas and Pranayamas, otherwise the energy created shall be dissipated and will also damage the nervous systems.
For higher stages of yoga, the practice of Bandhas is very much essential. They help to distribute energy adequately and in a proper proportion so as to prevent its wastage through hyper-ventilation of the body.
Bandhas are applied at three locations of the body.
Root of the spine – Mooladhar
Root of the Navel – Swadhisthan
Thoracic Region – Vishuddhi
By applying these locks during the practice of Pranayams and meditation the flow of cosmic energy can be redirected to central energy duct called Sushmna Nadi. This will awaken the spiritual energy to harness the blissfulness to attain the ultimate happiness. There are three main bandhas as follows.
- Sit in some sitting posture PADMA ASANA,SIDDHA ASANA OR SWASTIK ASANA.PLACE .
- Close your eyes,spine erect and hands on respective knees.
- Focus your attention on the natural breath pattern,do not try to control or regulate the breath but simply observe it.
- After a few minutes make effort for deep breaths ,long inhalation and exhalation.
- Then hold the breath out (Bahya Kumbhak) and focus your attention on perineal / vaginal region.
- By pulling the muscles of your pelvic floor, contract your perineal/ vaginal region and relax it alternately,this has to be done in a rhythmic way and only till you are holding the breath out.
- When you feel like inhaling, first stop the act of contraction and relaxation of your perineal/ vaginal region then take breath in. Have some normal breaths .
- This process can be repeated 3 times.
After this preparatory practice is mastered for a few months , mool bandha can be tried in which the contraction has to be maintained for longer duration. Because this is very serious and advance stage practice of Yoga, it must be done in presence of expert guide, otherwise the aspirant may suffer troubles.These details must not be taken as a guide to practice but simply an introductory information
- It helps to maintain celibacy (Brahmcharya), thereby enhancing the immunity and sexual energies.
- It strengthens the uro-genital and excretory systems of the body.
- It also helps to maintain the process of peristalsis of the digestive system so that the food flow path is maintained.
- It is helpful to cure the diseases like bronchitis, asthma and arthritis etc.
- Sit in Padma Asana is Siddha Asana or even Sukha Asana.
- Close the eyes.
- Focus your attention on the natural breath without making any efforts to breath in and out.
After a few minutes breath in and not deeply, making full efforts but without much of strain.
After there long breaths, inhale fully and return the breath in (Antara, Kumbhak).
- Place your hands on respective knees so that four fingers are back wards and the thumbs forward firmly placed on the knees.
- Straighten the arms, simultaneously press down your chin on the upper most portion of the chest.
- Maintain this lock till you are able to retain breath inside comfortably.
- When you feel like exhaling first unlick the chin. Only then exhale and relax.
Wait until your breath comes to normal and then you can again repeat.
Three cycles are sufficient.
- Thyroid & para-thyroid glands are massaged and their functioning is bright is to normal.
- Metabolism is very well regulated.
- Stress, anxiety and anger are cured and managed.
Information given here about bandhas are for reference and the actual practice must be done under guidance of a qualified Guru only.
- Sit in Padmasana.
- Keep your eyes closed.
- Keep the body relaxed & mind calm.
- Keep the palms on respective knee with pressure on the knees .
- Start forceful inhalations and exhalations.
- After about five breaths as above exhale fully and hold the breath out.
- Contract your abdominal muscles fully pulling the navel in towards the spine (inward and upward).
- This lock is called Uddyan Bandha and must be maintained as long as you can.
- Do it without straining yourself.
- Relax and repeat it three times.
- Cures and tones up the abdominal organs, liver and pancreas.
Hints and Cautions:
- Bandhas must be practiced under strict supervision of your Guru.
- These are to be practiced empty stomach preferably in morning and after ASANAS AND PRANAYAMAS.
- Appetite is enhanced but keep restraint on food, take lots of frits and fresh fruit juices but never take fried and roasted items.
- Some times in case of enthusiastic and overdoing of Bandhas may cause some irritability or bitter tastes in mouth, in such conditions stop your practice and consult your Guru at once.
- Practice Bandhas with patience and faith it will certainly give you good results.
- These should never be practiced in a group of other aspirants and never compete with anybody.
- You may start practicing Bandhas alone only when you have been okayed to do that by your Guru.
- The use of these Bandhas, after mastering them, can be clubbed with the practice of other higher practices of Yoga and again in consultation with your Guru.