Bandhas are energy locks throughout the body. There are three that are normally associated with yoga practices:
- mula bandha- root lock
- uddiyana bandha- core lock
- jalandhara bandha- throat lock
These are not really “locks” per say, but seals that seal the prana or energy into the body. As you practice deep breathing in yoga, you are cultivating prana (or life force). You are literally breathing in the energy that brings life t this body. If your “seals” are not properly trained, the effects of your breathing practice will not last long. It is said that a healthy person draws in prana and is able to keep this prana within the body to stabilize and energize. Of course, this is mostly on a subtle body / energetic level, but can be felt physically and increase the stability of your yoga poses. Today, we’ll take a look at mula bandha and what it can do for you.
Mula bandha is a gentle lifting of the perineal floor by contracting muscles of the pelvic floor. As you stand on the floor, feel your weight being drawn down to the earth. Then, slightly lift the pelvic floor and feel your energy draw up through the crown of the head. Now you feel like you are moving in two directions. An important note is that this is not a squeezing or forceful movement. Just gently lift up from the root of your body. I know when I practice using mula bandha, I feel lighter and more stable in each pose. It doesn’t take as much effort to stay in a pose for a long time as mula bandha seems to counteract gravity in its own way.
In an article titled “Mulabandha: A Core Issue” by Christopher Ken Baxter he discusses the importance of mula bandha. Here are some bullet points that may convince you of mula bandha’s importance:
- When the perineal floor lifts, it stimulates the core abdominal muscles to also lift and hold. This lift enables the chest and upper back to more easily lengthen.
- The integrative effect [of engaging mula bandha] is a subtle repositioning and alignment of the entire skeletal structure.
- Through the regular use of mula bandha, we learn that the protective tension and rigidity can be transformed into internal strength and lift. This enables us to reduce unnecessary injuries, release trapped energy, and live in our body with more joy.
- Because many of us have either denied or overemphasized this region of our body for so long, this practice (combined with compassionate awareness, steadfast patience, and relaxed determination) helps balance our energies.
- Owning our power is one of the great benefits of mull bandha practice. As we experiment with using core strength and letting go of our old ways of holding ourselves, we realize it is possible to let go of our habitual methods of safety (tension and numbness), fight or flight, self-sabotage, doing it right, being perfect, looking good) and still survive.
With all of those benefits, why not?