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Bandha In Yoga Practice

Bandha literally means ‘locking and is a form of yoga practice. Bandha yogic practice involves holding a particular body part in a tight position by contracting the muscles during the practice of breath control, i.e., pranayama. In the text on hatha yoga, four varieties of bandha are described. They are –

Mula Bandha – in this, the heel is kept pressed against the perineum and the anal sphincters are contracted. This makes the vital air apana change its usual downward flow and turn upward to meet the vital air prana. The two make a joint impact on the dormant kundalini and make it rise upward through the innermost passage inside the spine. This process is described in detail in Hatha Yoga Pradipika (III. 61-69) and Shiva Samhita (IV. 65-66).

Uddiyana Bandha – This involves raising the diaphragm and pulling the abdominal wall backwards. This is done at the end of inner holding of breath – kumbhaka and beginning of deep expiration, i.e., recaka. This bandha is very highly praised in Shiva Samhita (IV – 73).

Jalandhara Bandha – this involves contraction of the throat, lowering of the neck in front and setting the chin on the chest. It is said to blind the channels in the throat through which the elixir from the moon in the skull flows down, and stops it from reaching the sun at the navel. (Shiva Samhita IV. 60-62)

Jihva Bandha – this is recommended as a part of the mahabandha, which is a combination of the first three bandhas mentioned above, as an option in place of Jalandhara-bandha. In it, the tongue is pressed against the hard palate, its tip touching the back of the upper front teeth.