The 4 Essential Bandhas: A Beginner’s Guide to Internal Locks


body locks that, upon practiced and mastered, let a practitioner attain perfection much easier and flawlessly. According to the ancient yogis, these locks or bandhas are that aspect of yoga which helps a yogi to hold a pose for long without feeling ached, picking up new postures, keeping the concentration centered and pointed in one direction, regulating longer breaths as well as nurturing a calmer mind. In short, it gives you the edge making your yoga sessions more relaxed and perfect. And that is what a beginner often lacks.

When East perceives bandhas as one of the most important aspects of yoga that can provide the practitioner with that “edge,” in West these locks are considered vital instruments in controlling all the internal systems from sexual to hormonal or digestive etc. But one important advice here, practicing bandhas is not allowed during pregnancy.

There are four principle bandhas or yoga locks practiced all over the world  Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha, Jalandhara Bandha and Maha Bandha.

1. Mula Bandha: Mula Bandha, the easiest of the locks, means root lock. Iyengar defined this primary lock as “A posture where the body from the anus to the navel is contracted and lifted up and towards the spine.” Let me make it easy for you to understand. For women, suppose you are busy in a client meeting when you, to your horror, suddenly you realize that your period has started a day ago. And you are not in a situation to go to a washroom. What would you? Or, for both men and women, that moment when you are dying to pee but you cannot. In such situations, the only solution is Mula Bandha. So just by contracting the pelvic and cervix muscles, a woman can control the menstrual blood flowing out. Similarly, men can control the urgent need to empty their bladder for at least 3 hours or more by practicing this lock.

2. Uddiyana Bandha: The next one in the list, Uddiyana, in Sanskrit, means rising or flying up. Therefore, this flying up lock is all about lifting your inner side upwards. That can have two meaning, lifting up your energy level and/or lifting up your internal organs like abdominal muscles, stomach etc. And what are the day-to-day benefits you can expect from this lock? Better digestion, increased metabolism, a toned abdomen, less constipation and a stress free life.

3. Jalandhara Bandha: The word Jalandhara is derived from two Sanskrit words – jala (net) and dharan (flow). Therefore, Jalandhara Bandha is a lock that controls the neck area and its functions etc. It helps in thyroid, body metabolism, a regular flow of blood around the nerves of neck area as well as a mental relaxation.

4. Maha Bandha: Maha means great in Sanskrit, so Maha literally means the combination of all the bandhas mentioned above. Naturally, its benefits comprise all the benefits offered by the other 3 bandhas along with a better endocrine system. Moreover, the breathing practice immensely helps in swimming, running and underwater diving.

So get up and get ready for the locks. Stay updated for the next tips and guides on Bandhas.

Yogasync me! Try incorporating the Mula Bandha, as well as the other three bandhas, in this modified sequence:

Modified Dedicated Thursday – For Menstruation

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About Durba Sengupta

Durba has been a Yoga practitioner for the last 10 years. Being a dedicated yoga practitioner, she is passionate about spreading the goodness of yoga by sharing her experiences, ideas, and thoughts about this ancient practice through her articles and forums.

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