Traditionally bandhas are considered powerful advanced practices that are done for the purpose of affecting your body’s subtle energy. In Sanskrit bandha means lock and is referring to a lock in and of itself. There are 3 principle bandhas in the body, mula, uddhiyana, and jalandhara and a fourth (maha banha) that ties them all together.
Sanskrit is used frequently in my classes and in other yoga classes, not at all. It is a personal choice. I choose to use it, because I want you to have an enriched Integral Hatha Yoga experience, feel the vibrations of the language, in hope that it will resinate and awaken something inside of you. However, some words, I feel, are used out of context and without enough explication, like Mula Bandha. You’ll hear a teacher instructing you to “engage your mula bandha” in various poses, while what they may means is to contract your pelvic floor. And there is a difference. The mula bandha can take years to master. Myself, am still working on it. You need to contract the muscles at the bottom of the pelvic floor, behind the cervix without contracting the anal sphincter or any other muscles of that region. Its like imagining there is a penny on the center of your pelvic floor and you are trying to pull it upward without engaging any other muscles. Talk about having a very strong mind body connection! So, for a teacher to ask there students to keep this engaged for an entire practice, I find unjust, especially for beginners.
The bandhas are a beautiful subtle energy practice. When done correctly; they can direct the flow of prana (the universal energy), balance the adrenals, giving energy to you when you are tired or calming you when you are feeling anxious, relieve constipation, aid in depression, massages the internal organs, and balances the metabolism. Just to name a few.
My goal is to introduce these subtle practices to you, not during our asana practice, so that you can begin to play with them and then eventually bring them into your home practice and begin to discover the endless energy balancing benefits. This way, maybe one day when someone ask you to engage your mula bandha and hold it for the entire class, you will be able to better understand exactly what they are asking you to do.
It is said, that when you master the locks, you have mastered yoga.
So…..Practice, Practice and Practice! 🙂
Love and light