The Bandha - The Body Locks to Canalize Energy

What are bandhas? Like so many Sanskrit terms, the word bandha is actually untranslatable in our language. At the same time it means knotting, tying, locking, joining, contracting. In yogic tradition, it is used to indicate specific voluntary physical closings or contractions involving certain groups of muscles and tendons.
It is a kind of “internal contraction” described as “body lock”.

These locks serve to channel and use the breath and the pranic energy connected to it in the correct and optimal way. Bandhas are very important in both breath control, or pranayama, and in specific postures and meditations. Their impact is enormous both on the physical, as well as on the energetic, mental, emotional and spiritual systems.
Bandhas are complex yoga techniques to learn, it is always best to perform them initially under the guidance of a teacher.

Mula Bandha

Mula in Sanskrit means root, source, origin, but also cause, base or foundation. This band affects the muscles of the lower abdomen, that is, from the anus to the perineum. The contraction movement of these muscles must be directed inwards, i.e. towards the spine, and upwards, i.e. towards our navel.

So Mula Bandha is your “Root Lock”. Physiologically, this bandha is a diamond shape hammock of muscles that spans the space between the bones of the pubis, the two ischium (sitting bones) and the coccyx. These muscles form part of the pelvic floor.

Activating and engaging these pelvic floor muscles (using a subtle lift action) brings much needed attention to the space between the pubis (front) and the coccyx (back). This awareness of the space between the pubis and coccyx in yoga practice can help alleviate pre-existing tightness, tension and/or lower back pain and can counteract any future possibility of lower back injury – both on and off the mat.


Depending on the school, there are variations in the teaching of this lock, but generally the contraction involves the anal sphincter area and the area around the sexual organs. Instead, the lower abdomen area is not always added, but in some schools yes – in this case, always keeping the first two areas contracted, the muscles of the lower abdomen and the navel point also contract, in a single fluid and quick.
Mula bandha can be practiced both with suspended breath inside (after inhalation) and outside (after exhalation). 

Mula Bandha

Uddiyana Bandha

In Sanskript Uddiyana means to fly! This bandha is performed by lifting the diaphragm upwards and pulling IN the abdominal organs, pushing them towards the back and the vertebral column. This bandha comes to your aid in all positions of strength and practicing it makes you understand better how to use your energy during the practice of asanas. This bandha involves the diaphragm, the main muscle that controls long and deep breathing. The diaphragm is located as a barrier between the first three chakras, positioned below. The diaphragm is a physical barrier, but also an energetic and psychological one: under the diaphragm we have a world connected to the unconscious and material, “jumping” towards the heart leads to a state of awareness and spiritual evolution.
The leap that pranic energy makes with Uddiyana is important and transforming.
Uddiyana Bandha stimulates the digestive fire, massages and tones the abdominal organs. Massage the heart, stimulate the purification processes.


The first important thing to know is that it must be practiced on an empty stomach and only in a vacuum, that is, after having completely exhaled. We can summarize some simple basic steps, but we suggest for a more complete practice the guidance of a certified teacher or the reading of a specific pranayama text.
Firstly sit in a position that is comfortable, for example cross-legged (Sukhasana) or Siddhasana or Lotus.
Secondly inhale and, once the inhalation is completed, begin to exhale deeply.
Finally when you have completely expelled the air out of the lungs, you remain in a vacuum and at the same time pull the entire abdominal region, especially the area above the navel, upwards and towards the spine. It is good to never force the closing duration time, it is advisable to keep a gentle time, in accordance with your possibilities.
Before returning to inhale, the abdomen must be relaxed and only then can the air be returned to the lungs.

Jalandhara Bandha

In Sanskript, Jala means “net” or “mesh network”, Dhara means “upward pull” or even “upper door”. In the practice of this bandha, the neck and throat are contracted and the chin rests on the chest in the hollow between the collarbone and the breastbone. Jalandhara bandha is a closure that is practiced to regulate the flow of blood to the glands in the neck and especially to our brain. 

Neck and throat are contracted, if you do it correctly, you retain energy, otherwise you may feel pressure in the torso and heart or have a headache. This closure allows the pranic energy to rise freely and without obstacles, through the channels of the spinal cord and to supply the brain with vital energies. It seals the air in the chest, has an influence on the heart and stretches the cervical region of the spine, compresses and also stimulates the thyroid. One of the main physiological benefits of engaging the throat lock is the stimulation of the thyroid which balances the regulation of hormones responsible for efficient metabolism (growth and maturation). 


The chin is brought towards the hollow of the sternum, between the two collarbones.
It is necessary to be able to place the chin in this position so that the cervical vertebrae are stretched and that the throat is compressed in the best way to obtain the effects that yoga wants to achieve. The neck muscles contract and the cervical vertebrae are stretched.

Maha Bandha –  The Great Lock

The Great Lock is a simultaneous activation of the first three bandhas.
It is practiced only by keeping the air out, after completing the exhalation, and on an empty stomach.
By activating this Bandha, the pranic energy collected in the lower part of the body is stimulated to rise through the energy channels along the spine (shushumna), up to the seventh chakra at the top of the head.
It is a closure that brings great benefits, it is said that its practice cures many ailments, relieves menstrual cramps, improves circulation, aids the glands, rejuvenates the nerves and balances the chakras.

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