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"Lock - in" your Life Force with Bandhas

By Arun Goel

Energy or the Life force flows through us, to keep us alive. It is the flow of this energy, which regulates our bodily and mind functions. Irregularity in this flow or pattern leads to various ailments and mental tensions.

Life Force is like water; it has to flow through our body and provide a certain amount of energy to each of our cells. Some times, due to our lifestyle or thinking, these flows get disturbed. Certain parts of our body get either too much or too less of energy. The energy may not be reaching some places and at other parts there may be stagnation of energy. Such imbalances lead to headaches, backaches, constipation, sexual disorders, stomach ailments or any other disorder depending on one's imbalance.

Besides Pranayama, Bandha is another yogic practice to regulate this life force.

Pregnant women, people suffering from high blood pressure, peptic and duodenal ulcers or heart ailments should not practice Bandhas.

Bandha in Sanskrit means 'to lock or tighten'. In Bandha practices, the breath is locked or concentrated in a particular area of the body. The body is tightened to retain the energy in that part for some time. This locking of life force has a lot of beneficial effects.

Bandhas help in massaging of the internal organs and removal of stagnant blood. Besides, the practice of Bandhas regulates the nervous system, delays aging , increases vitality and leads to spiritual development.

Bandhas help to release the psychic knots. Psychic knots are like whirlpools of energy created in the wrong areas of our body, over years because of our lifestyle. These knots prevent the natural flow of energy, leading to imbalances.

Jalandhara Bandha (Jaa-lun-dhaar Bun-dh) or The Chin Lock

  • Sit comfortably in Vajrasana or Padmasana (cross legged) with knees touching the floor.
  • Place palms on knees.
  • Inhale deeply, filling your lungs. Retain and hold your breath inside.
  • Now keeping your back straight, bend your head forward, so that the chin touches the notch between the collar bones. Keep the chin tightly pressed to create the lock
  • Straighten the arms, hunch the shoulders upwards and forwards, so that the arms too are tightened.
  • Hold the lock for as long as you are comfortable. Feel the pressure of air, and the blood flow in your chest.
  • Then relax the shoulders, bend the arms, release the chin lock, slowly raise the head and exhale.
  • Never exhale or inhale during the chin lock. Do so only after release of lock and with head upright.
  • Practice 5 rounds with breath retained inside (after inhalation with lungs filled up) and then 5 rounds with breath retained outside (after exhalation with empty lungs)
Jalandhar Bandha has many benefits-

Physically -It helps in managing throat problems, excess mucus and thyroid imbalance. It also improves the quality of voice and stammering.
Mentally- It helps in management of anger and stress.
Spiritually- It works at the level of Vishuddi Chakra.

Moola Bandha or the Anal Lock

  • Sit comfortably in Vajrasana or Padmasana (cross legged) with knees touching the floor.
  • Place palms on knees.
  • Inhale deeply, filling your lungs. Hold your breath and contract muscles of the perineum/cervix area by drawing them upwards.
  • Hold the lock for as long as comfortable. Feel the tightening of your muscles.
  • Release contraction and exhale slowly.
  • Repeat this 10 times and may be increased to 30.
Anal Lock may also be done in conjunction with Chin Lock -
  • Sit erect. Inhale deeply.
  • First do the Chin lock, and then the Anal lock.
  • Hold as long as comfortable. Become aware of the pressures in your entire body.
  • Relax, by first releasing the Anal lock and then the Chin lock.
  • Raise your head and exhale.
  • Practice 3 rounds.
  • Also practice 3 rounds with external retention.
Moola Bandha has many benefits-

Physically -It helps in managing problems of sexual organs, constipation and piles. It tones the pelvic area. It also strengthens the sphincter muscles of the anus and stimulates the intestinal peristalsis.
Mentally- It helps in sublimation of sexual energy.
Spiritually- It helps in awakening of Kundalini.

Just like, with all yogic practices, with Bandhas too one should keep his awareness high. You must keep listening to your body during the practice and stop at any indication of discomfort. Patience and practice will lead to wonderful and blissful results.

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