You may have heard about various bandhas during yoga classes, but had no idea about them. To be aware when a teacher asks you to do a certain Bandha and use your energy, we will expand this concept a little.

Bandhas are energy locks that bind, move and hold energy in a body and stimulate nerve conduction. With the help of bandhas, the process of cleansing the body is activated, they are able to direct energy to concentration, clarity and awareness of the mind. Bandhas make us more centered, focused, balanced, and ready for spiritual growth.

Let's look at the three main bandhas that can and should be used during the practices of Hatha yoga and pranayam, and another one that combines these three together.

The Mula Bandha.

The word "Mula" in Sanskrit is root, so Mula Bandha is the root lock. This Bandha compresses the pelvic floor muscles and tones the organs of this area. Men should concentrate on the area between the anus and the genitals. Women should focus on the pelvic floor muscles.

Practice: sit in a comfortable position, preferably Padmasana (Lotus pose). Concentrate on squeezing the entire pelvic floor area and pull it up as you inhale. Hold this way for a few seconds 3-5 and exhale gently release from top to bottom. Repeat 5-10 times.

Mula Bandha is associated with the Muladhara chakra (root, main) practice hermetically protects the energy of the earth at the base of the body. This helps to move energy up, transform it, and also provides us with additional strength and endurance. It helps to concentrate, stimulates the pelvic nerve endings, relieves various sexual disorders, constipation, hemorrhoids. Pregnant women, women during menstruation should avoid this practice!

Uddiyana Bandha.

A lock in the stomach that connects the pelvic floor area to the diaphragm. The practice of massaging the internal organs of this area moves the energy up and transforms it into a more subtle one.

Practice: spread your legs wider than your shoulders, take a deep breath, put your hands on your hips as you exhale, pull your stomach up and press it against your spine with a feeling of stomach suction. Stay like this for comfortable time, come out with a deep breath.

Uddiyana Bandha massages and tones the abdominal organs, promotes the flow of energy up. This Bandha is associated with the manipura chakra (fire chakra). During compression and relaxation of the abdomen, we use air, thereby improving blood circulation in this area, which helps with constipation, bloating, as well as the abdominal muscles work - it makes them strong and us slim. Uddiyana Bandha is performed on an empty stomach, with full breaths in and out. If you have ulcers, hernias, menstruation or pregnancy avoid this practice!

Jalandhara Bandha

Chin lock. It is located on the chin and neck, close to the Vishudhi (throat chakra). This Bandha connects the energy of the heart with the head. Energetically it makes our emotions quiet and our thoughts pure.

Practice: sit cross-legged, preferably in Padmasana with your hands on your knees, palms up. With a deep breath, straighten your back, close your eyes and keep your back straight, lower your chin into the hollow between your collarbones, so that your throat and trachea are closed. If the chest is directed upwards, the lock will become stronger. Hold your breath as long as possible, but to make you feel comfortable, then raise your head and make a long, slow exhalation. Repeat 3-4 times.

This practice stimulates the thyroid gland, which contributes to a balanced metabolism, and it is also possible to cure various diseases of the throat. Do not perform if you have high blood pressure, heart pain or you are pregnant!

Maha Bandha or the Great lock.

Here is a combination of all three bandhas. This practice is done once after completing the previous three.

Practice: sit cross-legged, inhale and exhale starting with Jalandhar Bandha, then do Uddiyana Bandha and finish with Mula Bundha. Stay like this until you feel comfortable, lift your head, exhale and open all the locks. Maha Bandha is beneficial for the entire nervous system, internal organs and has a positive effect on the mind.

You should start practicing bandhas under the guidance of a teacher. Slow, because the accuracy of execution is very important.  The next time you hear the word Bandha, you  know that you should focus on your inner energy and use it.

The effect will not be long in coming.

Happy practicing!