Bandhas: the energetic seals to awaken your vital energy
Bandhas are an important part of a complete yoga practice. This millennial wisdom, nowadays of easy access all over the world, is composed of asanas, the poses; pranayama, the breathing techniques; mudras, a complete technique that include the previously mentioned ones; and meditation. The bandhas are part of the set, working on both the physical and energetic levels.
The bandhas are essential to work towards the main goal of Hatha Yoga, the awakening of our subtle energy, the so-called Kundalini. But on that process, and through the path, these techniques promote a few other benefits.
Find out what bandhas are, its pros and how to do the four most known seals.
Bandhas, the energetic seals
Bandhas is a Sanskrit word that means lock or bind, but that can also be translated as contraction. Bind points more for its energetic process, while the contraction is closer to its physical actions.
In Western countries, it’s also mentioned as an energetic seal. It consists of the contraction of certain areas of the body, like plexus, organs, and glands. Each bandha is connected to a different Chakra, and for that connection to the vital energy that flows through the body.
There are four main bandhas and then bandhas that work with a fusion of the other four. The most important are: jalandhara bandha, uddiyana bandha, mula bandha, and jihva bandha.
Bandhas and the energetic flow of the subtle body
To direct and regulate the subtle energy of the body, one needs to be in closer contact with it. It’s essential to understand the natural flow of prana.
We always have descendent energy, the apana vayu; and ascendent energy, the prana vayu. These energies are possible to manipulate to produce different effects on the body. For example, it’s either possible to calm down, or to power up. The bandhas are essential to those processes.
With the bandhas is possible to conduct the descendent energy to ascend, and the ascendant energy, to descend. Those actions will concentrate the energy in the area of the belly, and both will flow together.
The benefits of bandhas
Besides the ultimate goal of awakening the Kundalini, using bandhas either on the yoga practice or on daily life produces a set of benefits.
On the physical aspect of the practice itself, the bandhas allow the body to keep warm. Keeping the body warm is essential to avoid injuries. It also helps to keep the mind focused and avoid the dissipation of energy.
It results in the concentration of the energy in the perineum area, which can produce the effect of opening the Sushumna nadi, the central channel of the vital energy. That makes it possible to awaken the Kundalini.
Besides improving concentration and focus, and not only during the practice but always, the bandhas develop:
- A domain of the abdomen muscles;
- A sense of grounding;
- A healthy relationship with the material aspect of life;
- A correct pose of the body.
How to do the four bandhas
1. Jalandhara bandha
Located on the throat area, it is also called the chin lock. It consists of bringing the chin closer to the throat and inside, locking the energy below the throat chakra. It is beneficial to the thyroid, cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
2. Uddiyana bandha
Meaning “to rise”, this seal on the area of the abdomen will force the energy to move upward. It consists on exhale the air out and pulling the abdominal muscles in, while the chest lifts upward. It’s important to boost the internal fire and metabolism.
3. Mula bandha
Located on the root chakra, it involves the contraction of the perineum muscles inward and lifting them. It is physically healthy for the sexual organs, improves balance and is intimately connected to the kundalini source of power.
4. Jihva bandha
Its easy performance consists of pressing the tongue against the palate. It intensifies concentration and improves breathing. It’s the last detail to add to a yoga practice, but its power will potentialize your meditation to an all-new level.
Enjoy the bandhas, and remember you can use it anytime during your daily life!
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