Bandha (yoga)

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(Redirected from Mula Bandha)
Mode of action of bandhas and mudras, serving to trap energy-fluids (breath, prana, bindu, amrita) and thus help to unblock the central sushumna channel.

A bandha (Sanskrit: बंध) is a kriyā in Hatha Yoga, being a kind of internal mudra described as a "body lock,"[1][2] to lock the vital energy into the body. Bandha literally means bond, fetter, or "catching hold of".[3][4][5]

Maha Bandha[edit]

Mahā Bandha ("the great lock") combines all the other three bandhas, namely:[6]

  • Mula Bandha, contraction of the perineum
  • Uddiyana bandha, contraction of the abdomen into the rib cage
  • Jalandhara Bandha, tucking the chin close to the chest

In Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, these three Bandhas are considered to be one of the three key principles of yoga practice.[7]

Mula bandha[edit]

Mūla bandha is a primary bandha in traditional yoga. The earliest textual mention of mūla bandha is in the 12th century Shaiva Natha text Gorakṣaśataka which defines it as a yogic technique to achieve mastery of breath and to awaken the goddess Kuṇḍalinī.[8]


Mula Bandha (Sanskrit: मूल बंध) is from Mūla, meaning variously root, base,[9] beginning, foundation,[10] origin or cause.[3]


Gorakṣhaśataka defines mūla bandha as:

[The yogi] forces the downward-moving apāna breath to move upwards by means of contraction. Yogis call this mūla bandha, "the root lock." When apāna has turned upwards and reached the orb of fire, then the flame, fanned by the wind, rises high. As a result, fire and apāna reach prāṇa, which is hot by nature. The overheated prāṇa creates a blaze in the body, which heats the sleeping Kuṇḍalinī and wakes her up. Like a snake struck by a stick, she hisses and straightens herself. As if entering a snake-hole, she enters the Brahmā naḍi. Therefore, yogis should maintain the regular practice of mūla bandha. Gorakṣaśataka[11]

Iyengar defines Mūla Bandha as "A posture where the body from the anus to the navel is contracted and lifted up and towards the spine".[4] This is qualified in that the actual muscle contracted is not the sphincter muscle nor the muscle which cessates urination, but the muscle equidistant between the two.

Maehle defines it as "root lock" and further specifies that:[12]

The root referred to here is the root of the spine, the pelvic floor or, more precisely, the centre of the pelvic floor, the perineum. The perineum is the muscular body between the anus and the genitals. By slightly contracting the pubo-coccygeal (PC) muscle, which goes from the pubic bone to the tail bone (coccyx), we create an energetic seal that locks prana into the body and so prevents it from leaking out at the base of the spine. Mula Bandha is said to move prana into the central channel, called sushumna, which is the subtle equivalent of the spine.

— [12]

Mūla Bandha is a primary Bandha in traditional yoga.[13] Iyengar likens the functionality of the Bandha and especially Mūla Bandha to "safety-valves which should be kept shut during the practice of kumbhakas".[3] He specifies the energetic prāṇas of Vāyus engaged through Mūla Bandha as: "...Apāna Vāyu (the prāṇa in the lower abdomen), whose course is downwards, is made to flow up to unite with Prāna Vāyu, which has its seat within the region of the chest."[3] He cautions that "Mūla Bandha should be attempted first in antara kumbhaka (retention after inhalation). The region of the lower abdomen between the navel and the anus is contracted towards the spine and pulled up to the diaphragm. He further states that "While practicing Mūla Bandha, the yogi attempts to reach the true source or mūla of creation."[3]

Uddiyana bandha[edit]

Uddiyana bandha.

Uḍḍīyana bandha (Sanskrit: उड्डीयन बन्ध), also called abdominal lock or upward lifting lock, is the abdominal bandha described and employed in hatha yoga, in particular in the nauli purification. It involves, after having exhaled all the air out, pulling the abdomen under the rib cage by taking a false inhale while holding the breath and then releasing the abdomen after a pause. The process is repeated many times before letting the air into the lungs, resuming normal breath.[14][15]

Jalandhara bandha[edit]

Jalandhara bandha (Sanskrit: जालंधर[16] बंध, IAST: Jālandhara bandha[17][5]) is the chin bandha described and employed in Hatha Yoga.


Jālandhara bandha comes from Sanskrit: जाल Jāla, web[18] or net[19] and (Sanskrit: धर) dhara, "holding".[20]


This bandha is performed by extending the neck and elevating the sternum (breastbone) before dropping the head so that the chin may rest on the chest. Meanwhile, the tongue pushes up against the palate in the mouth. [21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mallinson, James; Singleton, Mark (2017). Roots of Yoga. Penguin Books. pp. 230–231, 237–242. ISBN 978-0-241-25304-5. OCLC 928480104.
  2. ^ Sanskrit text and English translation of the Pancham Sinh edition at ( pp. 95-127
  3. ^ a b c d e Iyengar, 1976: pp.435–437
  4. ^ a b Iyengar, 1976: p.525
  5. ^ a b Monier-Williams 1964, p. 720.
  6. ^ Maheshwarananda, Paramhans Swami (2000). "Maha Bandha". Yoga in daily Life - The System. Ibera Verlag - European University Press. p. 429. ISBN 3-85052-000-5.
  7. ^ "Ashtanga Yoga Shala NYC - On Pranayama, Bandha and Drishti". Archived from the original on 26 November 2018. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
  8. ^ Mallinson 2012, p.261
  9. ^ Iyengar, 1976: p.515
  10. ^ Iyengar, 1976: p.459
  11. ^ Mallinson 2012, p. 269.
  12. ^ a b Maehle, Gregor (2007). Ashtanga Yoga: Practice and Philosophy (Paperback). New World Library. ISBN 1-57731-606-1 & ISBN 978-1-57731-606-0, p.11
  13. ^ Iyengar, 1976: p.435
  14. ^ Uddiyana Bandha Archived 2020-02-06 at the Wayback Machine by Dr. Karl Nespor, in Yoga Magazine, a publication of Bihar School of Yoga
  15. ^ How to do Uddiyana Bandha From Guy Powiecki from tradition Swami Kuvalayananda
  16. ^ "Monier Williams Online Page: 420". Retrieved 2020-01-21.
  17. ^ White 2011, p. 261.
  18. ^ " Entry: जाल". Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  19. ^ Macdonell 2005, p. 99.
  20. ^ " Entry: धर". Retrieved 2012-03-24.
  21. ^ Ramaswami 2005, p. 4.