Creating Core Stability in Yoga Asanas – The Bandhas

The beauty of yoga relates to core stability…

The 3 primary Bandhas :-

1) Mula Bandha in the pelvis

2) Uddiyana Bandha just beneath the navel

3) Jalandara Bandha in the area of the neck

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Mula Bandha

is situated in the pelvis.  Its location is slightly different in men and women.  For men; it is the area between the scrotum and the anus, two inches inside the body.  For women, it is located by the cervix.

Anatomy related to Mula Bandha; begin at the pelvic floor and move downward.

The Pelvic Floor is an intricate array of muscles, fascia, blood vessels and nerves.  The muscles and fascia are arranged in layers and in different directions.  Let’s focus on two layers- the perineum and the pelvic diaphragm.

The Perineum in yoga term, is the area between the genitals and anus.

The Perineum in anatomical term includes the space between the genitals and anus.  Shaped like a diamond, it has the pubic symphysis at the front, the coccyx at the back, and th ischiat tuberosities  left and right.

The Pelvic diaphragm is shaped like a funnel or hammock. Separating the pelvic cavity from the perineum, it is composed primarily of the levator ani and coccygeus muscles.  It covers or closes most of the opening of pelvis except for the area around the prostate in men and the vagina in women, where the fascia of the urogenital diaphragm resides.

When creating Mula Bandha from the muscles of the pelvic, 3 primary muscles are contracting.

i) Superficial and deep transverse perineal muscles

ii) Bulbospongiosus muscle

iii) Ischiocavernosus muscle

Accessing Mula Bandha from Below

1) Hip Adductor muscles have a fascial connection to the pelvic floor muscles.

2) Fibularis (peroneus) longus and Tibialis posterior; together they act as a stirrup.  With sprawling attachments on the bottom of the feet they lift the arches.  Their fascial attachments on the fibula and tibia connect with the fascial attachments of the hip adductors.  It is this connection that enables the feet to contribute to creating MULA BANDHA and core stability.

Uddiyana Bandha

located about three inches below the navel in both men and women.

The anatomy related to Uddiyana Bandha;

Uddiyana Bandha feeds off of the mula bandha.  It is the activation of mula bandha along with the connection of the transversus abdominis, the lower fibers of the internal obliques, and multifidi muscles.

The transversus abdominis is the innermost muscle of the abdomen, covering the area from the rib cage to the pelvis.  At the rib cage it attaches to the lower ribs and interweaves with the diaphragm.  In the pelvis it attaches to the pubis.  Its fibers run horizontally, so it also attaches around the back to the lumbodorsal fascia as well as in the front to the linea alba.  When the fibers contract they act like a girdle, squeezing into the core of the body.

The internal oblique works in conjunction with the transversus abdominis.  While the fibers of the internal oblique span from the pelvis to the rib cage, only the lower fibers work in conjunction with the transversus abdominis.  The lower fiber attachto the iliac crest of the pelvis near the anterior superior iliac spine.  They also attach with the transversus abdominis onto the pubis and onto the linea alba.  When they contract, they contract with the transversus abdominis, supporting and compressing into the core of the body.

The muscles of mula bandha and the transversus abdominis work closely with the multifidi.  The multifidi are small muscles that attach between vertebrae, spanning the entire spine from the sacrum to C2.  Specifically, they attach from the transverse process of one vertebra to the spinous process three or four vertebrae higher.

Jalandara Bandha is located in the neck.

The muscles of Jalandara Bandha are commonly called the deep neck flexors, also known as the longus colli, longus capitis, rectus capitis anterior and rectus capitis lateralis.  The longus colli and longus capitis are more to the spine than the rectus capitis anterior and rectus capitis lateralis.

The longus colli attaches from the anterior side of C1 down to T3.

The longus capitis attaches from transverse processes of the cervical vertebrae to the base of the skull.

The rectus capitis anterior is wider and shorter than the longus colli and capitis.  It attaches from C1 to the base of the skull.  The rectus capitis lateralis is more lateral to the spine than the rectus capitis anterior.  It attaches from the transverse process of C1 to the skull.

Together these four muscles help balance the head on the spine and gently drop the chin into JALANDARA BANDHA.