Even though I was already familiar with different breathing techniques, I never came across the three different types of Maha Bandhas until I got introduced to them during my Yoga Teacher Training.
In Sanskrit Maha means great, mighty, powerful and Bandha means to lock, to hold or to thighten.
Mula Bandha = Root Lock
Start out in a sitting position. Elongate the spine and make sure the chin is parallel to the floor. Close your eyes and bring awareness to the Muladhara Chakra located at the base of the spine. Contract the pelvic floor muscles as if you’re holding back urination. Inhale deeply into your lungs and try to hold the breath as long as possible but still comfortable followed by a long exhalation. Repeat for 3 – 5 times. Remain seated and continuing breathing normally for some time.
This breathing technique strengthens the pelvic floor and has a calming effect on the nervous system as well as the mind.
Uddiyana Bandha = Navel Lock
Start in a standing position with your legs separated. Inhale deeply, exhale and hold your breath. Bend forward and place your hands on the knees. Suck in the lower tummy and feel the hollow. Hold as long as possible then exhale and release the tummy. Remain in this position for a while before lifting up your upper body. Repeat for 3 – 5 rounds on an empty stomach only!
The concentration during this breathing is on the Manipura Chakra. It stimulates the intestinal organs and helps to relieve constipation. It balances the mind and therefore controls anger and irritability.
Jalandhara Bandha = Chin Lock
Sit in a comfortable position with a straight spine so air can flow freely. Place the palms on your legs. Inhale slowly but deeply through your nose. Lower the chin close to your chest while lifting your sternum. Contract the throat and retain the air as long as possible. Exhale, raise your head and come back to the starting position. Repeat for 3 – 5 rounds then breath normally remaining in this position.
This breathing exercise concentrates on the Vishuddhi Chakra. It develops the ability to concentrate and is highly beneficial for throat diseases. It also regulates the thyroid function.
Give it a try!