Uddiyana Bandha or “Stomach Lock”

Uddiyana Bandha or "Stomach Lock"

So we assembled, definitely in need of coffee and feeling rather thirsty. We were going to learn to perform uddiyana bandha, also known as the “abdominal lock”. It’s best done on an empty stomach, preferably first thing in the morning (but after you’ve gone to the bathroom!!). So, here are some things I learnt about it, after our morning practice.

The word bandha literally means “to bind” and it seals, constricts or isolates a particular segment of the body. Engaging or using bandha gives important support to the body and organs in the abdomen, pelvis and spine.

“Uddiyana” pretty much means “flying up” and when practised, the abdominal wall is firmed and lifted, through the creation of a vacuum in the chest. Apart from being a form of breath retention, the Uddiyana Bandha is also a form of kriya which can help to strengthen the visceral organs and stretch the diaphragm. Nauli Kriya, which is an advanced variation of Uddiyana Bandha, massages the abdominal region through some eye-popping, circular massaging of the abdominal muscles. It’s important to note because of the pressure placed on the abdominal and pelvic muscles, persons with the following should not perform Uddiyana Bandha or its variations: stomach ulcers or ulcers. Pregnant women or those on their moon cycle also are included.

We were also shown a video (which frankly made my eyeballs pop) and I found another video from Yoga International in which the practitioner demonstrates these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGS2kKO6uns

But anyway! Here are some steps (but not perfectly) to perform the Uddiyana Bandha:

  1. Stand with your feet about hip width apart, legs slightly bent, with your hands on your thighs. While the Uddiyana Bandha can be performed upright or in the Padangusthasana position (with index and middle finger grabbing the big toe), this position can help the practitioner identify mistakes and correct the technique.
  2. Completely exhale – empty your body of air.
  3. Do a “fake” inhalation through locking the glottis: the opening between the vocal folds in the larynx. It’s a kind of valve between the lungs and the mouth.
  4. Draw the abdominal wall in and up as if you would try to make your waist smaller. Expand the rib cage. Your upper abdomen will form a deep concavity that extends up underneath your rib cage. 
  5. Hold this for about 10 – 15 seconds, whilst keeping the abdomen muscles relaxed.
  6. To “unlock”, relax your mock inhalation, letting your chest and abdominal organs drop. Release the abdomen forward and inhale gently. Allow the air pressure to equalize.
  7. Repeat 3-4 times.

I also read:

“…Uddiyana Bandha fans the agni, or element of fire that is most highly concentrated at the navel. Strengthening this fire aids in purifying the body’s subtle channels, or nadis. This purification process is intensified if uddiyana bandha is practiced during a bahir/bahya kumbhaka, or external breath retention. This is sometimes called uddiyana kriya.”

Source: https://www.sonima.com/yoga/uddiyana-bandha/

Fascinating! In all honesty the Uddiyana Bandha reminded me a of a game we used to play when we were children – but now it has much more dimension!

But first, breakfast.

Jala neti and Yoga

Kriya (in Sanskrit “action, deed, effort”) most commonly refers to a “completed action”, technique or practice within a yoga discipline meant to achieve a specific result. Types of kriya may vary widely between different schools of yoga. Another meaning of Kriya is the outward physical manifestations of awakened kundalini. Kriyas can also be the spontaneous movements resulting from the awakening of Kundalini energy.

 The Hatha Yoga Pradipika describes the six kriya cleansing techniques. These techniques should only be practiced under proper guidance especially for first timer:

In this article, Jala neti will be discussed in detail including the benefits and methods.Jala neti importance in yoga dates back to thousands of year.In order to benefit from yoga, it is imperative to breathe fully and deeply through the nose and this is especially needed in Pranayama. Pranayama is all about regulating and controlling the breath and sustaining the life force in us. It is responsible to bring about tremendous changes in our body and mind. Therefore, jala neti is important to ensure that our breath flow can be regulated. Through this cleansing, the pituitary gland will be stimulated which awakens the energy center behind the forehead called the Ajna Chakra.This Chakra must be sufficiently stimulated for higher states of meditation.In addition, Jala  neti also helps in relaxation with unobstructed and freely flowing breath.This helps to ensure an abundant supply of oxygen at the right temperature to stimulate relaxation.All these benefits sum up the importance of Jala neti in Yoga practice.
 Jala neti

For this technique, lukewarm isotonic salt water is poured into one nostril, so that it leaves through the other. The procedure is then repeated on the other side, and the nose is dried by bending forward and by rapid breathing.[2]It is also possible to sniff the water in so that it runs into the mouth, and to spit it out. In a more advanced reverse variant, the water is taken in through the mouth and snorted out of the nose.[2]

 
Benefits

  • Clears the nasal cavities and passageways
  • Regulate nose breathing
  • Flushes the tear ducts
  • Rejuvenate your sense of smell and taste
  • Stimulates the Ajna chakra
  • Stimulate relaxation nd beneficial in meditation
  • Moisten the dry nasal cavities and passageways
  • Reduce diseases like asthma and bronchitis and chronicsinusitis

Method: 
Tools:

  • Neti pot
  • Pure water

Venues:

  • over a sink,
  • a bowl on a table,
  • in the shower or
  • outside

Steps:

    1. First fill the Neti Potwith warm water of a temperature suitable for pouring in the nose. Neither too hot or cold.
    2. Pure water is best if available. Mix in salt to the proportion of one teaspoon for half a litre of water. This equates to 0.9% and is called isotonic solution – the same as human blood. Sea salt is best if available.
    3. Mix well so that the salt is diluted completely. You will find all this out with growing experience, it differs from person to person. Some like a higher saline solution, some even do it without salt. The tissue of the nose is very sensitive and reacts immediately if something is not right.
    4. Place the nose cone into the right nostril, sealing it inside the nostril with a few twists and slight pressure. Try to point the spout straight up in line with the nasal passage so as not to block off the tip of the nozzle on the inside of the nose.
    5. Open your mouth and breathe gently through the mouth. .
    6. Now slowly bend forward from the waist so that the tip of the nose is the lowest point of the head; and then tilt/roll the head to the right, so that the left nostril is now the lowest point of the nose. Tilt slowly so that water doesn’t run out the top of the pot onto your face.
    7. Keep the nose cone fully sealed into the right nostril so that it doesn’t leak. Keep on mouth breathing whiles the water comes through. Just wait a few seconds and the water should run out the left nostril.
    8. keep breathing slowly and gently through the mouth. After the water begins to run, wait about 30 seconds for about half a pot to flow right to left, and then remove the pot and stand up.
    9. Before changing sides, blow out gently through both nostrils to clear water and mucus from the nose.
    10. Repeat the steps as above, but with the nose cone entering the left nostril and the flow of water going left to right.
    11.  After the pot runs dry, stand up, blow out gently through both nostrils and then prepare to dry out the nose.
    12. Repeat the whole process if there is still a mucus blockage. However, it is recommended to see a doctor after a few trial as there might besome structural blockage in the nose.
    13. If further guidance is needed, do ask any yoga practitioner for help.

Finale stage:

  1. Nose drying is very important and always remember to do this.
  2. Bend forwards from the waist and hang head upside down with the nose pointing towards the floor. Point the nose towards the knees and let any residual water drain from the nose. Gently breath in the mouth and out for 10 breaths.
  3. Then stand up and do some fast breathing through the nostril for 10 breaths, sniffing in and out moderately. Close of the right nostril with one finger and do 10 fast sniffing through the left nostril only. Repeat this on the other side of the nostril.
  4. Lastly, do 10 fast sniffing breath through both nostrils together.
  5. If you feel there are still some residual water, repeat the whole drying process.
  6. Drying nose is very important so as to prevent manifestation of cold and also infection in the sinus passages/ eustachian tubes.

Alternative
Dugdha Neti – Neti with Milk

    1. This method is good for those suffering from chronic nose bleeds or are sensitive towards salty water.
    2. It is best done after using salty water

 Differences

    1. The flow of milk do not go from one side to another , it only fills the ingoing nostril and then withdrawn
    2. Once from each side is sufficient.
    3. This practice should be done under proper guidance and not done excessively.