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.

UDDIYANA BANDHA

By Ly Nguyen 200hr Weekday May’ 2014

 

Before comming to “200 hrs Yoga Teacher Training”, I really don’t know how breathing is important of  in our life ? Then I have studied about Uddiyana Bandha which is one of breating I like the best. do you know why ?

– It stimulate the function of pancreas and liver. Strengthen the internal organs

– To stimulate digestive system.

– The abdominal organs are massaged and toned.

– To improve blood circulation.

– To stimulate Manipura Chakra.

How to practice Uddiyana Bandha ?

–         Stand with the feet about half a meter apart. Keep the spine horizontal and bend the knees slightly.

–         Place the palms of the hands on the tighs so the knees can support the upper body, arms are straight.

–         Bend the head forward, expanding the chest.

–         Inhale deeply through nostrils. Bend forward from the waist and exhale all the air out through the mouth.

–         Hold this position as long as possible.

–         Release the abdominal lock. Relax the chest. Raise the head and torso to the upright position.

How many times to practice ?

In the beginning, to practice 3 rounds and slowly increase to 10 rounds after few months.

Practice note : Uddiyana Bandha must be practised on an empty stomach .

Anatomy: Uddiyana Bandha

Uddiyhana Bhandha
Uddiyhana Bhandha Source: zenfriend.org

The idea of performing Uddiyana Bandha or even watching someone else perform it may be fairly repulsive for many people.

Even for yoga beginners like myself, my first encounter with a live demonstration was nothing short of digust. I thought it’d be more befitting for a contortionist in training, rather than a yogini in training.
Nonethless, I gradually realized the beauty and wonders of Uddiyana Bandha and have since started to perform this “contortic” act every single morning.
As a frequent sufferer of constipation and ill digestion, I was never one of those lucky ones who always strutted out of the bathroom with a great sense of relief, looking like they’ve had a great burden lifted off their shoulders. Which is why I am so happy to share my testimonial of how performing Uddiyana Bandha have made all these ailments, a thing of the past. And of course, how it strengthened other areas of my physical body.
Uddiyana bandha tones, massages and cleans the abdominal and digestive organs. Imagine the internal action of sucking up all your internal organs into your ribcage and releasing it back down. Imagine your intestines compressing up and rearranging itself back to its natural state on the release. These movements subsequently lead to healthy movements along the digestive tract and will also help provide emotional and mental benefits. Long gone are the days where all you think about is when your body will let you take your next dump.
In addition, Uddiyana bandha stimulates blood circulation in the abdomen and blood flow to the heart and brain, returning freshly oxygenated blood to each organ and breathing new life into it. Very often understated, the brain needs blood flow in order to get an excellent supply of oxygen.. Your brain’s energy, as well as the energy in the rest of your body, is made by energy powerhouses called mitochondria that are found in each cell. Oxygen enables mitochondria in your brain cells to pump out an energy chemical, adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Without adequate levels of ATP, your brain has an energy drain and its function decreases.
Whilst perfoming this, the pancreas is also being massaged and toned. A better working pancreas will result in healthy regulations of pancreatic juice being secreted. Enzymes in this juice mixes with bile from the liver to make the digestive process possible. If the pancreas is not functioning properly, the pancreatic enzymes’ benefits cannot be realized.
This video further elaborates the overall function of the pancreas.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1l2GTGEwZOY]
Other than massaging the pancreas, the solar plexus will also be massaged.  The solar plexus is a complex network of nerves (a plexus) located in the abdomen, where the celiac trunksuperior mesenteric artery, and renal arteries branch from the abdominal aorta. It is also referred to as the pit of the stomach. A blow to that area such as a kick or jab from a baton will not only cause great pain, but could also potentially damage internal organs or rupture the abdominal aorta, which would be fatal. Through it extensive reach, it controls many vital functions such as adrenal secretion and intestinal contractions.
Take a look at this video and witness the effect of when a Karate guy takes a great shot at someone else’s solar plexus.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MciLrVWcP8w&w=420&h=315]
Uddiyana bandha also helps to tone the diaphragm. Having a strong diaphragm is not only important for opera singers, but also crucial to everyone because it plays a major role in our breathing. It is a vital component of a strong and efficient core, which will help protect your spine and prevent backaches.
The video below provides a 3D view of the diaphragm during respiration. From there, it is easy to see how Uddiyana Bandha will help tone this muscle of the body.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp-gCvW8PRY&w=420&h=315]
Yes I know. You’re excited to try the Uddiyana Bandha right? But before that, please take note of the many precautions.

  1. For females, do not perform this during your moon cycle. (You don’t want blood flowing the wrong way, eh?)
  2. For females again, do not perform this if you are pregnant.
  3. Only perform this on an empty stomach. If not, perform it at your own risk.
  4. This is an extremely intense breathing exercise. Therefore, do not perform if you have diseases such as high blood pressure, pancreatic problems, hernia or any other medical conditions. Please consult medical professional if you are unsure.

For guided instructions on how to perfrom Uddiyhana Bandha, take a good look at this video.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2R0dkzkbzE&w=420&h=315]
Learn, try, practice and be on your way to bowel-free intestines and a powerful digestive system! Good luck!
Liz