The Ultimate Goal of Yoga

One of the most common instructions you hear in yoga classes is the activation of Mula Bandha. But what is Mula Bandha and how to activate it?

Practicing yoga can have many benefits as it has a positive effect on balance, flexibility and a calmer mind.

Especially an exercise called Mula Bandha can even help strengthen your pelvic floor and improve bladder control.

Mula means root in Sankrita, while bandha means binding. Yoga masters claim that Mula Bandha should be active throughout the exercise, so it should become the routine of any yoga exercise.

What is Bandha?

Bandha is a Sanskrit term that is often translated as castle. It means collecting and channeling life energy at certain points within the body.

With the help of bandha, the flame of the inner fire (agni) is brought exactly where the impurity (apana) is concentrated, so that the fire has a better effect.

Bandha intensifies the process of cleansing the body of impurities.

By practicing bandhas, psychic nodes are released that prevent the free flow of life energy through the Sushumna Nadi – energy channel.

In this way, spiritual power is released. So you can say that bandhas are the door through which energy flows into the body.

The masters of yoga gave bandhas a significant place alongside asanas, pranayama, kriya and meditation.

Bandhas can first be performed independently, during practice and perfection, and then with asanas, pranayama and mudras.

When bandhas are run with asanas, the stability of the position is improved.

When bandhas are performed with pranayama, energy dissipation is prevented and this energy is directed to the desired places of the body.

When bandhas are performed with mudras, subtle changes occur in the course of life energy (prana) in the body.

Regular performance of bandhas has a rejuvenating effect. Muscle contraction has a profound effect on the nervous, respiratory, hormonal and energy systems.

There are three main bandhas that are important for pranayama:

1. Jalandhara Bandha,
2. Uddiyana Bandha
3. Mula Bandha.

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Jalandhara Bandha

The first to be perfected is the Jalandhara Bandha. Jala means net, grid or trap.

In Jalandhara bandhas, the neck and throat are contracted and the chin is placed in the space between the collarbone and sternum.

Jalandhara-Bandha is perfected by performing Sarvangasana (shoulder stand), because there the chin is pressed against the sternum.

It regulates the flow of blood and life energy to the heart, to the glands in the neck and head, and to the brain.

If Pranayama is practiced without Jalandhara Bandha, the pressure is immediately felt in the area of the heart, the eyeballs, the ear cavity and dizziness occurs.

Jalandhara Bandha is necessary in all three processes of pranayama called puraka (inhalation), rechaka (exhalation) and kumbhaka (breath holding).

By pressing the chin, the trachea is closed and compressed to various organs, including the sinus receptors located in the throat.

Receptors are sensitive to pressure and therefore the compression they receive during the Jalandhara bandha slows down the heart and brings peace to the mind.

By practicing jalandhara bandha, the thyroid and parathyroid glands are massaged and their function is improved.

Uddiyana Bandha

Uddiyana means lift, fly. In uddiyana bandha, the diaphragm protrudes into the chest and the abdominal organs cling to the spine.

It is said that Uddiyana Bandha is the best of all bandhas and the person who practices it becomes young again.

It should only be performed during Bahya Kumbhaka (pausing of breath after exhalation), during the interval between complete exhalation and re-inhalation when breathing is paused.

Uddiyana Bandhu should not be performed during Antara Kumbhaka.

This is the period of time between complete inhalation and the beginning of exhalation when breathing is suspended, otherwise there will be pressure on the heart and diaphragm, as well as swelling of the eyes.

It is an Allheilmeans for all stomach and abdominal complaints: constipation, indigestion, worms, diabetes.

The digestive fire is stimulated, which has a positive effect on all healthier abdominal organs. Liver, pancreas, kidneys, spleen, heart muscle are massaged, the solar plexus chakra is stimulated.

People with heart problems, stomach or duodenal ulcers, as well as pregnant women should not practice Uddiyana Bandhu.

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Mula Bandha

Mula means root, source or cause.

Mula Bandha is the area between the anus and testicles in men – the perineum, while in women it is the area around the cervix.

Mula Bandha should be practiced first in Antara Kumbhaki (holding your breath after inhalation) and then after exhaling.

In Mula Bandha, the area of the lower abdomen between the anus and navel is contracted, pulled to the spine and raised to the diaphragm.

By contracting this area, the apana vayu (prana in the lower abdomen), which usually moves downwards, rises and unites with prana vayu, the center of which is in the chest.

It serves to stop your descending energy – apana moving downwards – and redirect it towards the abdomen.

Mula Bandha is used in asanas to control energy and achieve stability.

Practicing the contractions of the sphincter (Ashwini Mudra) helps to perfect the mula bandha.

Mula Bandha first stimulates the root chakra, and when the technique is perfected, its effect proves to be much more effective than physical muscle contraction.

It is important to understand that Mula Bandha is primarily an energetic and mental (rather than physical) process.

Mula Bandha also symbolizes the ultimate goal of yoga, to find and experience the source (mula) of all creation.

When should Mula Bandha be practiced?

This exercise should be practiced when our first chakra is blocked.

The first chakra is called muladhara or root chakra and is located at the very bottom or at the root of our spine in the area of the coccyx.

Through the root chakra, we actually connect strongly with our physical body. It controls our skeleton and immune system and affects digestion.

When we feel lost, indecisive, and have existential fears, it’s a sign that our root chakra is blocked.

Other signs of a blockage of this chakra include a constant feeling of fatigue, a feeling of not belonging anywhere, intolerance, hatred, greed and impatience.

In these cases, we need to start practicing Mula Bandha to open the root chakra.

Practicing Mula Bandha

You are certainly already practicing Mula Bandha, although you are not even aware of it.

For example, every time you have the urge to urinate and can’t go anywhere, press the mula bandha muscle.

Sit with your back straight in any pose that is comfortable for you. Breathe in and hold your breath.

Tense the muscles of the anus and keep them tight while holding your breath.  Then relax your pelvic floor muscles, breathe in briefly and exhale gently.

There are special modifications of the women’s and men’s exercises.

Wait for breathing to recover before starting a new cycle. Do not strain your muscles too much and do not rush – your task is not sporty, but energetic.

It’s better to do one or two cycles well than to choke and get tired or try to complete ten. Maintain inner peace by practicing Mula Bandha.

Dedicate 10-15 minutes to this exercise daily, and the root chakra will reveal your earthly potential and bring harmony of energy and physical recovery.

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Effects of Mula Bandha

Advantages

The soul is inextricably linked to the body and participates in its processes, so Mula Bandha has many purposes physically and emotionally:

1. stimulation of blood circulation and metabolism in the pelvic and digestive organs of the pituitary gland and adrenal glands,

2. Slowing heart rate and reducing stress;

3. improvement of the reproductive system;

4. Reduction of discomfort during menstruation in women;

5. Normalization of the central nervous system and a harmonious emotional background, relief of depression and anxiety;

6. Acceleration and revitalization of the brain, creative shifts.

Contraindications

Do not do mula bandha if you are at the peak of a disease, have a high body temperature, high blood pressure and dizziness.

Women are strictly forbidden to perform Mula Bandha alone during menstruation, after pregnancy, with bleeding and gynecological diseases with unknown diagnosis, especially with tumors of different etiologies.

During pregnancy, the technique can only be performed with a professional teacher.

In infectious diseases, Mula Bandha does not work, this technique, like yoga in general, is only applicable to functional disorders.

With inflammatory processes, Mula Bandha can be used only after its elimination in a stable state of remission.

In such phases, the energies of the body do not move in the same way as in a healthy state, and the Mula Bandha can increase disharmony instead of healing body and mind.

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