Exercising control and wielding hierarchies of power is the way of this world. But did you know that you can achieve the same mastery of control over your own self? Yoga the eternal practice of mind-body wholeness constitutes a practice called Bandhas which aims to control, lock and direct the energy.

Just like the combination locks you use to keep contents of your travel bag safe and secure, your body has also locks which can be closed-off and turned on. These bandhas are engaged to gain control and lock the energy – Prana or life force. Once locked, it can be channeled to other parts of your body. Learn all about how you can direct energy and vital force to your body parts by Yoga Bandhas and their benefits:


The  First Yoga Bandhas – Mula Bandha – The Root Lock

Aimed towards activating the root energies, this bandha exercises your pelvic floor muscles. It is connected with the Muladhara Chakra and it seals the energy from the Earth, making it flow upwards throughout the body.

For men, it is the area between the anus and genitals and for women, it is the cervix or opening of the uterus. To practice, this bandha sit comfortably in an erect position. First look at the tip of the nose to feel the sensation of the Mula, then focus on the pelvic muscle and contract it. Slowly start to pull upwards. Hold for few breaths and then release slowly from the top down. Repeat 5-10 times.

Benefits of Mula Bandha 

  • It gives you strength and stamina
  • It awakens your consciousnesses and kundalini energy
  • Stimulates the digestion and endocrine system
  • Strengthens your pelvic floor and gives relief in hemorrhoids
  • Alleviate sexual disorders, enlarged prostate, and constipation
  • Helps with concentration

Contra-Indications – If you are pregnant or menstruating, it’s best to avoid this


The Second Yoga Bandhas – Uddiyana Bandha – The Abdominal Lock

Uddiyana means to fly or rise up and you are just about doing that with your diaphragm in this bandha. It channelizes the subtle energy upwards within the body and creates a massage effect for the internal organs. It is deeply connected with the element of air and the heart chakra.

To perform this bandha you can be seated or stand. For beginners, it’s best to stand with your feet apart (Shoulder’s distance) with a straight back and place your hands on knees. With a false inhale or action of taking a breath without actually taking air in, pull your abdominal muscles in and up under the rib cage. It should be such that your stomach and back seem to be close to each other from the inside and your waist is getting smaller. Hold on this pose for as long as you can and gently release inhaling through your nose and straighten up.

Benefits of Uddiyana Bandhas 

  • It stimulates, lifts and retains the Prana
  • Improves the function of adrenal glands
  • Promotes circulation and improves digestion
  • Works out the abdominal muscles and improves lung capacity

Contra-Indications – This is best done on an empty stomach and with fully exhaled lungs. Avoid if you have an ulcer, hernia and if you are pregnant or menstruating

The Third Yoga Bandhas- Jalandara Bandha – The Neck or Chin Lock


This bandha is a must-try to promote your wellbeing and also helps to battle physical disorders with ease. It activates the Vishuddhi Chakra. It helps to cleanse the body, remove toxins and channelize energy around the neck muscles.

To practice, this bandha be seated in a cross-legged position with the palms facing down on the top of the knees. Sit erectly in a relaxed position, close your eyes and breathe slowly. Take a slow deep inhale, hold it and drop the chin to the chest so that your neck is locked in. Your shoulders should roll slightly forward. Hold for as long as possible and release gently by bringing the chin up first. Slowly take a breath in through the nose and then take few slow deep breaths in and out. Allow your breath to be normal and repeat 3-4 times.

Benefits of Jalandhara Bandha

  • This posture improves the health of your spinal cord
  • It also improves the thyroid and metabolism function
  • It will also help you get rid of double chin
  • Vishuddi Chakra is a very important region of your body according to wisdom and this bandha stimulates the chakra making you feel more healthy
  • This bandha is especially helpful for singers or speakers to facilitate blood flow to the vocal cord
  • Cures throat diseases and improves blood circulation and respiratory function


Contra-Indications – People who suffer from thyroid problems, spondylitis, high blood pressure, and heart diseases should not try this bandha

Maha Bandha –  The Great Lock

This bandha is a mixture of all the above 3 bandhas. Once you master the individual bandhas, you can combine them and channelize the pranic energy.

Health Benefits of Maha Bandha

  • It gives the combined benefits of all the three bandhas
  • Activates the three chakras –  Mooladhara Chakra, Manipuraka Chakra, and Vishuddhi Chakra
  • It rejuvenates at the cellular level and hence helps against the anti-aging process
  • Soothing effect on mind and body with a greater sense of peace
  • Both the Gheranda Samhita and Hatha Yoga Pradeepika describes Maha Bandha as the conqueror of old age and death
  • It pulls the pranic energy upwards and awakens the Kundalini energy

Contra-Indications – All the contra-indications mentioned for the three bandhas apply to Maha Bandha

The bandhas are an effective way to perfect your Yoga and regulate all the internal systems in such a way that you achieve a perfect harmony between your mind and body. Maximize and direct your energy in the right way by incorporating bandhas in your Yoga practice.

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