The Bandhas: Your Complete Guide to Energy Blockages |

Bandhas is a Sanskrit word meaning “block” or “bind”. The process of holding a bandage involves the contraction or compression of the muscles, to allow vital energy to flow to certain parts of the body.

They are an important element of asana practice, performed in order to regulate the flow of prana (vital energy) in the body.

Bandhas promote the upward movement of energy and relax organs and muscles that are continually pulled down by gravity.

Sticking any or all of the bandhas leads to the effect of massaging the muscles and purifying the internal organs.

Increased fresh blood flow to these areas and unlocking energy.

Often learned during kriya and pranayama practices, bandhas once mastered can help you through asana practices and give lightness to the body.

Read: Bandhas Beginners Guide – Yoga International

There are four main bands:

1) Mula bandha (root lock) – located in the perineum (area between the anus and genitals)

2) Uddiyana bandha (upward flight lock) – located in the abdomen

3) Jalandhara bandha (throat block) – located in the throat

4) Maha bandha – is a combination of the three bands above

Read: Know your chakras

A brief look at each bandha will give you a basic understanding.

1. Mula Bandha

Mula Bandha can be performed after both inhalation and exhalation. It involves deliberate contraction and lifting of the perineal area and the lower abdomen (between the anus and the navel), thus stretching the spine back and lifting the diaphragm. As you contract, you direct your energy and breathing up into your navel.

This gives you lightness and instant lift; allowing you to float through your asana practice without getting tired.

In a more physiological sense, Mula Bandha stimulates the pelvic nerves, genital system, endocrine system and excretory system.

It also helps relieve constipation and depression.

2. Uddiyana Bandha

Uddiyana Bandha is the muscle contraction four inches below the navel. This bandha is activated during the retention of external respiration (Bahya Kumbhaka). It’s almost as if your navel is up and towards your spine.

This helps to bring your breath up to your rib cage, above the navel. As you breathe, you keep your belly still and instead it expands and contracts through your chest. It gives you basic strength and stability.

It should only be performed between complete exhalation and re-inhalation. Sticking these muscles helps to generate an internal fire, which warms the whole body, making the muscles more flexible.

Uddiyana Bandha creates a gentle massage for the deeper internal muscles of the lower back. Uddiyana Bandha is the answer to abdominal and stomach ailments, from constipation to indigestion.

Stimulates digestive juices; increases metabolism and tones the abdominal organs. It also balances the adrenal system, relieving stress, lethargy and tension.

3. Jalandhara Bandha

Jala means a net or a mesh. Like Mula Bandha, it can be performed after both inhalation and exhalation. It involves the contraction where you drop your chin towards your chest.

This is supposed to prevent energy from escaping from the upper body. This bandha can be adjusted in certain positions. Ex: Sarvangasana

It cleanses the nasal passage and regulates the flow of blood and prana to the heart, head and endocrine glands. Jalandhara Bandha relaxes the brain and keeps stress and anger at bay.

Unlike the first two, Jalandhara Bandha is usually performed in combination with specific breathing practices and is rarely done on its own.

Supports the regulation of the circulatory and respiratory systems. Pressure on the throat helps balance the thyroid and metabolism.

4. Maha Bandha

It is the combination of all three previous bands; so when you practice all 3 bandhas together it is Maha Bandha.

With the Uddiyana Bandha; Maha Bandha is only dedicated to Bahya Kumbhka (holding your breath). For starters, sit in a cross-legged position, place your palms on your knees, and take a few conscious, steady breaths.

Inhale and exhale completely through the nose. Without inhaling, he hooks up with Mula Bandha and then finds Uddiyana Bandha. Inhale a little and lift your chest, and from there stick Jalandhara Bandha.

Hold, pressing your palms down, for as long as possible. When you have had enough, lift your head, inhale completely and release all the bandhas.

Another way to access Maha Bandha is during the practice of Vyaghra Shwasa (Cat and cow).

Maha Bandha gives the benefits of the three bandhas and regulates the whole endocrine system.

It activates the chakras of the throat, the solar plexus and the root; promote a sense of balance and mental clarity.


In conclusion to this topic, I encourage you to intentionally apply and experience each bandha during pranayama and kriya. Finally, start by applying Bandhas to your asana practice and see where it evolves from here.

In the next blocks, we will soon talk about two other Bandhas: Pada Bandha (Foot Lock) and Hasta Bandha (Hand Lock), which provide immense stability to the legs and upper body.

Look good!

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