Energy flows throughout our body through nadis or channels, an intricate system that connects at the chakra points and has storage points called ‘bandhas’.
Bandha is a Sanskrit work for ‘lock’, and it is a place that you can store, retrieve and direct energy. There are three main bandhas in the body, the mula bandha, or ‘root’, the uddiyana bandha, or the ‘flying up’, and the jalandara bandha, or ‘net’. The uddiyana bandha is called ‘flying up’ because when engaged your chest cavity flares out at the bottom, like a bird beginning to open its wings, as your diaphragm and abdomen pull in and up. I recommend finding uddiyana bandha in a very intentional way before adding it to your asana or pranayama practice, to so this stand in mountain pose and hinge at your hips and bend forward keeping your back straight, stop when your chest is parallel to the floor.
Begin with an exhale, blowing all your air and pull your stomach in and up, as if your abdominal organs were pushing your stomach into your chest cavity, then holding this go ahead and inhale; this feeling is made more exaggerated by bending over because the musculature will actually pull up with gravity and you will create a ‘hallow’ right about the solar plexus; this is uddiyana bandha. Once you can mentally and physically connect with the feeling, it’s time to try it in a seated position. In this position you will become more aware of how your chest cavity opens and flares, or ‘flies up’, to allow uddiyana to be fully realized. Sometimes called ‘mock inhalation’, uddiyana bandha is the extreme sense of ‘sucking it in’…it just happens to be sucking it up and in at the same time. As you begin to practice, at it’s most subtle level uddiyana bandha slightly massages the internal muscles in your lower back and can help relieve stiffness and strain. As your seated and/or pranayama practice becomes more regular, you can enjoy many positive effects from uddiyana bandha, including relief from some stomach ailments and digestive issues, as well as increasing digestive and metabolic flow that can contribute to a detoxifying effect on the body, and it certainly is toning to the abdomen, no more crunches!
More advanced uses of uddiyana bandha when applied to asana practice include an anti-gravity effect of floating, making jumping higher, safer and more graceful and twisting more complete.
When practicing, engage uddiyana bandha immediately at the bottom of your exhale and always hold it for at least 5 seconds and slowly work yourself up to 15-20 seconds for 5-10 rounds with natural breathing in between rounds. Always take a savasana, seated or supine, when you are finished.
Shannon Sunde 425-444-9165 Be Humble for you are made of Earth. Be Noble for you are made of Stars. ~Serbian Proverb