Bandhas is a term that is used for body locks in Hatha yoga. Bandhas are defined as locking or close-off and or to stop. This means that the energy flow to a specific area of your body is blocked. When the Bandhas are then released, it causes the energy to flood more strongly through the body with an increased pressures.
The benefits of Bandhas are that due to the stop of blood flow, there is an increase in the flow of fresh blood when the Bandha is released, which ultimately flushes away any old, dead cells. This helps strengthen the organs, renew them and rejuvenate the circulation of blood. Bandhas also benefit the brain. The Nadi and the Chakra centers of the brain. Bandhas purify the energy levels, they release any blockages and increase efficient energy exchange, which results in less stress and also bring about inner harmony and balance.
There are four types of Bandhas:
- Mula Bandha which is also known as the anal lock is a meditation position in which one concentrates on the Muladhara Chakra and firmly contracts the anal muscles. The benefits of this Bandhas are that it strengthens your pelvic core, relieves hemorrhoids and congestion in your pelvic area. The Mula Bandha also calms the autonomic nervous system, and calms and relaxes the mind. Spiritually is activates and purifies the Muladhara Chakra and it also awaken doormat consciousness and the Kundalini Shakti.
- Uddiyana Bandha is a meditation pose or standing pose in which one completely exhales and holds the breath out. During this meditation one must concentrate on the Manipura Chakra, pull the abdominal muscles in and up into your abdominal cavity. This activates the Manipura Chakra and solar plexus which ultimately stimulates intestinal activity and assists in alleviating any constipation. It also acts as a stimulant to the pancreas and assists with diabetes. Uddiyana Banda can also help with strengthening one’s immune system and balancing the mind whilst soothing any irritation, anger and depression.
- Jalandhara Bandha is a meditation pose in which one exhales deeply and holds ones breathe. It focuses on the Vishuddhi Chakra and aims to hold ones breathe for as long as possible. This Bandhas awakens the inner energy centers particularly the Vishuddhi Chakra and it improves the ability to hold one’s breathe for long periods of time and also develops the ability to concentrate. It benefits throat diseases and can also regulate thyroid functions.
- Maha Bandha is a meditation pose in which you exhale completely and hold your breathe. It focuses on more than one Chakra, it combines all three Bandhas beginning with the Jalandhara Bandha and ending with the Mula Bandha. Performing the Jalandhara Banda and concentrating on the Vishuddhi Chakra, then the Uddiyana whilst concentrating on the Manipura Chakra and finally the Mula Bandha whilst focusing on the Muladhara Chakra. This benefits the health of the whole body particularly the autonomic nervous system, the internal organs, the muscles and the nerves. It also has a positive influence on the mind.