The recent article on Mula bandha goes into more depth on what the bandhas are.
In a brief review, the bandhas are energetic locks in the body. They are utilized to gain control of the flow of energy, prana, or life force, in your body. Understanding and engaging the bandhas creates an added depth to your yoga practice.
What is Uddiyana bandha? The second bandha is Uddiyana bandha. Uddiyana bandha engages the diaphragm and inner organs. It is also beneficial for digestion and detoxification and strengthening and toning the abdominals. This bandha also creates an upward pull of energy, similar to Mula bandha, but with a little more intensity.
How to engage Uddiyana bandha: This bandha can be easier to first explore and experience standing up rather than sitting down. Stand up with your feet hip-width apart, and lean forwards slightly with your hands on your thighs above your knees. Take a full and complete exhale out, and before inhaling pull the area just below your navel in towards your spine and up towards your chest. It’s like you’re sucking your belly both in and up like a suction. This hollowing out of your belly will make your ribs protrude over your stomach and continue to create a lifting energy.
When first exploring this bandha it is okay to feel it intensely, and there are some practices that incorporate this bandha with intensity and breath retention. However, when adding Uddiyana bandha into your yoga poses, similar to Mula bandha, a subtle and light engagement is all you need to get the benefits and ideal flow of prana in your body. Less is more here.
Once you’ve got a feel for Uddiyana bandha, you can practice engaging with, while also engaging Mula bandha.
Here are three very different postures that are optimal to practice engaging and feeling Uddiyana bandha in:
Downward Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
This class goes into more detail to understand this banda and energetic lock in your body.
Uddiyana Bandha: Abdominals & the Enteric Brain with Bhavani Maki
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