The bandhas are energetic locks in the body that help control of the flow of energy, prana, or life force, in your body. Engaging the bandhas creates more depth and richness in your yoga practice. They can help you get into postures more deeply, and in a safer way, as well as improve the function of energy throughout your entire body.
Jalandhara bandha – the throat lock
Jalandhara Bandha is the lock, or hold, that controls the flow of energy in the neck, throat, and chin. Jalandhara is the locking of the energy flow through the nerves and vessels of the neck area. When engaged with Khecari mudra (curling the tip of your tongue back to the roof of your mouth), its benefits are further amplified. This energetic lock helps fine-tune the flow of prana to the heart, neck, and head. It also helps keep the brain calm and helps balance the thyroid.
How to engage Jalandhara bandha:
Find a comfortable seat. As you breathe in, energetically lift up the crown of the head and the roof of the mouth. Retain the breath and lower your chin to your sternum and also lift your sternum to your chin. Hollow the front of the throat by lengthening the back of your neck and also relaxing your shoulders. Continue to feel the roof of your mouth and crown of your head lift upwards.
Similar to the other two bandhas (Mula bandha and Uddiyana bandha), explore this one gently to begin and don’t over effort. There is also an energy of lifting upward (through the top of the head and base of the throat) in this bandha, even as the throat constricts.
While this bandha can be engaged in most postures, there are postures that contradict this constriction of the throat. Think of postures like Camel or Wheel pose where the throat is opening. Even in these postures, you can find a hint of Jalandhara bandha, even while seemingly doing the opposite in the asana. Even as your throat opens in such postures, explore energetically drawing the base of the throat in and up, and towards the roof of the mouth to keep the energetic lock and length through the top of the head.
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