I am here again with my ramblings on the eve of another Full Moon, the perfect time to evaluate current & past experiences & to set intentions for future.
In this post I want to share some yoga wisdom with you about the mysterious "Mula Bandha" -if you are new to yoga you may have never heard of it, if you practice regularly it may still be an alusive mystery, for me it has taken 13 years of practice - Pilates training, Hatha Yoga training, Pranayama training & most recently Kundalini training to fully undertand the magnitude & deepth of this technique.
Last October a new student requested that I teach him some basic Kundalini Yoga techniques to further his personal journey & connection to meditation & Kundalini. I had a bit of fundamental knowledge of this lineage of yoga & knew some general teachings of Yogi Bhajan (the man who brought Kundalini to the US), but in order for me to feel good about my teaching Kundalini Basics, I had to do some major exploration to do on my own. That in depth research has impacted me in some of the most profound ways, too many to discuss in 1 post, but it also reintroduced me to the Mula Bandha/Root Lock.
Mula Bandha, is a "posture" in which the body from the anus to the navel is contracted and lifted up & towards the spine. It is a technique used not only in asana/posture practice, but in pranayama/breathing & meditation as well. For me to describe the root lock, I like to think of it more in terms of energy rather than just physical practice. The Chakra System is the 7 energy centers running through the center of your body.This system of energy starts at the base of your spine (the root) & runs up your spinal column to your skull (the crown). By using the 3 Bandhas, you can control the flow of energy within you. The 3 Bandhas are the Mula, the Uddiyana & Jalandhara. Again, for this post we will just focus on the Mula.
To activate or engage Mula Bandha, we have to start at the root of the body, to find the root we locate it & then practice contracting & relaxing that area. The root lock is located at the base of your spine/at the pelvic floor. Anybody starting in this practice should begin with generalities & after practice can get more specific & define their practice. Mula Bandha can be hard to pin-point so its easiest to start with our concentration on the anal sphincter & all the muscles around that area. First, contract the anus, the perineum (the area between the anus & the genitals), the muscles in the pelvic floor & the lower abdomen to the navel & lift them all in & up. Contract & hold as if you were stopping the flow of urination & at the same time, draw your tailbone down. Also, try not to contract your larger buttocks muscles, but instead, engage your abdominal muscles. Not that easy, but work on it for a few days & you'll be surprised how much "connected" you can actually become with a little practice. Once you are able to contract & relax these muscles freely you can add in some deep pranayama/breathing & later add in some breath retention at the end of each inhalation & exhalation ... You may now be asking, "okay, but why am I doing this?"...
well, on the physical level, practicing the root lock creates support in the musculature of the pelvis. This increases the stability of the pelvis & since the pelvis is the seat of the spine, its stability creates a safe environment for spinal movement. Regular practice of root locks aligns your posture & fortifies your core muscles. Mula Bandha strengthens & teaches the importance of the foundation that should underlie any & all movement, whether on or off the mat. Mula Bandha also lifts and compresses the bowel and lower abdominal region, aiding in digestion & reproductive organ health, in men & women.
Spiritually speaking, Mula Bandha is said to help us break through our resistance to change, to allow us to be more energetically open. It is believed that when you are able to contain & control the life force inside you, you need not look for enjoyment or happiness elsewhere. You are able to recognize that all that you need, you already have within. Now, that sounds pretty good, right?!
I hope in the coming months to share more with you about my ever-expanding yogic journey (whether in person or in writing)...but until then, know that I am always sending love & light out & I hope you are able to catch a ray or two for yourselves!
Sat Nam xoxoJoanna