In the Yoga Sutras of Pantajali it states sthira-sukham asanam and is most commonly translated to “posture should be stable (sthira) and comfortable (sukha).” There are many factors that can make the body and mind stable and comfortable in our yoga postures but one that helps me greatly is using the bhandas, known as the energy locks of the body. With these locks we can accomplish the unexpected. They also help you regulate and control all your internal systems, hormonal, sexual, metabolic, digestive, and more.
Have you ever had a yoga instructor guide you to make the posture effortless, and hearing that the mind instantly says “impossible!”? You are not alone. A calm breath is a great place to start to find the effortless, but the bhandas will assist the breath to make this effortlessness a reality.
We have many bhandas in the body but the main two we will discuss are Mula bhanda, and Uddiyana bhanda. Activating these two bhandas during our asana practice will allow us to actively lift up the body, distributing weight evenly and help the muscles hug up into the midline of the body.
Let’s dive into where they are how to activate them…
Mula Bhanda, or root lock, is located between the sit bones. Sitting in a comfortable seat or standing in mountain pose take a breath in and start to pull up on the perineum, the space between the anus and the genitals. It is almost like you are lifting the sit bones towards each other. This bhanda stimulates the pelvic nerves, the genital system, the endocrine system, and the excretory system. It has also been shown to relieve constipation and depression.
On an exhale keeping Mula bhanda lifted, start to draw the navel toward the spinel. This activates uddiyana bhanda, or abdominal lock. This lock is the ultimate remedy for abdominal and stomach ailments, from constipation to indigestion. It stimulates your digestive juices, increasing your metabolism, and tones your overworked abdominal organs. It also balances the adrenal system, relieving stress, lethargy and tension.
These two bhandas are the start to creating a light, active body that will transform your yoga posture practice. From my personal experience I suggest to start with one or two postures today on your mat with one or both active, and maybe tomorrow it will be 3 or 4. Ultimately you will want mula bhanda active throughout your entire practice, but take this day by day. You will feel your ability to journey into the body deeper and with more sensations, while finding an effortless practice. With consistent practice we will find ease in folding over the self and start the journey into floating!!
Join me for a class at Inspired Change Yoga, and I would love to support you on your journey into the bhandas!