Maha Bandha


Yoga Journal - - Practice Well -

Draw your feet in and bring your legs into a com­fort­able cross-legged po­si­tion. Gen­tly ex­hale, and re­lease the cir­cum­fer­ence of your pelvic floor. Next time you breathe in, take a deep, full breath from your pelvic floor—all the way up into your chest. As you ex­hale, place your palms on your knees and fold for­ward. Ex­pel all the air in your lungs through your mouth with your tongue stick­ing out. With­out in­hal­ing, come back up­right, press­ing your hands into your knees and straight­en­ing your arms. While hold­ing the out­ward re­ten­tion of your breath, re­lease the cir­cum­fer­ence of your pelvic floor again. With a mock or pre­tend in­hala­tion (the body phys­i­cally in­hales with­out ac­tu­ally tak­ing air in), feel en­ergy be­ing drawn up through your pelvic floor (Mula), all the way up and hol­low­ing out your stom­ach un­der your ribs (this is the tra­di­tional Ud­diyana ap­plied dur­ing pranayama). Feel your chest ris­ing to your chin. Lift from the top of your head, length­en­ing the back of your neck. Then, gen­tly move your chin down to­ward your chest (Ja­land­hara Bandha), di­rect­ing en­ergy down to­ward your navel. When you feel you need to breathe in again, first let go of Ja­land­hara by lift­ing your chin, and then let go of Ud­diyana by re­leas­ing your belly. In­hale, and re­lease Mula. Re­peat all steps 1–3 times. Af­ter prac­tic­ing these poses, rest in Savasana (Corpse Pose) for at least 5 min­utes. Ob­serve any shifts in the flow and qual­ity of your body’s en­ergy.

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