Yoga Studies: The Bandhas, Day 3

by Angela Clark

What is Uddiyana Bandha (manipura chakra)?

Uddiyana bandha is often times referred to during arm balancing postures. It lies around the solar plexus of the body and during pranayama (breathing) practices acts like a pump or valve for moving the Prana (life force/ air) around.  You can’t really engage uddiyana bandha without moola bandha.  The two engaged simultaneously help create a container for the Prana to be drawn in.  This allows you to do poses like Bakasana (crow).

In Pranayama Practice (Gross Level – Physical)

•    Done after an exhalation, the diaphragm is drawn up to it’s actual “resting point” under the heart. Using the muscles of the abdominal wall, the practitioner draws the organs of the body up hollowing out the lower abdomen.

In Asana Practice (Subtle – Physical)

•    A similar action as above but there is no retention of the breath. By lifting the inner knees we can connect to the drawing up of the solar plexus.  We engage the actions of uddiayana bandha every time we do down dog,  jump in the practice, balance on our hands and more subtly in forward bending.

•    The moving of the organs into the rib “basket” happens naturally every time we are upside down. We have to remember to engage the lower abdomen to prevent the lumbar spine from collapsing in.

•    Energetic Function: Uplifting

•    Increases Pranic pressure by stimulating the solar plexus filling and expanding the closed container.

Benefits

•    Compresses the digestive organs, helping to aid the process of elimination of toxins in the intestinal tract. Compresses the adrenals, kidneys, and solar plexus, directly “toning” the sympathetic nervous system (fight, flight, or collapse).  Allows us to gain some control over the response our bodies have to stress.

Have you ever been in a yoga class and had a question about a pose or something the teacher said but couldn’t find the right opening to ask the question? Or perhaps you were so “blissed-out” after the class, you completely forgot you had a question at all. Maybe you are a ‘yoga-geek,’ like us, and want to absorb any and all information about the practice of modern yoga.  If any of those sound familiar, then this column is for you. Each time we introduce part of the yoga practice and spend the week looking at it, dissecting it, and then connecting the dots. Feel free to ask any and all questions in the comments section about the topic of the week.

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About The Mala Yoga Blog

We are a Brooklyn-based studio that focuses on alignment, balance and community. Have a read, try one of our Practice Podcasts, or come in and say "hi" in person!
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