Yoga Studies: The Bandhas, Day 4

by Angela Clark

What is Jalandahara Bandha (vishuddhi chakra)

Jalandahara bandha lies around the throat and is often times viewed as the top of the container.  Where moola bandha will prevent seepage of the Prana from going down, jalandahara bandha will prevent the seepage going up…and to our heads 🙂

In Pranayama (Gross Level – Physical)

•    This lock is created by drawing the chin down towards the chest, lifting the chest up towards the chin, and lifting the back of the skull and area right behind the ears up towards the ceiling.  This is done after an exhalation to keep the Prana in the body.  We have to remember to release this lock first before we inhale again otherwise the breath gets caught in the throat (and you make a funny sound and it does not feel good).

In Asana (Subtle – Physical)

•    Again, same actions with no retention of breath. Is done every time we bow our head down to set our intention or honor our practice.
•    Happens naturally in Sarvangasana (shoulder stand). This will slow down our breathing and can even move us into an ujjayi pranayama.  As a result some might find it difficult to be Sarvangasana for an extended period of time.
•    Energetic Function: Once well-practiced, calming to the nervous system.
•    Seals the top of the body locking the Prana in the container of the body.

Benefits

•    Jalandahara bandha lengthens the posterior side of the cervical and lumbar spine, creating a space along the spinal cord freeing up any impingement that might be occurring. It also has a subtle effect on the pituitary and pineal glands. The forward flexion of the neck directly stimulates the thyroid gland and lymph-nodes around the throat region helping to boost the immune system, having a direct effect on the parasympathetic nervous system.

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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