Definition of Uddiyana bandha
In yoga, Uddiyana bandha is both a type of pranayama , breathing technique as it is one of the three key yogic energy locks.
Uddiyana is the second of the three internal locks - it is the abdominal lock. This lock is used to control the flow of breath and energy in the body while practicing yoga.
How to practice Uddiyana bandha
- Sit in a comfortable cross-legged position or in virasana, hero's pose (knees bent sitting on top of calves and heels.) You can also stand to practice this pranayama. If you are standing, bend the knees slighty and put your hands on your knees to help straighten your spine and gain lift out of the core.
- Place both hands on the knees, using the support of your hands to gain lift out of the spine and core.
- Take a big inhale in and exhale all the air out.
- Then holding the breath, take a false inhale - so perform the same action of an inhale without actually pulling any air into the body. This means pulling the abdomen in and up under the rib cage.
- Hold the contracted and lifted abdomen in place for an immobile and empty pause, and then release. It is beneficial to lengthen the pause of the engaged bandha with practice.
- To release soften the abdomen and inhale slowly and with ease.
Benefits of Uddiyana
- This breathing practice can be strenuous and energizing.
- It tones, cleanses and massages the internal digestive organs- leading to healthier digestion.
- In yoga, engaging this bandha increases the power of the core. Thus, it becomes easier to hold many postures such as balancing postures like Ardha chandrasana- balancing half-moon and arm balances like bakasana- crow pose.
Uddiyana and other bandhas
- When engaging uddiyana bandha it is often engaged with mula bandha, the root lock. You will notice that the drawing up of the pelvic floor (mula bandha) naturally leads to the drawing in and up of the abdomen. This is the way these two locks work together and leads to power, strength and focus in many yoga postures.
- It is also common to engage Jalandhara bandha when engaging Uddiyana.
Note: Pranayama practices are powerful, and can cause dizziness and a sense of a short-breath. It is important to ease new students slowly into practicing breathing exercises. With practice, side effects such as dizziness subside. If a student has any health problems (especially high blood pressure), they should check with their medical doctor before practicing this intense breathwork in yoga.
Do NOT practice uddiyana bandha if you are pregnant.
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