The concept of bandha in yoga is one of the parts of pranayama techniques. The bandha is a term where the body segment is locked, restricted, or tightened in some manner. There are three bandhas in yoga- Mula bandha, Uddiyana bandha, and Jalandhara bandha. We have already discussed in detail the Mula and Jalandhara bandha. Here, we will be discussing the Uddiyana bandha or the upward abdominal lock. The Uddiyana bandha is the second out of the three interior locks used in pranayama to control the body’s flow and is one of the most potent bandhas. It derives its name from the Sanskrit word Uddiyana meaning flying and asana meaning pose. All the three bandhas lock or tighten some specific part of the body. The Uddiyana bandha locks the abdomen and draws the belly in and out. In hatha yoga, it is mentioned that a person who is old can become young if they practice Uddiyana bandha regularly. Uddiyana bandha tightens, tones, and cleanses the abdominal muscles. It should be done on an empty stomach and should be done only during exhalation and not inhalation. It should be practiced and included in the yoga regime to provide you with immense benefits.
How to do Uddiyana bandha?
The abdominal lock should be done under proper guidance and instructions. The steps should be carefully followed to reap the benefits of the bandha. Let’s discuss the steps involved in doing the Uddiyana bandha.
- Start by standing on your feet a little apart and eyes open. Round your torso forward with knees bent and hands resting on the knees.
- Now, inhale through your nose and exhale quickly through your nose. Shrink your abdominal muscles to push air out of the lungs. After this, relax your abdomen for a while.
- Then expand your rib cage without inhaling, and as the rib cage expands gently, lift the abdomen or navel towards the spine. Then come to Jalandhara bandha posture as it is preferred that it be performed along with the Uddiyana bandha.
- Then, try to hold the posture for 5 to 15 seconds. Gradually release your abdominal grip and relax.
- This can be practiced for about 3 to ten rounds. But it depends on your capacity entirely.
Benefits of Uddiyana Bandha
The Uddiyana bandha has a host of benefits and should be practiced regularly. It should be practiced at the beginning of the asanas to activate the energy present in the belly. Let’s discuss some of the benefits of the Uddiyana bandha.
- It improves the blood circulation in the abdomen and pushes blood into the brain.
- It provides strength and flexibility to the abdominal muscles and diagraphm.
- It stimulates the digestive system and removes all the toxins from the body.
- It eliminates and purifies the digestive tract and helps in easy bowel movement.
- It tones and massages the viscera, the solar plexus, and the heart and lungs.
- In the Ayurvedic context, it activates the lower belly energy known as the Apana Vayu. It unites with the other two bandhas’ energies and leads to the overall growth of the body.
- It relaxes and calms the mind.