The literal meaning of bandha is 'binding' in Sanskrit. This practice is generally used in hatha yoga system. Bandha has been described as an important characteristic of hatha yoga in the yogic scriptures. The basic objective of practicing bandha is to prevent the energy of our body from escaping the body. Bandha is performed with the help of certain specified asanas, which creates pressure and strain in the specific muscles of the body.
There are three important types of bandha, which has been discussed, in the ancient scripts. These are: Jalandhar Bandh, Uddiyan Bandh and Mul Bandh. They can be practiced together or individually. However, when practiced together they are called tri-bandhas.
Mul means 'root' and bandh means 'lock'. So, this is also called root lock in
English. Mul bandha helps in keeping a continuous flow of energy between the body and the earth in both the direction i.e. upward and downward. Thus, mul bandha controls the flow of energy. Mula bandha is activated by exaltation from the pelvic floor towards the navel. Thus energy keeps flowing in the body while practicing mul bandha. Adding mula bandha along with yoga can give the mudra an extra lift. This is especially useful while jumping.
Uddiyana bandha is also called the abdominal lock. It is the second type of
bandha, which is generally engaged during asana and pranayama to control the flow of energy. Uddiyana bandha is generally performed along with maula bandha. While practicing this bandha you should first sit in cross-legged position comfortably. Then exhale. After that draw the abdomen in and up but you should not take breath during this process. Now to release, relax your abdomen and inhale. By, uddiyan bandha abdominal organs gets cleaned and toned.
In jalandhar bandha energy is locked at the neck region. Thus the psychic energy
is controlled and locked at the neck region. To perform this, first you have to sit on padmasana with your back straight and palms at rest in the knees. Then, close your eyes, take a deep breath inside slowly and then rest your chin on the throat pit. Now, hold your breath as long as possible without any stress and concentrate on your throat. Then slowly release the breath.
Bandha chakra helps in the regulation of blood circulation in the neck region and also in the relaxation of nerves. It also improves the functioning of thyroid gland.
Thus, by attempting the practice of bandha with yoga, you can regulate the flow of energy in our body. They should be performed in conjunction to each other to
get the maximum benefit.