In our Inspirations Issue 2 Posture Focus, we looked at Uddiyana Bandha which requires abdominal engagement to support the body physically and through the direction and maintenance of prana. For this edition of Posture Focus, we are looking at another of the bandhas, Mula Bandha. Mula Bandha is also known as the Root Lock, so named because the muscles we engage to activate this bandha are located at the base of the spine in the physical body, and at the lower end of the Shushumna, the body’s central energy column.

In the previous article we discussed the definition of bandha as ‘to lock, bind or seal’. Bandha can also be defined as to catch, hold captive, stop, shut and to redirect. From this perspective, bandha can also be likened to ‘damming a river’ or ‘building a bridge’, perhaps supporting the yogi to cross the waters of daily life to reach the shore on the other side, Samhadi – the Bliss State and the ultimate goal of yoga.

Engaging Mulabanda has an almost immediate effect of creating mental relaxation and the release of stress, anxiety and tension and their associated mental and psychosomatic disorders. Stress is well documented as negatively impacting on nearly all the body’s main systems including the digestive, respiratory and cardiovascular, muscular and immune systems. Likewise, the regular creation of a relaxed state releases the impact of stress and its associated symptoms.

The regular inclusion of Mulabandha in our practice, assists with the balancing of Muladhara, the Root Chakra located at base of the spine, which is the seat of Kundalini energy (the dormant feminine energy). Once this chakra is balanced, it provides the foundation to awaken Kundalini energy and allows it to start its journey up through the chakra system.

Through the engagement of the perineal region, hormones are balanced, while the nerves and the lower abdominal organs they link to, are stimulated and regulated. Therefore, Mulabandha plays an important role in the healing and balancing of digestive ailments and sexual disorders. From this, we clearly see demonstrated, the symbiotic relationship of the mind and body, and how a single practice can bring the physical and subtle aspects of consciousness to function harmoniously with each other.

Mula Bandha is located in the perineum (between the genitals and the anus), although its location is more specific than this. The exact location of Mulabandha can be best described as the urinary sphincter – the muscle that you engage to stop peeing. Try it; everyone knows how to do it.  The regular practice and inclusion of all the bandhas in your yoga practice, should be guided by a trained yoga teacher or guru.

You may ask how a physical engagement of some very small muscles in the body can create such profound physical and psychological changes in the body and mind. In truth, the answer to this question depends on how willing you are to be open to these practices when they are presented to you whilst in attendance at classes, courses or retreats at The Radiant Hand. Through openness, you can begin to engage with a practice that you may not yet fully understand, and through time and experience, you can build up an understanding of the benefits to be gained from these practices.

 Graham Hyman, Yoga Teacher, Holistic & Thai Massage Therapist, RHCYT500, BA Hons

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