Mula Bandha: Sending energy UP!
Updated: Feb 28
Let's talk about Mula Bandha.
Yoga students, do you know what it is?
Yoga teachers, do you teach this?!
My teacher, David Life, says we should be engaging Mula Bandha CONSTANTLY except when you are menstruating, urinating or giving birth. Meaning that, yes, you should be physically engaging the muscles all the time but you should also ALWAYS be sending energy UP! Your energy, thoughts and intention should always be on the divine, on kindness, on compassion.
“There were only three of us in a clean, polished cement room—and him. It was our first lesson with this world-renowned yoga master. He struggled to express himself in English, but what he could not express in words came through in his touch, a touch that expressed his years of devoted yoga practice.
Sweating profusely, we had come to the end of our asanas for that day. In Full Lotus, we planted our palms alongside our thighs and pushed down, lifting our seats off the floor in mock levitation. Suddenly, as we strained to stay aloft, this imposing man began shouting, "Contact Uranus!"
Contact Uranus? What the heck is this guy talking about? I wondered. I had visions of little green people and orbiting space stations. I don't know how long it took me to realize that what my teacher was really saying was "Contract your anus, contract your anus." He was trying to tell us to apply Mula bandha, the energetic lock which allows a yogi to perform the most challenging tasks with little or no effort.
Now, more than 10 years later, I realize that "contacting Uranus" is not a bad metaphor for what the spiritual master was really telling me to do. Though it might seem to be a simple physical movement, contracting your anus with awareness can be the first step on a trip toward contacting your cosmic identity.”
- David Life
Mula bandha is a very important part of our practice and it starts the energetic lift of sending energy upwards. Physically, it helps us to lift up, grow tall and it activates the core muscles. It helps to protect the lower back and correct the alignment of the posture. Engaging Mula bandha is the feeling of cutting off the flow of urine, squeezing everything “down there” in and UP!
As you become more intimately associated with Mulabandha, you will learn it’s a more subtle engagement of the muscles and it really helps to elevate your practice.
Mula bandha should be applied throughout the practice. It directs consciousness from the mundane to the spiritual and reminds us of our higher intention.
Bandha means to lock and refers to three interior body "locks" used in asana and pranayama practice to control the flow of energy. The bandhas are engaged through muscular contraction of specific parts of the body. Mula bandha is engaged throughout an asana class to support standing poses, activate deep core strength, and help achieve lightness in the body.
Mula Bandha helps you stay strong and steady in your asana practice. When you suck everything "in and up" it activates your core muscles and improves your posture.
Do it right now!
Feel as if you're cutting off the flow of urine and see how it engages your pelvis, talks to your core muscles and makes you sit up straighter.
Are you doing it?!?!?!
(You have to be honest because it's not something I can check...)
Mula bandha is used to turn normally downward-flowing energy upwards. This increases the volume of the breath, organises the body and the mind and organises the intention behind the practice. The physical contraction of the perineum has the beneficial effects of maintaining hormonal balance, as well as stimulating and regulating the nerves that innervate the lower pelvic region, thereby regulating all the internal organs.
Mula Bandha has the immediate effect of creating a deep sense of mental relaxation relieving stress, tension and anxiety. Please remember, however, that ultimately Mula bandha is not a muscular contraction. It is an intense and continuous desire for connection with the divine, with a higher intention, with the spiritual; to such an extent that energy begins to flow upward towards the divine.
Mula Bandha leads to the following benefits:
- Contracts the supportive musculature of the pelvis, increasing the stability of the pelvis at the seat of the spine.
- Lifts and compresses the bowel and lower abdominal region. When Mula Bandha is properly applied, the body is less earth-bound and more mobile.
- Through gradual refinement, Mula Bandha becomes less muscular and more subtle. This movement from mundane to subtle is uplifting.
Mula Bandha can be practised by itself or with practices like asana, meditation, kriya and pranayama. Whenever it is used it focuses the mind on the higher intention. When you practice Mula bandha on its highest level, you get to see the Divine in everything, with composure and detachment.
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