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The Bandhas of Yoga with Sakura

How many interesting terms we encounter in yoga... most of them originate from Sanskrit. Bandha is, in fact, a Sanskrit word which literally means "closure." This definition refers to the contractions of some muscles which have the purpose of conveying and holding the prana (vital energy) in a precise point of the body so that it does not disperse. The main Bandhas of yoga (also well described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika) are four: Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha, Jalandhara Bandha, and Maha Bandha. Bandhas are often associated with pranayama and mudras. Through this practice, we can learn to use muscles that are sometimes forgotten or that we are no longer able to use spontaneously.

Mula means root and is found at the base of the spine. This Bandha is performed by contracting the perineum and is often associated with inhaling or exhaling. Mula Bandha allows us to prevent disorders related to the genital and urinary tract. Uddiyana Bandha is practiced by lifting the diaphragm, thus causing all the organs inside the abdomen to rise upwards. In fact, during this practice, the abdomen retracts very clearly and is released only when you can no longer hold your breath. This Bandha tones the diaphragm, massages the internal organs of the abdomen, and has beneficial effects on digestion.

Jalandhara Bandha, on the other hand, consists of the contraction of the throat which is achieved by lowering the chin towards the chest during breath retention. It has a beneficial effect on the heart, mind, nervous system, and increases the production of thyroid hormones.

Maha Bandha, also called "Great Bandha," involves performing the first three Bandhas simultaneously. It allows you to channel the prana in Sushumna nadi, which is the main energy channel located in the center of the spine between Ida and Pingala. The latter Bandha also regulates the endocrine system, controls the degenerative and aging process, and calms the mind.

Learning the practice of Bandhas is not easy, but constancy and patience have always been the best allies for a good practice, which naturally must also be taken off the mat. Namaste!

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