The Bandhas Embracing Your Vital Energy

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The word bandha means "to hold, lock, or embrace." These potent practices train you to direct your prana, or vital energy, to different centers of your body. Bandhas provide direct demonstration of the Law of Dharma as you witness the immediate reactions in your body to specific actions you take.

The basic principle with each bandha is first to accumulate energy in an area of your physiology, then release it. This process of building a force and then unleashing it discharges obstacles from the pathways of energy circulation. Like Traditional Chinese Medicine, yoga envisions the body/mind as a network of energetic channels through which life force flows. These pathways are known as srotas and nadis. Srotas are circulatory channels in the physical body, whereas nadis exist in the subtle body. Health and vitality are dependent upon life energy flowing freely through the physical and subtle biological passageways.

Jalandhara Bandha—Chin Lock

Sitting comfortably with your legs crossed in front of you, take a deep breath. While exhaling, bring your chin to

your chest. Pressing your chin into your chest, inhale against your closed throat so that no air moves but your chest rises up. Hold this position for ten seconds, then raise your chin and inhale normally.

The word jalandhara comes from two roots—jala, meaning "network," and dhara, meaning "upward flow." Jalandhara is designed to stimulate the network of nerves and energy channels in the throat. Energy stagnation in this region is associated with chronic neck pain, hoarseness, and thyroid imbalances. Jalandhara traditionally has been used to strengthen the thyroid, relieve neck stiffness, and enhance mental clarity.

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