Thursday, August 29, 2013

Uddiyana Bandha

Moving up from Mula Bandha we have the second bandha, Uddiyana. In Sanskrit Uddiyana means to fly up, or to rise up. This ‘flying up lock’ is thus all about your insides flying upwards, intangibly meaning your energy, tangibly meaning your diaphragm, stomach, and abdominal organs.

Abdominal Lock is basically an inward pull of the abdominal muscles above and below the navel. When practiced on its own, it is done after a full exhalation, when the lungs are totally empty, by pulling the abdomen inward and upward.

To find Uddiyana Bandha start standing up tall, feet about a meter apart.  Inhale through your nose and reach your arms up alongside your ears. Exhale out of your mouth and fold forward placing your hands just above your knees. Without inhaling close your lips, straighten your elbows, and feel your abdominal wall and organs push up and back towards your back. It should feel somewhat like a suctioning back and up of everything on the inside. If you are doing it correctly and happen to glance at your profile in a mirror, you should see your waist tiny winy, with the ribs noticeably protruding over and in front of your abdomen or belly button.  Retain as such for as long as possible, and exit the bandha via inhaling through your nose and standing up straight, raising your arms up along side your ears, then exhaling  through your nose again as you move your arms down. 

Uddiyana Bandha can be one of the most transformative aspects of your yoga practice, especially as you get more advanced. It moves the energy upwards with much more force than Mula Bandha, thus allowing you to invert and jump more easily, as well as float forward and back more lightly, and twist more deeply. Because the abdominal wall is pressing the organs and tissues of the abdominal cavity backwards, Uddiyana Bandha creates a soft massage for the deeper internal muscles of the lower back.   

In a more day-to-day sense, Uddiyana Bandha is the ultimate remedy for abdominal and stomach ailments, from constipation to indigestion. It stimulates your digestive juices, thus increasing your metabolism, and tones your overworked abdominal organs. It also balances the adrenal system, relieving stress, lethargy and tension. And best of all, it is the sure fire way to get flat washboard abs without ever doing any crunches.

Abdominal Lock should only be practiced on a completely empty stomach. Do it first thing in the morning. Avoid holding the breath out for too long, which will result in strain and gasping for air. The full Abdominal Lock should not be practiced be women during menstruation or pregnancy.

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