Ask The Teacher . . . What Is A Bandha?
You may have heard the word “bandha” associated with many yoga practices and wondered what that word means. Setu Bandha, Mula Bandha, and Jalandhara Bandha are a few examples.
Jalandhara Banda is taught specifically as a breathing (Pranayama) practice. However, this lock is created naturally in some yoga postures that you do regularly in class like Setu Bandha (bridge pose) and Salamba Sarvangasana (shoulder stand). So even though you might not be aware of it, you are already doing bandhas in your practice.
In Sanskrit, bandha means lock, hold or tighten. For example, in Salamba Sarvangasana (shoulder stand), the Jalandhara Bandha (located in the inner throat) is created when the sternum touches the chin, much like a double chin. In Sanskit, “jal” means throat, “jalan” means net and “dharan” means stream or flow. The life force energy is locked or held, and this affects different parts of the inner body.
You have often heard me say that Salamba Sarvangasana is the “mother of all poses.” The bandha or throat lock created by the shape of this pose helps to regulate the circulatory and respiratory systems, and the pressure on the throat helps to balance the thyroid and metabolism. When the Jalandhara Bandha is engaged, many people feel an immediate sense of relaxation, stress reduction and even anger relief.