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September 26, 2016

The final lock or bandha is Jalandhara Bandha, also known as the chin lock.  This final lock allows us to connect to the last 2 limbs of yoga called, Dhyana and Samadhi, or in more simple terms connected to our source, our divine light inside each and everyone of us.

Jalandhara Bandha

Sanskrit:Jal means throat,jalan means net, anddharan means stream or flow.Jalandhara bandha is a net that directs the flow up energy up the neck. It is often referred to as the throat lock.

Instructions: In a comfortable seated position with your ears aligned above your shoulders, inhale to prepare, then exhale all your air. Retaining the breath, draw your chin toward your throat (giving yourself a “double chin”) then continue curling the neck to bring the chin toward the sternum. Curling the neck from top to bottom without jutting the chin forward is important to maintain length. Dropping the chin forward and down to the chest may compress the neck and create energetic blocks. After holding for four to eight seconds, lift the chin and inhale.

Physiology: In the rehabilitation world, the deep neck flexor muscles that work to curl the neck injalandhara bandha are known as the core of the neck. Jutting the head forward of the shoulders is a common postural misalignment in which these muscles become weak and dysfunctional. When the neck is out of alignment it throws the rest of the spine out of alignment and causes dysfunction in all the core muscles mentioned above.Jalandhara bandha strengthens the deep muscles of the neck to set us up for healthy spine alignment and core stability. Compressing and releasing the front of the throat also stimulates the thyroid gland, which is responsible for metabolism.

Energy: Jalandhara bandha vibrates and purifies the throat chakra (vishuddhi), and directs energy upward toward the higher chakras.

Benefits of Jalandhara Bandha:

  • Awakens the Vishuddhi chakra, which can lead to better ability to express feelings and emotions.
  • Improves ability to retain breath
  • Stimulates 2 important glands - the thyroid and the parathyroid that regulates metabolism.
  • Improves capacity to focus
  • Facilitates blood flow to the vocal cords

Once the 3 locks have been mastered, Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha, only then can you attempt the tri-lock or Maha Bandha, a combination of all three of the previous locks.

Maha Bandha

Sanskrit: Maha means “great,” somaha bandha is the great lock.

Instructions: Maha bandha is a combination of all three bandhas. Sitting on the shins (or another comfortable position), first engagejalandhara bandha (the throat lock), thenuddiyana bandha (the abdominal lock), and finallymula bandha (the root lock). After holding all three bandhas for four to eight second, release thebandhas in the same order you engaged them.

Physiology and Energy: Maha bandha has all the physical and energetic benefits mentioned above

Once your body understands what the bandhas feel like, your practice will really evolve, both internally and externally. You will easily flow into crow and be a master at plank, all the while strengthening important muscles that will be needed to support your body comfortably through life.

Being able to work with and unlock the bandha’s is challenging and not something that will evolve overnight; in fact it will take time and persistence to master. Learning to become comfortable with being uncomfortable at the beginning, will be a valuable asset and will allow the process to happen organically.