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Uddiyana Bandha

Uddiyana Bandha is an asana that involves contraction of your abdomen so that it moves up into your rib cage. It is an important form of Hatha Yoga asana that can have numerous benefits for the mind, body, and spirit. When you practice it on a regular basis, it can improve the functioning of your abdominal organs and also facilitate enhanced blood circulation on all parts of your body. Due to this reason, practicing Uddiyana Bandha can have an immensely refreshing effect over your whole body.

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Steps of Uddiyana Bandha

Closely follow the steps discussed below when you want to do the Uddiyana Bandha.

  • Firstly you must sit in Siddhasana or Padmasana with your spine straight.
  • Keep your palms gently placed on your knees; relax your whole body and breathe normally.
  • Breathe in deeply and exhale completely.
  • Firmly hold your breath outside; lean forward as you bend your shoulders slightly.
  • Next, perform chin lock or Jalandhara Bandha and press your knees down with your palm.
  • Try to contract your abdominal muscles by pulling them inside and upwards. You will experience a strong sensation of suction from behind the sternum. With this movement, you can press your abdomen fully inside and make sure that your abdominal organs touch the back section of your spine.

  • Hold your breath outside and maintain the abdominal lock as long as it is possible for you. Initially, you start with 10 or 15 seconds and then increase it gradually for about a minute in due course of time. Many people can also hold their breath outside for nearly two or more minutes.

  • Release your abdominal muscles first when you want to release this lock. Next, bring your shoulders back to their normal position, gently release your chin lock and take a deep breath.

  • Stay calm and wait for as long as your breathing process gets back to normal. You can then repeat this process as many numbers of times as you want.

Preparatory Poses associated with Uddiyana Bandha

The following are the main preparatory poses that you need to practice prior to performing Uddiyana Bandha.

  • Dandasana
  • Baddha Konasana
  • Adho Mukha Svanasana
  • Sarvangasana
  • Paschimottanasana
  • Supta Virasana
  • Virasana
  • Sirsasana
  • Viparita Karani

Tips for performing Uddiyana Bandha

Uddiyana Bandha is best practiced at the first thing in the morning when the stomach is completely empty. Even if you intend to perform this asana during the evening, it is important to make sure that you have an empty stomach while doing so. There should be a gap of 4 to 5 hours between your last meal and your practicing of Uddiyana Bandha.

As a beginner, you may have difficulty in maintaining the proper contraction of your abdominal muscles. However, with time you can achieve the best results. During the initial stages of your practice, you can hold on to your breath for about a minute at the most. With practice, you can extend it for 2 minutes.

There is another thing that you need to keep in mind when you are practicing Uddiyana Bandha. At the initial stages, you might get confused about whether you are properly contracting your abdominal muscles or not. Most practitioners get to contract and relax their abdominal muscles only momentarily. Then they tend to get confused and use active contraction to help in the inward movement of the abdominal muscles. Even though they have exhaled already, they still try exhaling more since they believe they need to tighten their abdominal muscles with focused concentration. This is purely unnecessary, even though the urge is understandable. As a practitioner, you must understand the difference between aggressively pressing in abdominal muscles and letting your abdominal wall be pulled in a passive manner by the vacuum created within the chest.

The science of Uddiyana Bandha

For the longest time, Uddiyana Bandha has been practiced by eminent yogis seeking spiritual ascension and liberation. The test of Gheranda Samhita mentions that practicing Uddiyana Bandha can help in releasing prana or the life force to rise upwards. Uddiyana Bandha helps to push pranic flow in the direction of Sushumna Nadi. The Sushumna is linked with the central nervous system. Therefore it enhances spiritual awareness and assists in the higher practices of Dhyana, Dharana, and Samadhi. Uddiyana bandha helps to create a distinct sensation of suction which helps to reverse the smooth flow of apana and make it possible for the pranic energy to move upwards. The Jalandhara Bandha or chin lock associated with this asana can help to block the prana and make it move downwards. Apana and Prana then meet around solar plexus region which in turn activates and awakens the Solar plexus. This can improve the functioning of all the organs that are associated with it.

Uddiyana Bandha is also regarded as one of the most important aspects of Maha Bandha, i.e. the unique and great triple lock that is practiced by the yogis.

Benefits of Uddiyana Bandha

These are the main benefits of practicing Uddiyana Bandha on a regular basis.

  • It helps to effectively massage the various organs present in the abdomen.
  • Uddiyana Bandha can help to tone the adrenal glands as well as balance their functions.
  • The bandha can help in removing stress and tension.
  • This asana improves digestion simply by increasing digestive fire.
  • This pose can improve the functioning of the heart and boost blood circulation throughout the body.
  • With this pose, one can also improve blood circulation in the brain.
  • Since it can improve the functioning of the pancreas, Uddiyana Bandha is ideal for the patients of diabetes.

  • Uddiyana Bandha can remove toxins from the body and also improve the effectiveness of the immune system.

  • It strengthens the diaphragm which improves the overall functioning of breathing.
  • The Uddiyana Bandha can balance the mind, get rid of anger and irritability as well as eradicates a depressive mood.

  • Through the practice of Uddiyana Bandha, one can hold the air outside. Upward movement of abdominal muscles can improve the functioning of the respiratory system. Bahir Kumbhaka or the process of holding the breath outside can enhance lung capacity.

  • With this asana, practitioners can improve the functioning of the pancreas and liver.
  • This asana is extremely useful for steadily awakening the Kundalini Shakti inherent in the body and soul which ensures spiritual progress.

  • Uddiyana Bandha can activate Manipuraka Chakra or the solar plexus which boosts all the functions associated with the nerve center.

Precautions and contraindications associated with Uddiyana Bandha

Here are the principal precautions and contraindications associated with Uddiyana Bandha:

  • The Uddiyana Bandha should not be practiced by those who have high blood pressure;
  • Pregnant or menstruating women should refrain from practicing Uddiyana Bandha;
  • People having heart diseases, stomach ailments or poor blood circulation should not perform this asana;
  • If you are having hernia, glaucoma or intestinal ulcers, then you must not perform this pose.

Now that you have learned about the various elements of Uddiyana Bandha, make sure that you include it in your daily yoga practice.

References

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