Hatha Yoga Pradipika, the ancient text of Hatha Yoga, clearly tells with the help of Uddiyana bandha one can lift the Prana – life force.
Through this bandha, the great bird “prana” constantly flies up through the Sushumna nadi; that is why it is called Uddiyana (upward flying) – (chapter 3 Verse 55)
In this previous article, we have discussed how in the practice of bandhas, we lock energy into a certain part of the body.
In this article, we will understand how Uddiyana Bandha locks the pranic energy in the abdominal region & simultaneously directs it upward. This Bandha especially applies in Nauli purification of the abdominal part.
Uddiyana Bandha: The Abdominal Lock
Uddiyana bandha is an abdominal lifting or upward-lifting lock. In this bandha, a practitioner raises their abdominal wall inside and upwards together, while holding breath just after exhalation.
This whole process creates a vacuum in your chest that allows a better circulation of blood to all the abdominal organs. It is the first bandha that is performed for Nauli Kriya. Besides, it is one of the important steps in Basti kriya and Vajroli mudra.
We can clearly see Uddiyana bandha virtue with the help of the lines below:
“It is the lion which conquers the elephant, death. Of all the bandhas, uddiyana is the best. Once it is mastered, liberation occurs spontaneously.” – Hatha Yoga Pradipika (Chapter 3 Verse 57)
Activating the Uddiyana bandha is very refreshing. It will fill you with energy, especially at the abdomen part.
In Sanskrit, Uddiyana means ‘upwards flying’ and Bandha means ‘to lock’ or ‘to bind’. This is pronounced as oo-di-yana.
How to Do Uddiyana Bandha
To perform Uddiyana Bandha, you need to focus and concentrate on your abdomen. You just have to lift your abdomen in towards your spine and up towards your ribcage, holding your breath, just after exhalation.
There are two positions that you can try it on, first is the Standing position, second is sitting position.
- Firstly, stand and keep your spine straight.
- Then, bend your knees slightly, keep around a feet distance between them.
- Now, slightly lean forward and put your hands on thighs, just above the knees.
- Take a couple of breaths and relax.
- Sit in a Yoga Asana such as Padmasana or Siddhasna. Get comfortable with the asana.
- Place your hands on the lower thighs, just above the kneecap.
- Take a couple of deep breaths to let a proper flow of prana throughout the body.
Now you have to focus on your abdomen and perform the following steps.
Steps to Perform Uddiyana Bandha
- Exhale the breath completely, and hold it.
- Now, draw the navel part in and try to touch your spine, then lift it towards your ribcage or heart’s center, holding the breath.
- Hold it for a few seconds, according to your comfort the drop it gently.
- Do this all process simultaneously.
Note. If you are finding it hard to draw or lift your abdomen part, you can try taking a mock/fake inhalation, closing your mouth and nose.
The easiest way to do Uddiyana bandha is in standing way. If you are a beginner try to do it in a standing way because while standing, it will be easier to focus and control the abdominal muscles.
The best time to practice it is morning so that you can prepare your stomach for better digestion and other functions, at the very beginning of the day.
If you are having trouble performing Uddiyana Bandha, then these might be the reasons.
Lack of Focus. Uddiyana Bandha needs a lot of focus in the abdomen part. Even a slight disturbance can prevent us from doing it correctly. Try to avoid all disturbances and focus on the abdomen part.
Not Exhaling Enough. You need to keep exhale completely. The more you’ll exhale, the more lift you can acquire. So, to acquire your full capacity of lifting the abdomen, you have to exhale enough.
Holding Breath. Even a little inhalation of breath during the mock inhalation can prevent you from lifting the abdomen part. So, remember to hold your breath completely. Along with this, holding abdomen very hard also prevents us from performing it.
Contraindication & Precautions
To get the best results and to practice the Uddiyana Bandha safely, you need to take the following precautions.
- If you are suffering from high blood pressure problems, you should not go for Uddiyana Bandha. Practicing it can increase your blood pressure rapidly.
- The patients of ulcer and hernia are not suggested to perform Uddiyana Bandha.
- During pregnancy, a woman should not practice this Bandha. It can have an adverse effect on the health of unborn and mother, both.
- In mensuration cycles, one should not practice Uddiyana Bandha.
- You should perform it empty stomach, if you’ll perform this just after a meal, this can cause stomach pain and indigestion.
- Don’t go much hard on your body. Ones you have reached your limit, you can release yourself. Going beyond the limit can be damaging to your health.
Benefits of Uddiyana Bandha
1. Uddiyana Bandha mainly uses the muscles of the abdominal region. It is like an exercise for the abdomen muscles. As a result, it strengthens the abdominal muscles and diaphragm.
This practice massages the abdominal muscles heart and the lungs that result in a better function of these muscles. It increases digestive fire in the body. As a result, it improves digestion and purifies the toxins from our body.
2. As Uddiyana Bandha practice increases blood circulation throughout the body and brain, the brain becomes healthier. Along with this, this practice mainly helps in getting a younger brain and body. In other words, you feel younger physically and mentally both. Thus, practice makes you younger again.
“Even an old person can become young when it is done regularly.”-Hatha Yoga Pradipika (Chapter 3 Verse 58)
3. The Practise of Uddiyana Bandha reverses the Apana Vayu ( energy of the lower belly ) to upwards and unites it with the Parana Vayu (energy of the heart) and Samana Vayu (energy of navel). This creates a unique flow of prana energy in our bodies.
Prana and Apana meet in the region of the Solar plexus/Celiac plexus1. It activates the Manipura Chakra, improving the function of all organs associated with it. It has been practiced by yogis to acquire liberation.
Gheranda Samhita says that Uddiyana Bandha enhances the awareness within us which helps in higher practices of Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi.
- What is Solar/Celiac plexus https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celiac_plexus