Jalandhara Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha and Mula Bandha are applied together to formulate Maha Bandha. Since it is the combination of all three locks, it is recognized as ‘the great lock’. The Sanskrit word ‘Maha’ also stands for ‘great’. The practice of Maha Bandha brings together the benefits of all three bandha.
Maha Bandha requires a great deal of physical strength as it is an advanced practice. You must have mastered (if not mastered then at least sufficiently good at) all three bandhas separately before commencing to ‘the great lock’. The practice of Maha Bandha promotes the awakening of Kundalini Shakti, a form of primal energy.
Maha Bandha Technique
- Sit in a meditative posture to begin your practice. Padmasana or Siddhasana is the ideal posture for practicing any of the three bandha. But one must be completely comfortable in either of them. Sukhasana is a good pose for such people for whom Padmasana or Siddhasana is uncomfortable.
- Sit straight keeping the spine erect. Put both of your palms on your knees. Relax the whole body and be aware of your breaths.
- Now take slow and deep breaths. After an inhalation, exhale forcefully moving all the breath out completely. Hold the breath outside.
- Apply Jalandhara, Uddiyana and Mula bandha one after the another in the same order as mentioned. There must be no pause in between, the bandhas must be applied back to back.
- Retain the breath or locks for as long as it feels comfortable. Do not strain. Even 3 seconds are sufficient for a beginner.
- To release the three locks, start with Mula Bandha, then Uddiyana Bandha and in the end Jalandhara Bandha.
- Take a slow inhalation after bringing the head in upright position. One round completes here.
- Relax the whole body taking easy breaths. Let the eyes remain closed. Once the breath comes back to its normal rhythm, you are ready to practice again.
Practice 2 times initially. As you begin to feel more efficient in your practice, gradually add one more round till you reach 5 rounds.
- Focus or rotate your physical awareness in the areas of the three locks. That is throat, abdomen and perineum. Spiritually you need to focus on Vishuddhi chakra (throat), Manipura chakra (abdomen) or Muladhara chakra (perineum). Rotate you focus on each of the chakras.
- Commence to Maha Bandha only after you have mastered other three bandhas separately.
- Don’t retain the breath beyond your capacity as that may cause complications in the body. Hold for as long as you feel comfortable.
- In case you experience discomfort, release the locks gently and rest for a while. Resume the practice once you feel better.
- Practice Maha Bandha after performing yoga poses and pranayama (breathing exercise).
- It is best to practice Maha Bandha under the guidance of a skilled and experienced yoga instructor.
- You must not practice Maha Bandha if you suffer from any of this condition: heart disorder, high or low blood pressure, hernia, stroke, intestinal or stomach ulcer, in case you are recovering from a visceral ailment.
- Maha Bandha must be avoided by pregnant women as well as during menstruation.
Maha Bandha Benefits
- Influences the secretion of the hormones released by the pineal gland.
- Stimulates the functioning of the whole endocrine system.
- Revitalize each and every cell in the body.
- Prevents aging and degenerative process.
- Prepares the mind for deeper meditative practices.
- Leads to the activation of 3 chakras associated with three bandha. That is Vishuddhi Chakra, Manipura Chakra and Muladhara Chakra.
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