Bandhas are essential components of the ujjayi breathing technique. Bandha means “lock” or “seal” (Scott 21). The purpose of bandha is to unlock pranic energy and direct it into the 72,000 nadi [energy channels] of the subtle body (Scott 21). Mula bandha is the anal lock, and uddiyana bandha is the lower abdominal lock (“Ashtanga Yoga”). Both bandhas “seal in energy, give lightness, strength and health to the body, and help to build a strong internal fire” (“Ashtanga Yoga”). Mula bandha operates at the root of the body to seal in prana internally for uddiyana bandha to direct the prana upwards through the nadis (Scott 21). Jalandhara bandha is the “throat lock” (Jois 2002 23, n.27), which “occurs spontaneously in a subtle form in many asanas due to the dristi (“gaze point”), or head position” (Scott 23). “This lock prevents pranic energy [from] escaping and stops any build-up of pressure in the head when holding the breath” (Scott 23). Without bandha control, “breathing will not be correct, and the asanas will give no benefit” (“Ashtanga Yoga”).


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