How Bandhas Control the Flow of Prana Through the Body

In our first blog on bandhas, bandhas were defined as the ‘co-contraction of opposing muscles around a joint’. Bandhas can be used to stabilize joints while moving through our yoga asana practice; making sure the body is safe and supported while we explore. Moving deeper into the body, bandhas can also be understood as energetic locks that control the flow of prana (life force, life energy, consciousness) through the body. Bandhas work in this way by creating high and low pressure systems within the body, wherein information and consciousness will flow away from a high pressure system, into a low pressure system.

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How Bandhas Stabilize the Joints in Yoga

Yoga Teacher Training BaliThe body is incredibly complex. With over 200 bones, hundreds of muscles and just as many joints (as well as connective issue, nerves, organs and cells) it can be difficult to distill information about the body in a way that is easily digestible, and importantly, functional for students. One way we can do this is by breaking the systems of the body down into units of action. For example, when talking about several joints that work together for a common purpose we can refer to this is a ‘joint complex’ (e.g. the shoulder, or shoulder joint complex, comprises four joints). 

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The Five Bandhas

Shades of Yoga RYT 200 hour course focuses on teaching the basic principles of Hatha Yoga in order to develop a solid foundation and understanding of how to safely progress through asana’s.  Understanding the bandhas is the primary step to perfecting basic postures such as Tadasana, while creating body awareness and mental focus during practice.

In Sanskrit the word bandha means to lock or tighten. In yoga there are 5 bandhas which, when engaged, lock in prana (energy).  The energy locked in the bandhas is flowed throughout the body to create balance and helps to control various systems in the body such as digestive, sexual, hormonal etc.

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