The Greatest Lock of All?
by Bec May
Maha bandha, or ‘the great lock’ as it is sometimes described is achieved primarily in one of two ways, depending on which yogic text one consults. According to the Gheranda Samhita, Maha Bandha is performed in the following way:
a) Firstly, place the left heel beneath the perineum.
b) Next, place the right foot on the left thigh in half padmasana. Place the hands on the knees ‘to allow the arms to apply pressure in the final pose’ (Saraswati 2008, p 534)
c) Thirdly, take a deep breath and breathe all the air from the lungs. Retain the breath outside. This outer retention of breath is known as ‘bahir khumbaka’(Saraswati 2008, p 429).
d) Next, perform Jalandara bandha by contacting the throat and pressing the chin firmly against the chest.
e) Next take a false inhalation. This should raise the abdomen up and back, forming a concave shape. This is known as the ‘Ha’ half of Uddiyana bandha, or the ‘upward flying lock’.
f) Contract the muscles of the pelvic floor/perineum, or more specifically those of the coxigeus and the lavatorani. This is the ‘Ha’ aspect of mula Bandha.
g) Retain the bahir khumbaka for as long as is realistically possible, without undue strain, before releasing in turn: mula bandha, uddiyana bandha and finally jalandara bandha.
Maha Bandha has the benefits of all three separate bandhas it encompasses.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika states that Maha Bandha is ‘the most skillful means for cutting away the snares of death’ (Svatmarama cited in santosha.com)
Original Article posted on Erskine Falls Yoga Website.
About the Author
Bec May has 5 Years experience practicing yoga in the many and varied schools in Melbourne. Including: Australian Yoga Academy, Yoga Moves, Soul Train Yoga, and Agama Yoga. 2 Months Studying Ashtanga Primary and Intermediate Series at the Mysore Mandala, Mysore, Karnataka, India with Acharya MV Chidananda. 6 Weeks advanced Backbending course with renowned yoga champion Vinay Kumar at Prana Vashya Studio, Mysore, India. Intermediate Ashtanga Workshop with Master Teacher Nicky Knoff, MAY 2010 at THE ASHTANGA YOGA CENTRE OF MELBOURNE. 6 months private training and mentoring with Emma Mason-Palmer of Moksha Yoga.