Uddiyana Bandha, the Abdominal Lock
Bandhas are energetic locks that contain the prana in the torso and concentrate it in the three main energy channels (nadis) of the body. Uddiyana (upward flying) bandha can be performed in a physical and external manner engaging the skeletal muscles; it can also be felt as a subtle and internal energetic process. Uddiyana bandha engages and tones the abdominal muscles creating a strong core and also activates and energizes the 3rd chakra center. Uddiyana bandha should be practiced individually at first, and then it can be incorporated with the other bandhas, asanas, pranayamas and eventually mudras.
To practice Uddiyana Bandha, come into a comfortable siddhasana or sukhasana cross-legged seated position with the palms facing down on top of the knees. Let the eyes softly close and the breath slow and deepen. Quickly exhale all of the breath out through the nose, lean forward, press the palms into the knees, and engage the abdominal muscles to strongly pull the belly in and up under the ribcage. Hold the breath as you hold the abdominal lock for as long as comfortable. To release, soften the abdominal muscles, lean back and very slowly take a breath in through the nose. Take a few slow deep breaths in and out and let your breath return to normal before practicing additional rounds. Begin with practicing three rounds and you can slowly increase it to up to ten rounds over time.
Uddiyana Bandha strengthens the digestive fire and tonifies the body’s energetic core. The abdominal organs are massaged, toned and purified and the adrenal glands are balanced by the abdominal contraction. Uddiyana Bandha is contraindicated in high blood pressure, heart disease, glaucoma, and pregnancy.