Bandhas are energetic locks that contain the prana in the torso and concentrate it in the three main energy channels (nadis) of the body. Jalandhara (upward pulling net) 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. Jalandhara bandha engages and tones the neck muscles and also activates and energizes the 5th chakra center. Jalandhara bandha should be practiced individually at first, and then it can be incorporated with the other bandhas, asanas, pranayamas and eventually mudras.
To practice Jalandhara Bandha, come into a comfortable siddhasana or sukhasana cross-legged seated position with the palms facing down on top of the knees. Let the spine be long, the shoulders relaxed down and the sternum lifted. Let the eyes softly close and the breath slow and deepen. Take a slow deep inhale to two thirds of your lung’s capacity and hold the breath in. Drop the chin to the chest and draw it in so the back of the neck stays long and does not round. Let the shoulders roll very slightly forward to deepen the lock in the throat, but keep them soft.
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Hold the abdominal lock for as long as comfortable, without strain. To release, bring the chin up first and very slowly take a breath in through the nose. Take a few slow deep breaths in and out and allow 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.
Jalandhara Bandha regulates the circulatory and respiratory systems, stimulates the thyroid to balance metabolism, and is said to cure all diseases of the throat. Jalandhara Bandha is contraindicated in high blood pressure and heart disease.