Manipura Chakra & Vishnu Granthi
It is the bandha that moves the energy upward from the earth, water, and fire centers into the heart (air) chakra strongly influencing the efficacy of the lower bandhas by creating vacuum on top. It prevents accumulated tensions, toxins, or stagnation to develop or accumulate in the navel region. Although cleansing, through its power to remove stagnant energy stuck at the navel center, it allows stuck or distracted energy to move through this region into the heart chakra up through the sushumna which is its natural uncorrupted path, hence it helps to purify and energize not only this region, the organs in the front of the lower spine, but also the entire body. Thus it opens stuck energy and allows it to flow into the Heart Center (opening the Vishnu Granthi) from below. It relaxes tightness in the gut and torso while connecting mulabandha with jalandhara bandha.
At first uddiyana may be applied standing. Later one can hold it in other poses such as lotus etc.
1) Stand with the feet shoulder wide or wider.
2) Apply Mulabandha
3) Bend the knees with the feet shoulder width apart.
4) Check the mulabandha so that the sacrum and tailbone drop down away from the navel keeping the torso and back long.
5) Bend forward slightly at the pelvis (anteversion or dog arch) so that the lower back does not round at first and the torso remains long.
6) Place the hands above the knees with the fingers pointing inward, elbows slightly bent, and utilize the arms to help raise the chest even more off the pelvis creating space in the belly. Feel the openness and length of the torso in front.
Allow the top of collarbones to raise up in front while the medial spine of the scapula sinks toward the sacrum. Do not hunch the shoulders, collapse the chest, nor round the upper back, but rather let the sacrum ground (in mulabandha) while creating space in the abdomen and chest by raising the chest toward the chin (in jalandhara bandha).
7) Exhale rapidly all the breath through the nose drawing inward and upward from the lower dan dien (hara) while releasing the anteversion of the pelvis (or lumbar arch, dog arch). Allow the abdomen to form a hollow concavity sucking the lower belly region in toward the back leaving a deep concave space between the xiphoid process and pubic bone. You are creating more space in the belly (between the sternum and the pelvis).
9) Entertain/retain the external retention of breath (bahya kumbhaka). Here the bahya kumbhaka and the uddiyana bandha, mulabandha, and jalandhara bandha act as one.
10) Release the bandhas before there is a strong feeling to gasp air — and before any sensation of stress or strain allowing the air to be sucked back into the lungs. The bandhas are slowly released as the air slowly comes back in while the diaphragm comes back down into the torso, and the navel comes back forward (further allowing the diaphragm to come further down while a deeper inhalation is allow, Keep the back and torso long while maintaining mulabandha.
11) Let the breath come back to normal and then repeat as above.
12) Finish by standing straight, inhaling raising the arms over head, looking upward with the gaze, and leaning backwards in slight extension while the pelvis is allowed to slightly move into cat tilt (retroversion).
Keep the heart and upper chest forward and lifted throughout, yet anchor the lower ribs back toward the spine. Allow the collar bones to stay lifted and back. This will create more open space between the sternum and the bottom of the pubic bone in the abdomen. Create space in the entire torso by raising the upper chest upward toward the chin (jalandhara bandha) while using the arms to help lift the chest while pressing the medial edges of the scapula down toward the sacrum. This will prevent rounding the upper back and/or collapsing the upper torso, but rather keep the entire trunk long off the pelvis. Even though the breath leaves the chest and rib case as the diaphragm is drawn up into the pleural cavity upon the exhale, the energy of the pose is shaped by keeping the back and torso long, thus naturally creating the space for the navel to move back and inward toward the spine binding and concentrating the energy between the navel and the lumbar spine. Although it is best to start uddiyana in dog arch (anteversion of the pelvis) allow the pelvis to wiggle back and forth to find the optimal position which maximizes uddiyana bandha.
The diaphragm should feel at all times unstressed and relaxed. This is all accomplished by allowing the muscles at the center of of the diaphragm to relax and be sucked up while the muscles at the bottom sides of the diaphragm are allowed to relax (compress) inward. Remember the diaphragm relaxes on the exhalation.
In normal respiration, the diaphragm muscles are activated/engaged during the normal inhalation process and are relaxed passively in normal exhalation. However in uddiyana bandha we utilize a forced/active exhalation forcing the air out of the lungs rapidly through the above described action at the abdomen (drawing back the navel point as in kapalabhati or agni sara).The diaphragm forms a dome shape on exhalation (the top of the dome is toward the head) while the bottom of the dome is anchored at the spine and lower ribs. Thus even the lateral edges of the diaphragm also compress inward toward the core center.
Instead of lifting the organs of the upper abdomen up out of the way, this lift of the diaphragm created by the energy of the outgoing breath creates the requisite space in the abdomen that permits the energetic compaction and embrace which encloses and supports the entire abdominal region. As the navel folds back in toward the spine the outward dissipation of energy at the fire chakra is bound back for alchemical internal usage. Even the sides of the abdomen are drawn inward toward the center. This contributes to the tapas (spiritual energetic effect) or pratyhara of the bandha.
The Vishnu Granthi (knot) can be broken through in this manner so that Vishnu Loka is revealed. Here the energy moves up from mula and swadhistana chakras through manipura chakra, drawn into the heart region, thus the blockages between the water chakra and the air chakras are remediated. With the change in energy, there is realized a corresponding change in mental, emotional, and spiritual energetics.
-It increases the tone of the abdomen and gastric fire stimulating the entire fire chakra area. Thus the powers of digestion, assimilation, and immunization are naturally augmented.
-It opens up blockages in the manipura chakra and thus connects the water center (swadhistana chakra) and muladhara with the air center (anahata chakra).
-It helps unties the Vishnu Granthi and thus opens up into Vishnu Granthi.
-It completes/accomplishes mulabandha as a synergist as it helps lift the perineum. Although usually done in its coarse form during and after an exhalation, when it is done on an inhalation it completes jalandhara bandha and is often used as such in intermediate and advanced pranayama and mudra practice.
The above coarse form of uddiyana bandha as classically described is to be performed after the complete exhale (rechaka) with external retention (kumbhaka) because this facilitates the most complete ability of the navel area abdominal fascia to move inward toward the spine because the organs of the upper abdomen are drawn upward and out of the way by allowing the diaphragm to release and lift. This is the standard and classical uddiyana bandha.
A more subtle aspect of uddiyana is devoid of the actual physical motion of the navel region being sucked in. Rather it is entirely an energy lock. Thus there exist mudras, asanas, and sometimes in tri-bandha that also ask for uddiyana bandha while we are engaged in the breathing process and/or also upon the internal in-breath (puraka) retention (kumbhaka). In the latter case (inhalation) because the diaphragm is not raised, this internal kumbhaka form of uddiyana bandha is less deep and gentle physically (owing to fact that the diaphragm is lowered while the lung is full) thus resisting the ability of the abdomen to contract. Here the point is not to try to reproduce the coarse effect of the full traditional uddiyana bandha, but rather the benefit from its ability to invigorate, open, and energize the back, spine, pelvis, and chest drawing the energy up and in. Uddiyana when applied after in-breath retention without strain can elicit a powerful if not more subtle effect especially if we practice it with advanced techniques of reverse breathing, wavelike breathing, and spine breathing with the chest elevated.
Later one learns how to perform these energy transforms without any motor/muscular movement. It is done by the mind. Later this is done naturally and spontaneously the doer being the divine Self through prana shakti, kriya shakti, chit shakti, or kundalini shakti.
-Avoid any tension in the larynx, glottis, diaphragm, and throat. There should be no stress, but rather a feeling of energy, fire, lengthening, and opening in the middle region. Avoid the compression of the upper abdomen organs that normally lie in the solar plexus area directly below the sternum such as the pancreas, liver, stomach area. The major fault is the creation of tension in the area which is to be avoided.
-The second major fault is to round the back (also to be avoided). The back and torso rather should be kept elongated through the intelligent application of mulabandha In other words, the pelvis does not tilt in retroversion, rather the pubic bone keeps its distance from the navel. The heart remains lifted up off the abdomen, rather than collapse or fold into it. In other words, we want SPACE and energy created in the abdomen as the navel goes toward the spine. While the diaphragm rises up into the pleural cavity, the abdomen should not collapse, thus creating the space for the navel to fold back and in toward the spine forming a concavity of the abdomen.
-There is no gain in lengthening the duration of uddiyana bandha if it is prolonged to the point where its release finds us coughing or gasping for breath at the end, but rather find a happy and pleasurable point to end the practice before any discomfort.
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