Mula Bandha Definition
The name can be translated from Sanskrit as the root lock, since mula (or moola) means ‘root’, and bandha – ‘lock’. This is an external meaning. The internal or deeper meaning is that mula or the root is the source of energy for our body, and through the practice of this bandha we can gain a certain amount of control over this energy. The benefit of such control is the substantial decrease or even total elimination of bodily ailments along with the increase of the vital energy. This is the subtle meaning of mula bandha. Now let’s move to the description of its practice.
Mula Bandha Technique
First of all you need to take a suitable pose or asana. It can be the lotus pose (padmasana), the perfection pose (siddhasana or siddha yoni asana), or mulabandhasana (which is considered to be more difficult). In these poses the pelvic floor experiences pressure from the heels, which enhances the performance of the root lock, because it is the pelvic floor muscles that involved in mula bandha.
Place your hands over the knees, close your eyes and relax. Focus your mind on your breathing but do not interfere with it – just contemplate for a minute or so; then move your attention to the pelvic floor region. If you find it difficult to feel the muscles of the pelvic floor, try to contract them rhythmically few times, but without much strain.
Now inhale deeply, filling your lungs from bottom to top (‘from bottom’ is emphasized, because when you breathe engaging your belly, the amount of inhaled air is greater), retain your breath, and do jalandhara bandha (the chin lock, when you press the chin against the bottom of the neck).
Now slowly contract the pelvic floor muscles, and pull them up slightly. Hold the lock, but do not overstrain. This is the final position.
During the performance of mula bandha breathing is retained. Hold the bandha as long as you can retain your breath, but again, without much strain. The pelvic floor muscles should be strained well, but not over-strained. You shouldn’t feel too much discomfort during the practice.
To end the root lock practice, relax the pelvic floor muscles, slowly raise your head and exhale.
Moola bandha can be performed on empty lungs (when you exhale instead of inhaling in the beginning), or you can breathe normally while keeping the pelvic floor muscles contracted (this is normally done when you practice moola bandha for an extended period of time; in this case you don’t need to do jalandhara bandha).
How Long and How Often?
As I have mentioned above, the length of one session or cycle is how long you can hold your breath during the performance of the bandha. On a daily basis, do not do more than 10 sessions or cycles.
Mula Bandha Chakra
As the name says, the chakra you need to focus on is muladhara chakra.
Mula bandha is the contraction of the certain pelvic floor muscles not the whole perineum. Men should contract the muscles between the testes and anus. Women should contract the muscles behind the cervix, where the uterus projects into the vagina. This contraction acts as a trigger point to stimulate the function of mooladhara chakra.
I have described previously two techniques that help to do this bandha properly, namely ashwini mudra and vajroli mudra. You should practice them first to prepare the perineum muscles in general and the pelvic floor muscles for this bandha.
When you practice it within a yoga pose sequence, you can do it after poses (asana) and yoga breathing exercises (pranayama), but before meditation. The ideal way to practice it is to combine it with mudra and pranayama.
Mula Bandha Contraindications
The best way to do it is under the guidance of the experienced yoga practitioner or teacher. If you learn it yourself, then keep in mind that since moola bandha promotes the rapid energy growth, it may result in hyperactivity. People with high intracranial pressure or heart disease should not practice this bandha without an experienced instructor.
Mula Bandha Benefits
The regular and proper practice of mula bandha bestows many benefits on physical, mental and spiritual level. It makes apana vayu or the vital energy that is situated in the abdominal area to flow upward and to meet with prana vayu (the energy circulating in the area between heart and throat), which facilitates the Kundalini awakening.
It helps to maintain celibacy or Brahmacharya by sublimating the sexual energy, transferring it to the higher chakras. It tones the uro-genital and excretory systems, as well as the intestinal peristalsis. Asthma, bronchitis and arthritis can also be effectively addressed by this bandha.
On a spiritual lever there the realignment of the physical, mental and psychic bodies takes place. It also helps to relieve frustration and depression.
Mula Bandha in Pregnancy
It is especially beneficial when practiced regularly before the conceiving the child, because it is beneficial for fertility. But during the pregnancy it helps to prepare the muscles for easier delivery. It is also good for postpartum period. You can do it as a substitute for uddiyana bandha, which is usually not recommended during pregnancy.
Mula Bandha and Erectile Dysfunction
It can help with that problem. But make sure you have had a good preparation in a form of ashwini mudra and vajroli mudra, and your mula bandha is done properly; the same refers to ejaculation.
Mula Bandha and Hemorrhoids
It can help with hemorrhoids through the stimulation the particular muscles and restoring their normal functionality; you can also add a pigeon pose, a tree pose, and inversions as some people shared that they also helped.
The Purpose Of Mula Bandha
While it has lots of benefits, there is a subtle purpose behind it; mula bandha symbolizes the goal of yoga – to find and understand the cause or the root of the Creation (mula) through the practice and self-discipline.
OK, I hope you found it not so boring to read till this point! 😉 Good luck with your practice!