Children’s birthday parties are usually accompanied by an excessive amount of jelly (or is that jello) and ice-cream, added to the concoction is the odd magicians trick and abracadabra you have the perfect party, well certainly that’s the case here in the UK. The picture of a Gynecologist and Yoga teacher in a Medic V’s Yogic attempt to rebuild the entire nations pelvic floor muscles isn’t what you would usually expect. However say no more ” Mission Mula Bandha ” is about to begin.
Mission Mula Bandha.
Having trained in various Yoga traditions over the past 20 years and taught a variety of people from all walks of life, when it comes to this gem of a pelvic lock I get the feeling that teachers and teacher trainers would rather run for the mountains than confront it’s complexities. Is this due to some kind of embarrassment or lack of knowledge on the subject? As teachers is it not part of our duty to look at our own fears and uncertainties and deal with the subject in hand? This particular Bandha is the mother of all Bandha’s and the advantages certainly out weigh any need for embarrassment. I’ll put my hands up and say that without my own study on the subject, without my own personal Sadhana and understanding of the Bandha’s it would have taken me a great deal longer to get to grips with Mula Bandha let alone teach it to my students. So part of this mission is to dispel a few myths and hopefully make Mula Bandha your friend (not your enemy) for life.
Let us begin by putting simplicity into practice. We all relate to the perfect duos in life such as Tea and Cake, Fish and Chips, Fred and Ginger or how about the super heroes Batman and Robin. This crazy analogy isn’t as crazy as it seems, it certainly made me realise how important Mula Bandha was in relation to my own Yoga practice and the way in which it has influenced my teaching skills. Personally I believe Yoga without Mula Bandha just isn’t the same. Mula Bandha is a vital part of Yoga practice and it offers a wealth of mental, physical and spiritual benefits. On a more subtle level it’s a technique that works on channelling the energy associated with Muladhara Chakra, in other words our root or base chakra which represents the stage of consciousness where all basic survival needs are met. This includes Brahma Granthi, the energetic knot which governs our resistance to change. Other Benefits Include:
- Balancing and tuning of the whole pelvic region
- Stimulation of intestinal peristalsis
- Relieves constipation and those dreaded piles
- Helps in the healing of pelvic infections, prostatic hypertrophy and ulcers
What Does it all Mean and How Does it Work?
The basic meaning of Mula Bandha is pelvic contraction. Mula is to root or to firmly fix, in this context it refers to the root of the spine or Muladhara Chakra, the seat where the Kundalini is located. Mula Bandha is a vital source of energy release, practiced regularly in Kundalini Yoga to assist with the rising of Kundalini Energy. It’s effects generate the whole body via the brain and the Endocrine System making it extremely beneficial when dealing with asthma, bronchitis and even arthritis. Naturally Mula Bandha becomes a solid foundation for the breath, it helps to establish and control the breathing within the torso, balancing the connection between our higher selves and the part of us that’s connected to the earth plain. Not only is Mula Bandha the perfect way to control the pelvic floor, one of it’s key functions is to help in attaining sexual control or Brahmacharya, which makes it a wonderful aid when dealing with sexual frustration or disfunction, but we’ll save that one for another article, so let’s move on.
Dismissing the Myth.
Reading a number of books and articles on the subject I’ve noticed that there’s a variety of ways in which Mula Bandha is explained, so I’m assuming this will effect the way in which it is taught, right?Like Chinese whispers, if somethings taught in a specific way and then passed on with a few added twists and turns the teaching becomes detached from it’s true origin. Not to say that this is wrong but without getting too controversial, I’d like to introduce Mula Bandha the way I have come to know and love it, so please share your comments and suggestions below. Initially the area of Mula Bandha is difficult to locate and isolate, this is why teachers often recommend that Ashwini and Vajroli Mudra are perfected first in preparation for Mula Bandha itself. Ashwini Mudra is the contraction of the Anal Sphincter and Vajroli Mudra the contraction of the Urethra muscles. These 2 particular mudras should not be mistaken as part of Mula Bandha as they are separate mudras in their own right. When practiced correctly Mula Bandha has the ability to blend the Prana and Apana at the navel centre. When Mula Bandha is applied Apana is redirected downwards into Muladhara the first chakra and at this point it joins the pranic flow of energy at the navel point. When the 2 energies meet then Tapas is created (and i dont mean the typical Spanish culinary delights) the Sanskrit name for heat. The heat from these 2 combined energies penetrates the entrance of Sushmuna the central energy channel causing it to open, allowing the energy to rise up the spine stimulating and increasing spinal fluid.
In Time Refine.
With time, practice and a bit of perseverance Mula Bandha will become a natural process. The Perineum area is located between the anus and the genitals and the final step to help refine your Mula Bandha is to learn to isolate this point. Imagine the Perineum to be like a crossroads or a map for all the nerves in the pelvic region. When this area is balanced and stimulated correctly it can then send impulses from Muladhara Chakra all the way through the spinal cord. To receive the full benefits of Mula Bandha the Levator Ani muscle must be contracted. This muscle is the inner most layer of the pelvic floor which extends from the pubis to the coccyx and supports the uterus, bladder and the upper half of the vagina the prostate and rectum. Apart from being the equivalent of a ‘Pelvic Scaffolding’ it also helps to regulate the bowel. With the inability to physically demonstrate Mula Bandha in a class situation we rely on accurate instruction and the ability to be sensitive and connected to our internal bodies. This is often easier said than done especially for those who may be new to the Yoga path. The best advice I can give is to allow yourself to ‘feel’ with total awareness and by staying mindful, connected and focused it will help you achieve your Mula Bandha Mission. Not forgetting to Relax, Smile and Enjoy.