July 1, 2013

A Glimpse of My Bandhas. ~ Judith Andersson

Years ago, when I first discovered yoga, I signed up for a beginners class not really knowing what to expect.

Some kind of movement, maybe—but instead of guiding our stiff bodies through movements, the teacher (a classically schooled ashtanga practitioner) kept us seated for the full hour.

Straighten the back, tuck the chin she dictated, deep inhale, complete exhale.

The weeks went by and she continued to drill us in ujjayi pranayama (yogic breath) followed by detailed instructions on how to “find” the bandhas (energy locks), before she finally let us move through our very first vinyasa.

All this talk of imagined threads and the idea of sucking ones anus in to the body (mula bandha), tucking the chin to the chest (jalandhara bandha) and not least the “lift” of the abdomen (uddiyana bandha) was confusing to say the least, but somehow all the seemingly meaningless breathing and pumping of the belly appeared to bring a sense of awareness of my body that was enough to make me return to class.

Even though it’s been ages since that first breathing drill, I’m still grateful for the thoroughness of my first teacher. Yes, I still struggle to engage my bandhas and No, I don’t fool my self to believe that I understand half of it (honestly, I’m often times completely ignorant of their existence).

But occasionally—on a good day—coached by a dedicated teacher or breathing with intention on my kitchen floor, it’s all coming back to me, the connection that makes my body open up and move with an ease I didn’t know possible—that’s when I get a glimpse of my bandhas. 

I know that there’s a discussion in the yoga world on when to introduce ujjayi pranayama or whether to even talk about bandhas.

If you already been introduced or just struggleled to grasp that “sucking” sensation of uddiyana bandha (which I believe to be the hardest one to grasp for most of us) these videos might be something for you:


What are your thoughts and experiences? Please share in the comments below.


Judith Andersson is an Abyssinian Viking, gardener wannabe, death metal fan, yoga student and elephant journal editing apprentice. A lover of everything organic she’s often found experimenting—with sour dough in the kitchen on the quest of making the perfect injera—with the plants in her micro garden—and the abilities of her own body, on and of the mat.



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Ed: Bryonie Wise


{Photo: via Pinterest}

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