Jalandhara Bandha (throat lock) is one the first yoga bandhas
How to do Jalandhara Bandha – Throat Lock
- Sit in padmasana or siddha/siddha yoni asana with the head and spine straight. The knees should be in firm contact with the floor.
- Place the palms of the hands on the knees.
- Close the eyes and relax the whole body.
- Inhale slowly and deeply, and retain the breath inside. While retaining the breath, bend the head forward and press the chin tightly against the chest.
- Straighten the arms and lock them firmly into position, pressing the knees down with the hands.
- Simultaneously, hunch the shoulders upward and forward.
- This will ensure that the arms stay locked, thus intensifying the pressure applied to the neck.
- Stay in the final position for a few seconds to begin with. Do not strain.
- Relax the shoulders, bend the arms and slowly release the lock.
- Raise the head and then exhale.
- Repeat when the respiration has returned to normal.
- In kriya yoga a more simple and subtle form of jalandhara bandha is practised where the head is simply bent forward so that the chin presses the neck. This variation is commonly used in association with pranayama practices.
Breathing pattern while doing Jalandhara Bandha (Throat Lock)
- The practice is performed during internal retention. It may also be performed with external breath retention.
- Jalandhara bandha can be held for as long as the practitioner is able to comfortably retain the breath. Maintain a count while retaining the breath and gradually increase the count. This practice may be repeated up to 5 times.
- Physical – on the throat pit and sensations connected with breath retention.
- Spiritual – on vishuddhi chakra.
- This bandha is ideally performed in conjunction with mudras, bandhas and pranayamas.
- If practised on its own, it should be performed after asanas and pranayamas and before meditation.
Precautions while doing Jalandhara Bandha
- People suffering from cervical spondylosis, high intracranial pressure, vertigo, high blood pressure or heart disease should not practise jalandhara bandha.
- Although the neck lock reduces blood pressure, long retention of the breath strains the heart.
- Jalandhara is the first bandha to be taught as the effects are light and soothing. Refrain from the practice if any vertigo or dizziness arises.
Jalandhara Bandha Benefits
Jalandhara Bandha (throat lock) in yoga has the following benefits
- The full form of jalandhara bandha compresses the carotid sinuses, which are located on the carotid arteries, the main arteries in the neck.
- The simple variation exerts a subtler pressure. These sinuses help to regulate the circulatory and respiratory systems.
- Normally, a decrease in oxygen and increase in carbon dioxide in the body leads to an increased heart rate and heavier breathing.
- This process is initiated by the carotid sinuses. By exerting pressure on these sinuses, this tendency is prevented, allowing for decreased heart rate and increased breath retention.
- This practice produces mental relaxation, relieving stress, anxiety and anger.
- It develops meditative introversion and one-pointedness.
- The stimulus on the throat helps to balance thyroid function and regulate metabolism.
- Do not exhale or inhale until the chin lock and arm lock have been released and the head is fully upright. If suffocation is felt, end the practice and rest. Once the sensation has passed, resume the practice.
- The Sanskrit word jalan means ‘net’ and dhara means ‘stream ‘ or ‘flow’. One interpretation of jalandhara bandha is the lock which controls the network of nadis in the neck. The physical manifestation of these nadis is the blood vessels and nerves of the neck.
- An alternative definition is that jal means ‘water’. Jalandhara bandha is therefore the throat lock which holds the nectar or fluid flowing down to vishuddhi from bindu, and prevents it from falling into the digestive fire. In this way, prana is conserved.