Uddiyana Bandha (abdominal contraction) is the third bandha.
How to do Uddiyana Bandha – Abdominal contraction
Preparatory practice: Standing abdominal contraction
- Stand erect with the feet about half a metre apart.
- Inhale deeply through the nostrils.
- Bend forward from the waist and exhale all the air through the mouth.
- Empty the lungs as much as possible.
- Hold the breath outside.
- Keep the spine horizontal and bend the knees slightly. Place the palms of the hands on the thighs just above the knees, so that the knees are supporting the weight of the upper body.
- The fingers can point either downward or inwards. Make sure the arms are straight.
- In this position there is an automatic contraction of the abdominal region.
- Bend the head forward, but do not press the chin against the chest.
- Make a false inhalation, keeping the glottis closed and expanding the chest, as though breathing in but not actually taking in air.
- Straighten the knees.
- This movement will automatically draw the abdomen upward and inward towards the spine to form uddiyana bandha.
- Hold this position for a comfortable length of time.
- Do not strain.
- Release the abdominal lock and relax the chest.
- Raise the head and torso to the upright position.
- Exhale slightly to release the lock on the lungs and fmally inhale slowly through the nose.
- Remain in the standing position until the breath returns to normal before beginning the next round.
Uddiyana Bandha (abdominal contraction)
- Sit in siddha/siddha yoni asana or padmasana with the spine erect and the knees in contact with the floor.
- Place the palms of the hands flat on the knees.
- Close the eyes and relax the whole body.
- Inhale deeply through the nostrils. Exhale fully.
- Hold the breath outside.
- Lean forward and press down on the knees with the palms ofthe hands.
- Straighten the elbows and raise the shoulders, allowing further extension of the spinal cord.
- Practise jalandhara bandha, pressing the chin against the chest.
- Contract the abdominal muscles inward and upward.
- Hold the abdominal lock and the breath outside for as long as you can without straining.
- Then release the abdominal lock, bend the elbows and lower the shoulders.
- Raise the head and then slowly inhale.
- Remain in this position until the respiration returns to normal, then begin the next round.
- Uddiyana bandha is performed with external breath retention only.
- Practise 3 rounds in the beginning and gradually increase to 10 rounds over a few months as the system becomes accustomed to the practice.
- Physical – on the abdomen and breath.
- Spiritual – on manipura chakra.
- Uddiyana bandha is easier to perform if preceded by an inverted asana. It 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 Uddiyana Bandha – Abdominal contraction
- Uddiyana bandha is an advanced technique and should be attempted only under the guidance of a competent teacher.
- It should be practised after attaining proficiency in external breath retention, and jalandhara and moola bandhas.
- Persons suffering from colitis, stomach or intestinal ulcer,diaphragmatic hernia,.major abdominal problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, glaucoma and raised intracranial pressure should not perform this practice. It should also be avoided during pregnancy.
Uddiyana Bandha Benefits
- Uddiyana bandha is a panacea for the abdomen. It stimulates the function of the pancreas and liver and strengthens the internal organs.
- The digestive fire is stimulated and the abdominal organs are massaged and toned.
- The adrenal glands are balanced, removing lethargy and soothing anxiety and tension. It improves blood circulation throughout the torso.
- Uddiyana bandha stimulates the solar plexus, which has many subtle influences on the distribution of energy throughout the body.
- It creates a suction pressure which reverses the energy flow of apana and prana, uniting them with samana and stimulating manipura chakra.
- Uddiyana bandha must be practised on an empty stomach. The bowels should also be empty. Agnisara kriya is an excellent preparatory practice.
- The sanskrit word uddiyana means ‘to rise up’ or ‘to fly upward’.
- This practice is so called because the physical lock applied to the body causes the diaphragm to rise towards the chest. Uddiyana is therefore often translated as the stomach lift. Another meaning is that the physical lock helps to direct prana into sushumna nadi so that it flows upward to sahasrara chakra.