Yoga Basics: Uddiyana Bandha

Recently, I started sharing some helpful tips on the internal body locks we can utilize in order to navigate our yoga practice with more ease and lightness. We started by feeling into the root lock, known as mula bandha, which is located at the base of the spine.

The second interior lock targets the space just above mula bandha. Translated to “upward-flying lock,” Uddiyana bandha (pronounced oo-dee-ahn-ah bahn-dah) massages and purifies the internal organs by lifting them inward and upward. Ultimately, you are compressing the belly.

A good way to understand which areas you will be targeting in uddiyana bandha is to practice a simple forearm plank. Notice the space under the navel where your abdomen engages; this area will compress inward and upward in uddiyana bandha.

Here’s a simple method to achieve that.

How To Engage Uddiyana Bandha:

  • Find a comfortable crosslegged position. Roll your shoulders back and down. Gently tilt your tailbone forward to eliminate the curvature in your lower spine. From there, raise your heart and the crown of your head upward, as if someone were gently pulling on their strings above you.
  • Tune into your breath, without changing anything. When you’re ready, inhale, and then exhale completely.
  • At the end of your exhale, compress your lower abdomen as if you were aiming to bring your navel flat against your spine. From there, gently lift this area upward (you may notice how this creates more space in your heart area to lift upward and outward). Hold this for a moment at the end of your exhale, then gently release and inhale normally. You did it!

Helpful tip: Because of the intense compression your internal organs may experience in this practice, it may be best to focus your efforts toward uddiyana bandha on an empty stomach.

As always, never do anything that does not feel right for your body. ❤

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