The Mystical Bandham

By Rudra Shivananda

When elerudrashivanandainlilleoructricity is generated, it is necessary to have transformers, conductors, fuses, switches and so forth, to carry the power to its destination, otherwise it would be useless or harmful.  So also, when prana or life-force is made to flow in the yogi’s body, it is necessary for him to employ bandhas, to prevent the dissipation of energy and to transport it to the right places.  They are also practiced to awaken the potential kundalini power and direct its energy up the central channel, called sushumna nadi.

Bandha means ‘lock’, and in yoga, it refers to a posture in which certain parts of the body are controlled or contracted in some way.

These bandhas must be performed whenever there is forceful holding of breath during pranayama practices.

When performed together, these bandhas unite the upward moving life-force energy [prana] and the downward moving life-force energy [apana] and direct this powerful pranic current into the sushumna nadi, to awaken the kundalini shakti.

The bandham which is described here, mulabandha can be done individually, or together wit the other two major bandhas (uddhiyana and jalandhara) depending on the instructions of the yogic master.

Mulabandha [root lock]

The Sanskrit word mula means ‘root’ and refers to the region between the anus and the genitals (the perineum). Mulabandha can also be practiced without breath retention, by itself, or as a part of certain advanced meditations, with direct oral instructions.  What is given below, is the normal use of this lock, with breath retention.


Sit in a comfortable posture, preferably siddhasana or sukhasana, although the former is preferred, because of the effect of the heel being pressed against the perineum, which rouses the kundalini.

  • Inhale slowly and deeply.
  • At the same time, contract the internal and external (anal   sphincter) muscles, concentrating on a point just above this sphincter muscle (the perineum) and contracting it.
  • The breath is retained for a period of time, together with the contraction of the sphincter muscles and the perineum muscle.
  • Release the contraction of the internal and external sphincter muscles and the perineum, and then slowly exhale.

Mulabandha can also be held with external breath retention, that is after exhalation.  Whether internal or external, the forceful holding of breath, or kumbhaka should be held for only as long as is comfortable.  Do not strain.


This practice strengthens the reproductive glands, and the sphincter muscles of the anus, as well as increases vitality, while at the same time helping to maintain sexual self-control.


Normally, the senses open outwards, but with the practice of this bandha, they are made to flow up and inwards to meet the source – the Divine Hamsa Consciousness. [Hamsa means swan, and is the ancient yogic symbol for the Soul]

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