JALANDHARA BANDHA (THROAT LOCK) – Position

Jalandhara bandha can be done in a large number of different positions. The best positions are padmasana, siddhasana or siddha yoni asana. In kriya yoga it will be necessary to practise jalandhara bandha while sitting in siddhasana or siddha yoni asana. At this stage however, you can practise in any pose that you find comfortable. This includes ardha padmasana, swastikasana and vajrasana3. It is essential that the knees touch the ground, therefore sukhasana is not suitable. Jalandhara bandha can also be done in the standing position but this is not so commonly used.

Your aim should be to eventually master jalandhara bandha while doing either padmasana, siddhasana or siddha yoni asana.

 

Technique

Fake a comfortable sitting pose.

Make sure the knees are firmly in contact with the ground.

Place the palms of your hands on the knees.

Close the eyes.

Relax the whole body.

Inhale deeply.

Retain the breath inside the lungs.

Then bend the head forwards and press the chin tightly against the chest, in particular against the sternum.

Straighten your arms so that they are locked; that is, you have to gently but firmly push your elbows towards each other as though you are trying to bend your arms inwards instead of outwards.

Your hands should remain on the knees.

This action will tend to intensify the pressure applied in the region of the neck.

Simultaneously, hunch your shoulders upwards and forwards – this will help to ensure that the straight arms are firmly locked.

Stay in the final position for as long as you can comfortably hold your breath.

Then relax the shoulders.

Bend the arms outwards and release the lock.

Slowly raise your head. Then exhale. This is 1 round.

Breathe normally.

When your breathing rate returns to normal you can repeat another round.

Note: This practice can also be done with the breath exhaled immediately before doing the bandha. That is, it can be done with the breath retained externally.

Awareness

Maintain awareness on the region of the throat and on mental counting of the duration of breath retention.

Precautions

Don’t exhale or inhale, whatever the case may be, until you have released the chin lock, arm lock and the head is raised. Slowly develop the length of breath retention over a period of time. This will allow your body mechanism to slowly adapt and accustom itself to the new duties. Don’t strain under any circumstances.

Number of rounds

You can do as many rounds as you wish providing you experience absolutely no discomfort. Beginners should slowly increase the number of rounds, starting from five.

Conjunction with other practices

As we have already pointed out, jalandhara bandha can be combined with various other practices of yoga. It is particularly suitable and powerful when combined with nadi shodhana pranayama. In your daily yoga program, it is best to practise jalandhara bandha after asanas and immediately before meditational practices. This will help you to relax, and also to be attentive and awake, allowing you to gain the most out of the meditative techniques.

Limitations

People who suffer from high blood pressure or heart ailments should not do jalandhara bandha. Though it initially reduces blood pressure, the release of the bandha brings some fluttering of the heart.

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