Now it is time to integrate uddiyana bandha with nadi shodhana pranayama. But we don’t want you to strain. You should only combine them if you can do the previous pranayama practice easily and without effort. There should be no intense exertion. In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika it says: “If inhalation, exhalation and breath retention are done slowly and rhythmically, then you will achieve success.”
(2:18) Take note of this advice and follow it.
Nadi Shodhana – Stage 4 With Uddiyana Bandha
Uddiyana bandha, like all the bandhas, is associated with control of prana. It acts directly on the navel area (manipura chakra) which is the centre or storehouse of prana. It is therefore a very important technique. Stimulation of the navel area can lead to redistribution of prana throughout the entire body, and can lead directly to tranquillity and clarity of mind. It renders the mind in a fit state for meditative techniques and the spontaneous occurrence of meditation. Combined with pranayama, it becomes an especially powerful practice.
In the previous two lessons on pranayama we suggested that you practise a ratio of 1:8:6:2: 1:8:6:2 for inhalation: inner retention: exhalation: outer retention: inhalation: inner retention: exhalation: outer retention respectively. These were combined with jalandhara bandha with both inner and outer breath retention. If you have mastered this stage then proceed to the next stage.
Using the same ratio practise uddiyana bandha during external breath retention only, combined with jalandhara bandha.
If you find this new practice too difficult then we suggest that you practise nadi shodhana pranayama and uddiyana bandha separately. That is, practise uddiyana bandha as described in this lesson1, and nadi shodhana pranayama as previously described. Or as an alternative you can reduce the duration of inhalation, exhalation and retention. We emphasize again: take care not to strain. If you feel any suffocation then stop the practice.