Mula Bandha or the Root Lock is one of the three main Bandhas or yogic locks practiced by yogis. Mula in Sanskrit means ‘root’ or ‘base’ and Bandha means a lock. Mula Bandha means the root lock and is mentioned in the yogic texts Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, Gheranda Samhita and the Siva Samhita. Mula Bandha is said to activate the Muladhara Chakra thereby stimulating the Kundalini Shakti at the base of the spine.
Mula Bandha is categorized as a Mudra or yogic gesture in both the classical texts Hatha Yoga pradeepika and the Gheranda Samhita. As a Mudra it helps to channelize pranic energy in a certain way. But the terminology Bandha refers more to the energy lock that it creates.
The men, the spot for contraction is below or inside the perineum.
For women, the spot for contraction is near the cervix.
How to do Mula Bandha (The Root Lock)?
- Sit in Siddhasana, the accomplished pose. Women can use the Siddha yoni asana. In this asana the left heel is pressed against the perineum close to the anus and the right heel is placed on the genital organ.
- Relax the whole body and breathe naturally. Keep the spine straight.
- Gently contract the perineal / vaginal region and then release it slowly. During contraction, pull up the entire pelvic floor and then release it. Do this slowly and rhythmically.
- Repeat it as long as you are comfortable. Breathe normally throughout the practice.
- In stage 1 the contraction involves all the muscles of the anal region, the perineum and the urinary region. In stage 2, the practitioner learns to separate out the perineal muscles from rest of the muscles in the pelvic region.
- Try to contract just the perineal/vaginal muscles slowly. Hold it for few seconds and then release them. Do this slowly and rhythmically. This is said to be the location of the Muladhara Chakra.
- Continue the practice till one master this before moving on to stage 3.
- In stage 3, inhale deeply and hold the breath. Contract the perineal/vaginal muscles slowly and then hold it tightly. This is the final stage of Mula Bandha.
- Maintain the contraction for as long as you are comfortable. Remember that you have your breath held inside. Maintain the contraction only as long as you can hold the breath comfortably inside. Then release the breath along with the perineal muscles.
- Take few breaths in between to relax.
- Repeat this process as many times as you are comfortable.
- Stage 4 should be practiced only by advanced seekers under guidance of a yoga expert. In this stage, the perineal contraction is maintained for a prolonged period of time, which can vary from few minutes to few hours. During this process, the breath is not held inside. Instead the practitioner can takes slow and shallow breaths throughout the process, while maintaining the contraction. During this process many hidden psychic patterns can be released and the practitioner should maintain a detached witness attitude.
Practice of Mula Bandha should be learned from a spiritual teacher. It can create an awakening of the lower psychic centers which can release of lot of sexual energy. The practitioner should have guidance from a competent spiritual Guru during this time to overcome the obstacles during the practice. The released energy should be effectively channeled to higher psychic centers for spiritual growth, else it may create mental problems for the practitioner.
During this practice many practitioners have difficulty correctly locating the Muladhara Chakra. It is easy to find. For men, the muscles for contraction is between the anus and the testes. For women, it is at the opening to the womb, at a spot where the uterus meets the vagina, behind the cervix. However, Women should avoid practicing Mula Bandha during their menstruation.
During the initial stages, practitioners might find it difficult to separate out the perineal muscles from the anal and genital muscles. This can be overcome by practicing Ashwini mudra (anal contraction) and Vajroli mudra (genital contraction) separately.
Benefits of Mula Bandha (The Root Lock)
- Mula Bandha massages the entire pelvic region including the urinary, excretory and genital organs.
- It can stimulate intestinal peristalsis and relieves constipation.
- It is good for anal fissures, piles and some ulcers.
- It stimulates the pelvic nerves which has an effect on the entire body.
- Hatha Yoga Pradepika says that practice of Mula Bandha prevents the Apana vayu from going downwards. The Apana Vayu rises upwards and joins with the Prana Vayu. This increases the heat in the body. This increase in heat helps to awaken the sleeping Kundalini Shakti and it rises along the spine after entering the opening at the base of the spine. The text prescribes that yogis should always practice Mula bandha.
- Mula Bandha releases lot of energy and this effects the body and the brain.
- It can help to relieve depression.
- Mula Bandha helps in the practice of celibacy or Brahmacharya.
- It also helps to remove many sexual disorders. It helps to channel the sexual energy upwards for spiritual growth. The expansion of the energy removes sexual frustrations and guilt. It can balance and remove many sexual perversions formed over a period of time.
- The Muladhara chakra is located below the spine. Practice of Mula Bandha stimulates the nadis (energy channels) that carry prana up to the brain. It awakens the Muladhara chakra and the corresponding centre in the brain.
- The yogic text Gheranda Samhita says that Mula Bandha when performed with Siddhasana can help to overcome the process of aging. It also says that it takes a practitioner beyond Samsara or worldly existence and should therefore be practiced in a lonely place. It is said to give certain siddhis and hence should be practiced in secrecy.
- Hence we see that benefits of Mula Bandha is seen across body, the prana and the mind. It can awaken certain brain centers and produce an expansion of consciousness. The practitioner experiences a higher dimension which is reflected in his thought patterns and external behaviour.