As one of the most important and powerful practices in all of yoga, the Moola Bandha lock, when practiced regularly, can make you great and masterful in the full spectrum of your life. How? Truth is, by lifting and engaging the perineum and bringing attention to the root of your being you are solidifying and strengthening your core essence. And this is key to pretty much everything.
Known as one of the “great mudras” in India, the Moola Bandha has a close cousin in the west known as Kegels. True, these practices aren't exactly the same, and only cis females can do Kegels, but they are close enough to draw a parallel.
In women, the contracting and “pulling up and in” of the vaginal walls and then releasing these same muscles (also accessed by stopping the flow of urine repeatedly) is known as Kegel exercises. The power of these simple movements cannot be underrated. Not only do Kegels strengthen the vaginal walls, making sex more pleasant for both parties, but Kegels also prepare the birth canal for birth.
In childbirth, if Kegels have been a regular practice throughout pregnancy, the ability to birth quicker and “bounce back” sooner is increased almost exponentially. It also brings greater awareness to the area of the body being worked with during birth, something most women can't possibly imagine ahead of time.
Sexual intercourse and the pleasure found therein can be greatly enhanced by the tightness of the vaginal walls, which regular practice of Kegel exercises provides. If Kegels are practiced with the addition of what is called a “yoni egg,” the results are multiplied ten-fold.
Like the Kegel muscle exercises, for the novice, the practice of stopping the flow of urine helps one to get in tune with the muscles involved in this ancient mudra. Eventually, it is noted that the bandha lock is not actually physical, but a psychic lock that is accessed after working with the contraction of physical muscles in the beginning.
The Bandha lock in the root chakra area does many things, including sending vital life force energy, known as the kundalini, up the spine to the pineal gland. Just this one practice alone is enough to stimulate all of the chakras to open and activate. In fact, it is said in many of the major yogic texts – including the Hatha Yoga Pradipika - that if only one practice were done toward the goal of enlightenment or Moksha, the Moola Bandha would be enough to achieve the desired results.
What is truly accessed beyond the physical lock by practicing the Moola Bandha is the opening of the psychic knot known as a granthi. There are three main granthis in the body (or psychic locks) and they correlate with the three major locks or bandhas performed in yoga: The Moola Bandha (in the root), Uddiyana Bandha (in the naval), and Jalandhara Bandha (in the throat). The three granthis are called Brahma – in the root, Vishnu – in the naval, and Rudra – in the throat. They represent the obstacles of consciousness that obstruct the flow of kundalini in the spine (and life itself) and therefore the awakening of the yogi.
Here is a brief description of each:
Brahma granthi is a psychic lock in the Moolandhara chakra which, when tight or blocked, shows up as over-attachment to physical things in the material world such as money, possessions and shelter – or fear of the lack of any of these things. It is the presiding element that contributes to ignorance and negativity. If a person has a blocked or closed Brahma granthi in their consciousness, they are likely holding attitudes of ignorance or negativity and act in ways that focus on fears surrounding money or possessions. By practicing the Moola Bandha lock, this granthi can be loosened, and therefore the attitude shifted.
Vishnu granthi is a psychic lock in the Manipura chakra which, when blocked, shows up in a person as a negative emotional state or over-attachment to people and ideologies. There is also the manifestation of fear and self-consciousness in a blocked or locked Manipura chakra with a tight Vishnu granthi. This is where co-dependency and controlling behaviors have their root. By practicing the Uddiyana Bandha, this granthi is loosened and therefore the attitude is adjusted toward a more trusting, creative and empowered one.
Rudra granthi is a psychic lock in Anja chakra – the third eye center. When this granthi is blocked or tight it shows up in a person as an overdeveloped sense of ego, delusions of grandeur, attachment to one's spiritual gifts or psychic phenomena. By loosening this granthi through the practice of Jalandhara bandha one can learn to transcend the ego and see life from the observer standpoint from which higher states of consciousness can be accessed.
Moola Bandha practice
Moola Bandha, the practice of locking the root with an inhale breath and releasing the lock with an exhale breath, is key in opening all of the granthis. In fact, without this first lock in place, it is less likely that the other granthis will loosen with as much ease.
The Maha Mudra
Utilizing all three of the previously aforementioned main bandha locks, the maha mudra has been deemed “the great lock” and super potent at helping the body to release all the psychic barriers to awakening. This powerful mudra starts with the engagement of the Moola Bandha and then holds this lock with an inhale breath as the other two locks are engaged and held. With eyes turned upward toward the third eye center and all three bandha locks engaged, the kundalini energy of the body is sent right to the pineal gland and multiple body functions are brought on-line which are otherwise dormant.
The brain lights up, chakras open and align, glands balance and drain and hormones are released into the system, which turn one's consciousness upwards. The release of DMT in the brain is said to occur with regular practice of the Maha Mudra.
What does this all mean?
Well, when engaging in this practice, peace envelops the body. One is able to approach life with less or no stress, as a trust comes over you along with a sense of knowing that something greater is guiding this whole thing. The feeling of being rooted or “grounded” in this reality while at the same time connected to the higher powers of creation is felt and sometimes...when this all lands in the body juxtaposed by previously not feeling this way – it can be a little shocking to the system.
I often experience altered states of mind with only one Maha Mudra or 20 or more consecutive Moola Bandha locks. Be prepared to experience rapid advancements in your practice and in your day-to-day awarenesses. The yogi who regularly practices Moola Bandha locks (without even engaging the other locks or granthis) will notice a better functioning digestive system, increased circulation to the legs and feet, more energy and better sleep. Not only does the physical body seem to suddenly “work better,” but your connections to other people, on an emotional level improve, too. Together, this all spells out: amped up spiritual bliss, great relationships and fantastic sex. For starters.
As you can see, the great and powerful Moola Bandha lock is key to know and practice if you are serious about your yogic path (or any path really) and the awakening of your consciousness. For the good of all.