Jalandhara Bandha (Chin Lock) is one of the three main Bandhas or locks practised in yoga. It is practiced, either by itself or with the other two bandhas (Mula Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha), to manage the prana (breath) and mostly to increase strength and vitality.
It is also called the throat lock and what it does is restrict the upward flow of energy (prana). It is most often used during periods of breath retention (kumbhaka), but it can also be practiced without holding the breath.
Jalandhara Bandha Defined
As we say Jalandhara Bandha is a chin lock and is used by some as an essential part of the pranayama practice. It is mentioned and described in the ancient Hatha Yoga texts. Since yoga can get powerful, the bandhas are used with the pranayama practice to prevent any injuries to the practitioner, most notably to the nervous system.
Sometimes in yoga techniques are used which, instead of soothing the flow of energy, actually intensify it. These techniques get used to bring heat and vigor, rather than for cooling the body. They get used to harness the energy and, by restricting the “normal channels” or instead of allowing energy to flow along habitual pathways, they force it to assist in boosting stamina and vitality.
What It Does
The name comes from the Sanskrit terms: jal meaning “throat,” dharan, meaning “stream,” and bandha, meaning “lock.” So it is the Throat Lock and is done by locking the chin and throat. It also gets translated as “upward pulling net”.
Jalandhara Bandha controls the network of nadis (prana channels) in the neck.
These nadis are the blood vessels and nerves of the neck.
To practice the chin lock, you drop the chin to the base of the throat and lock it there. This prevents the prana energy from escaping the body through the energy channels known as nadis.
The three bandhas (mula, uddiyana and jalandhara) are used to contain the prana in the torso and concentrate it in the three main energy channels (nadis) of the body for increased strength and also a heightened awareness experience.
Jalandhara bandha can be performed alone or with the other two bandhas for a big dynamic effect. It should be practiced individually at first, and then it can be incorporated with the other bandhas, asanas, pranayamas and eventually mudras.
Altogether there are Three Bandhas:
Jalandhara Bandha and The Chakras
Jalandhara bandha can be performed in a physical and external manner engaging the skeletal muscles, and it can also be felt as a subtle and internal energetic process. With the internal energies this bandha can effect two main chakras: the third and the fifth chakras.
The Manipura Chakra
The third chakra is called the Manipura chakra which means “lustrous gem.” It is located around the navel area by the solar plexus and up to the breastbone.
It is a center of personal power, governing self-esteem, warrior energy, and the powers of transformation.
When the yogi does Jalandhara Bandha it causes the prana energy to redirect to the manipura chakra. As the seat of digestive fire, the manipura chakra regulates the functions of the pancreas and digestive organs.
The Manipura Chakra contains many precious jewels and gives us qualities like self-assurance and self-confidence, knowledge, bliss, clarity, and the wisdom to make good decisions.
The Vishuddha Chakra
Vissudha Chakra is the fifth chakra, located at the throat and is the purification center. Doing Jalandhara bandha engages and tones the neck muscles and also activates and energizes the Vishuddha chakra center.
Jalandhara bandha is a powerful energy lock that compresses and stimulates the sinuses which helps regulate and balance both the circulatory and respiratory systems. This bandhas throat pressure balances the thyroid gland and helps to regulate the metabolism.
It is a subtle process that works on the internal energy systems as it activates and energizes this visuddha chakra, which aids in communication, freedom and self-expression.
The Vishuddha Chakra is associated with the color blue and it helps with many things. Besides communication it helps with expression, faith and inspiration.
By practicing the Jalandhara bandha you can balance the Vissudha Chakra and gain virtues like creative expression, clear thinking and wisdom or even higher awareness.
This chakra is related to the thyroid and parathyroid glands and the yogi activates it by techniques like Ujjayi breath or practice of mantras like reciting the OM mantra.
You can tone this chakra to gain balance between heart and mind.
How To Do Jalandhara Bandha
To practice Jalandhara Bandha, assume a cross-legged seated position with the palms facing down on the knees. Three recommended poses are Padmasana, siddhasana or sukhasana.
Keep the spine straight and long, with the shoulders relaxed down and the sternum lifted.
Close your eyes, relaxing the body and breathe normally (slow and deep.)
Take a slow deep breath and hold the breath in.
Contracting the throat muscles, lower the chin to the chest and draw it in so the back of the neck stays long, then adjust the chin position so that it rests between the two collar bones.
You can straighten the arms and let the shoulders roll very slightly forward to deepen the lock in the throat.
Hold this position as long as you are comfortable with it. Don’t overdo the holding of the breath and don’t strain yourself. At first you might just hold the breath for a short while but, after time, you can extend the time of holding the breath. Some yogis can hold it longer than a minute.
Also you can practice this bandha with the stomach lock (Uddiyana Bandha) and it increases the effect and the power generated by these locks. Once again remember to be reasonable and don’t hold the breath for too long.
To release, bring the chin up first, relax the arms and exhale. Continue from there by taking normal breaths.
If you want to you can repeat this practice by doing additional rounds. To start you can do three rounds at a time and then slowly increase it to up to ten rounds over time.
Remember don’t overdo it and only hold the breath as long as is suitable. You can release the lock when you feel discomfort and then breathe normally.
Precautions for Jalandhara Bandha
Jalandhara Bandha should be avoided if you suffer from high blood pressure.
Also those suffering from heart diseases should avoid Jalandhara Bandha.
Stop doing this practice if you experience dizziness or vertigo.
Jalandhara Bandha is a very good yogic hold and has many benefits you can get from practicing it. It is good for concentration and is a good aid for centering yourself while doing it with attentive focus.
It is often used as part of pranayama practice and also gets used along with the other two bandhas (mula and uddiyana) to create a maha (great) bandha.
Channeling the prana with the bandhas also has the benefit of purification and with these practices you can get pure and raise your practice to the next level!
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