The Bandhas are energy “locks.” When we apply a lock to the energy in a particular region of our body, we allow the energy to build and be redirected. This redirecting of energy through the bandhas helps to optimize the effects of asana and channel prana.
There are 3 primary Bandhas:
Moola Bandha or “root lock” is engaged by drawing the pelvic floor or perineum up into the body. If you think of the body as a container, with energy both entering and leaving, this action closes off the bottom of the container, thus containing the energy in the body. Moola Bandha strengthens the pelvic floor and supports the reproductive organs, providing a strong foundation in a Yoga Practice.
Uddiyana Bandha or “abdominal lock” is applied through drawing the abdominal muscles back and up toward the spine. This action seals off the sides of our bodily container. Uddiyana Bandha helps to strengthen the abdomen and supports the low back.
Jalandhara Bandha or “throat lock” is applied through drawing the chin toward the top of the sternum. This seals the energy at the top of our bodily container and prevents too much energy from moving into the head (as in a breath retention or sarvangasana, shoulder stand).