Flying Upward to Infinity and Beyond – Uddiyana Bandha

Uddiyana-bandha-yogaUddiyana Bandha which means “Flying Upward” is the second of three energetic locks in the body. It is often engaged along with Mula Bandha (read my article here on the “root lock” Mula Bandha)

benefits:

1. Strengthens the core muscles as when breathing this way the transverse abdominals are strongly engaged.

2. Stimulates the organs of digestion and elimination

3. Creates a lightness in yoga practice especially when practicing balancing postures including inversions and arm balances.

Caution:

Not recommended if you are pregnant, are trying to get pregnant, have high blood pressure or experience dizziness. This is considered an advanced breathing technique so if you are new to yoga try it under the guidance of an experienced yoga teacher.

To practice Uddiyana Bandha

1.Stand with the legs a little wider than hip width apart and knees softly bent.

2. Inhale reach the arms overhead

3. Exhale all of the breath out through the nose, lean forward, press the palms into the knees, and engage the abdominal muscles to strongly pull the belly in and up under the ribcage.

4. Hold the breath as you hold the abdominal lock and take a mock inhale (perform the same action of an inhale without actually pulling any air into the body.) drawing the belly further up and in.

5. Hold for as long as comfortable.

6. Inhale soften the abdominals and let the belly drop.

7. Breath in and out through the nose and let the breath return to normal.

8. Beginners start with 3 rounds eventually working up to as many as 10 rounds for advanced practitioners.

Yoga and Your Core: How to Strengthen + Stabilize With The Breath

negative_pressure_breathing the mechanics of breathing diagram

Although we will are constantly breathing we give little thought to what is actually happening.

Let’s take a look…

Step 1. Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Step 2. Place your left hand on your belly and your right hand on your chest
Step 3. Breathe in a long, slow deep inhale through your nose. Notice how this will encourage a slight backbend in your lower back.
Step 4. Exhale slowly controlling the the exhale so it is long, slow and silky. Observe how this causes the lower back to flatten slightly.

What is happening:

On The Inhale:
The Diaphragm contracts (drawns down)

  • The sides of your body expand
  • The chest lifts
  • The back ribs expand
  • The belly expands
  • The pelvic floor muscles move down

On The Exhale:
The Diaphragm releases

  • The belly releases
  • The abdomen draws in
  • The ribs draw in and down
  • The pelvic floor lifts

Conclusion: The exhale has a stabilizing effect on your bodies core muscles when you engage in conscious breathing.