There are certain combinations of muscle contractions that are called Bhandas or Locks. Each lock has a function of changing blood circulation, nerve pressure and the flow of cerebral spinal fluid. They also direct the flow of psychic energy and prana into the main energy channels that relate to raising Kundalini energy. The Bhandas concentrate the body’s energy expanding the
awareness and producing self-healing.
Jalandhara Bhanda, or Neck Lock, is the most common of the Bhandas. Normally used in all meditative, easy pose Asanas. The Neck Lock is produced by pulling the neck and throat back so that the chin rests in or near the notch between the collar bones, making sure that at the same time the head stays level without tilting forward. It is important that the spine and the neck
straighten to allow the increased flow of pranic energy to travel freely up to the upper glandular centers of the brain, opening up the pranic Nadis (nerve channels) that may be blocked.
Mul Bhanda, the Root Lock, is frequently used in Kundalini Yoga. It involves pulling in the rectum, sex organs and navel point all at the same time, generating the psychic heat that can release the Kundalini energy. This lock can be applied on the inhale or exhale, as specified in the exercises. This lock unites the two major energy flows of the body: Prana and Apana. (Prana is the generative energy of the upper Chakras, the 4th and 5th; and Apana is the eliminating energy of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Chakras. The first part of the Mul Bhanda is to contract the rectum and draw it in and up as if trying to hold back abowel movement. Then draw up on the sex organs as if trying to hold back from urinating. Lastly, pull in the navel point by drawing back the lower abdomen towards the spine so the rectum and sex organs are drawn up toward the navel point.
Uddiyana Bhanda, the Diaphragm Lock, is considered to be a powerful lock as it allows the pranic force to transform through the central nerve channel of the spine up into the neck region. It is normally applied on the exhalation. The spine should be straight, lift the diaphragm up high into the thorax and pull the upper abdominal muscles back toward the spine. This creates a cavity, which gently massages the heart muscles. This Bhanda gives a sense of compassion and youthfulness to the entire body.
Maha Bhanda is the application of all three locks (Jalandhara, Uddiyana and Mul Bhanda) all at the same time. When you apply this lock, the nerves and glands are rejuvenated. This Bhanda relieves sexual tension, regulates blood pressure, reduces menstrual cramps and increases flow of circulation to the lower glands, i.e., the testes and ovaries.