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  • Never feel forced. Yoga should be gentle and healing
  • Stop the practice immediately if a headache, pain in the heart region, or dizziness occurs.

    Classically tri-banda or bandhas three (traya-bandha) is the utilization of the three major bandhas of mulabandha, uddiyana bandha, and jalandhara bandha within an overall sequenced order. Classically mulabandha is usually performed first, then uddiyana, then lastly jalandhara. Most often we release jalandhara first and mulabandha last (the reverse order of application). This is a good rule to learn at first, with the foreknowledge that all these rules are artificial, they are to be broken as one advances and authentic wisdom through functional and effective practice supplants mere rules of thumb. Also the advanced student should realize that there exist many variations of the bandhas in conjunction with the various pranayama, mudra and visualization techniques. For example we have already previously stated that an energetic mulabandha can and should be held all the time, but in the beginning the bandhas are given both in their coarse external form and in a sequential order. Indeed it assumed that the beginner has already learned the kriyas, especially aswini mudra, vajroli mudra, sthula basti, agni sara, and nauli kriya.

    At the end of this chapter we have introduced additional adjunctive bandhas, so while utilizing these additional bandhas a rule of thumb is to apply the bandhas from the bottom up, and release them from the top down. Thus first mula, swadhi, nabhi, uddiyana, hri, jalandhara, and ajna bandhas -- in this case the order is usually best initiated from a firm base upward. If performed energetically the bandhas need not be a strain at all and can be held indefinitely, however such a presentation is not the classical written presentation (which is the gross and external). Especially jalandhara bandha is only given during kumbhaka (retention) and never held while the breath is moving i.e., it is released at the end of retention before the breath starts to move. In this section we will discuss

    Here we will limit our discussion to the various implementations of tri-bandha which is a very valuable application for pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, mudra, and meditation practice. It cures both a wandering mind and a sleepy mind (both diseases of either rajas or tamas). Try doing all the bandhas all together in the following sequence, not only during meditation, asana, and pranayama practice, but even during the day while walking, sitting, and working.

    Again the general rule of thumb is to perform mulabandha first. Most of the time perform uddiyana second. Then jalandhara lastly. Always release jalandhara first and mulabandha last. As we reiterate often the subtle form of mulabandha can be done anytime/all the time (in other words we do not release mulabandha at all). It doesn't ever have to be released, while classically jalandhara is usually not recommended while the breath is moving (only applied during retention (kumbhaka). The preceding is good advice for the beginner who may first learn to apply a tight jalandhara bandha which restricts the breath at the throat and neck in practicing kumbhaka (breath and energy retention), but we wish to point out at the same time the existence of a more subtle and energetic jalandhara bandha, which also can be applied anywhere/all the time. For example, the subtle motion of jalandhara bandha can be applied in any asana so that one who may have the tendency to jut out their too far forward and upward (which causes an undesirable compression at the back of the neck) will benefit by bringing the chin inward and down toward the throat and at tech same time creating more space between the occiput and the top of the shoulders. This movement of jalandhara bandha can be used to alleviate neck tension when done with a soft throat, but if one already has a flat neck, a reversed curvature at the neck, or other abnormalities of the s like curve at the cervical region, then more customized directions are suitable, thus the above can only be stated as a general rule of thumb. For example many people tend to compress the back of their neck in backward bends, but not all while some people may overly flatten the back of their necks in sarvangasana (shoulder stand) and halasana (plough pose), but their are many exceptions. In this regard a a "good" teacher may be a reasonable substitute until the lacking "self knowledge" is attained. This is true for all kriya, asana, bandha, pranayama, and mudra practice.

    Tribandha is very valuable for mudra, pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, and meditation practice. As mentioned above, tribandha not only cures both a wandering mind and a sleepy mind (both diseases of rajas or tamas) and thus is excellent as a counteractive remedy in meditation practice, but it goes further in balancing the doshas and winds, balancing prana and apana -- the ha and the tha of hatha yoga. It increases rajas energy if it is lacking and moves it through the system if it has accumulated to excess in any one spot and been blocked. Bandhas help to move the energy through all the energy centers and as mentioned above can be said to pierce the three psycho/physical knots (granthis) which block the three realms of existence. Tri-bandha or trayabandha specifically draws the energy into the the muladhara chakra and from there into the sushumna (central column) and it is thus the forerunner of the advanced pranamaya practice of vase breathing and the mudra practice of tummo heat. As such the practice of the bandhas are often called a fire practice. Indeed it is closely related to tapas (turning up the heat) in many respects.

    As indicated throughout this book. Traya (traya means the three) bandha in its subtle energetic form can be implemented throughout asana practice and throughout the day and night. They also occur spontaneously when one is naturally aligned with Source or as Grace. Traditionally the three bandhas (Traya bandha) as used in pranayama practice is as follows.

    Very Simple traditional tribandha (trayabandha)
  • Exhale all the breath out applying mulabandha, uddiyana bandha, and cap it off with jalandhara bandha in that order. Play with accentuating mula and uddiyana bandha here. Hold the breath out while the torso and spine remains long.
  • Release jalandhara first, then uddiyana, then mulabandha, as you inhale drawing the air down into the lower abdomen as the diaphragm and abdomen expands.
  • At the end of the inhale apply mulabandha first and then cap it off with jalandhara bandha (binding the prana inside) while lifting the spine and torso (crown raises up toward the heavens).
  • Increase this inner and feeling of internal space playing with mulabandha and jalandhara bandha while holding the breath in (antar kumbhaka) without any strain.
  • Before any tension or stress (or when the lift has peaked) , then release the jalandhara bandha first, then the breath and mulabandha, while implementing uddiyana bandha slowly until all the air has been expelled.
  • Repeat as in 1 above 10 times.
  • Be gentle and go for the vital healing energy.

    Sequence of traya bandha with antar kumbhaka (internal retention) utilizing mulabandha throughout:
  1. Exhale all the breath out applying mulabandha, uddiyana bandha, and cap it off with jalandhara bandha in that order. Play with accentuating mula and uddiyana bandha here. Hold the breath out while the torso and spine remains long.
  2. Release jalandhara first, then uddiyana as you inhale.
  3. At the cap of the inhale, bind it with jalandhara bandha and lift the spine and torso even more with an uddiyana bandha and gentle accentuation of mulabandha.
  4. Release the cap of jalandhara bandha first, then the breath
  5. Repeat as in 1 above
    Another way to perform the above is to hold the jalandhara bandha all the time (never unlocking it). Just make sure that the glottis is open and the throat and neck muscles are not tight nor stressed. In other words both jalandhara and mulabandha are implemented throughout and the practice becomes more of a pranayama practice. Some schools teach jalandhara bandha to include the forced closing of the glottis, but in this specific version there is no tension or holding at the throat or glottis, but merely the chin comes in toward the sternal notch while the back of the neck elongates.

    This is the simple version that I like to give in a mixed class:
    Here mulabandha is implemented throughout, but jalandhara is manipulated, while uddiyana bandha changes from a subtle implementation (on the inhalation) to a more physical coarse implementation on the exhalation:
  1. Inhale through the nose while visualizing the prana coming in from Infinite Source through the crown of the head through the entire body down into the muladhara in a subtle wavelike motion.
  2. After the full inhalation is complete apply mulabandha and then top off the retention of breath with jalandhara bandha to hold the breath in (antar kumbhaka).
  3. Then smoothly release the jalandhara bandha first, while spontaneously starting a gradual uddiyana bandha to expel all the air out moving the apana in an upward motion starting in the lower abdomen, through the torso, to the top of the head melting any hardness and purifying any poisons.
  4. Inhale again as in one and repeat this tribandha visualization practice 10 times
    Since uddiyana bandha is always best implemented in conjunction with mulabandha, the above did not recommend releasing mulabandha before the exhalation (after releasing jalandhara bandha), but please note that many schools advocate releasing the mulabandha during exhalation (right after jalandhara bandha is released). It is advantageous to keep the spine long throughout as if the crown were raising toward the heavens while the pelvic diaphragm simultaneously merges/connects with the center of the earth. On the inspiration eventually visualize the muladhara chakra sucking in the cosmic prana through the implementation of mulabandha while on the expiration the apana returns upward to Source through the a very fine channel approximating the spinal spinal column. If you like establish conscious rapport with the self supporting pillar (lingam) that exists between heaven and earth.

    Advanced Practice:

  1. At the end of the inhale compound the muladhara region allowing for a more reflexive, efficient, and spontaneous simultaneous implementation of both mulabandha and uddiyana bandha and extend the antar kumbhaka (internal inhalation). The belly slightly expands during the inhalation, but at the end of the inspiration the lower belly goes inward toward the sacrum as the floor of the pelvic diaphragm spontaneous lifts through mulabandha, and the spine lengthens. This is the beginning of classic vase breathing (discussed in the pranamaya section).

  2. Optionally, after the exhalation when one visualizes the apana rising through the very thin central threadlike channel which ends at the brahmarandhra (hole of brahma at the vertex) one can practice external retention of the air (bahya kumbhaka) external retention. This is the hole where the spirit in the form of vital life supporting prana leaves the body at death and is part of more advanced practice called Phowa in Tibetan. It should NOT be practiced by beginners (external retention) and focus at the crown because of the danger of premature death.

    In general, if you have not learned the subtle practice of mulabandha (see above in the mulabandha section), then it is best to make sure that you release mulabandha before the exhalation. Make sure that after the practice any tension in the pelvic and urogential diaphragm regions are released. However if you have learned the energetic aspect of mulabandha without contraction, then it is better to hold mulabandha in that way throughout the pranayama practice never releasing it. The practice itself puts us "in touch" with the energy and it is this pure awareness that continues to instruct. Without this awareness we resort to general rules of thumb (which are merely temporarily compensatory in nature. In more advanced practice occurs when the energy no longer leaks outside (bound inside activating the subtle energy body) -- all three bandhas as energy valves directing the energy into the evolutionary body is simultaneously occurring continuously -- all the time.

    The ordinary use of the three bandhas are highly advantageous specifically in pranayama practice and especially, especially so in kumbhaka. So as we become more at ease in pranayama practice and more aware of the energetics we not only apply the mulabandha all the time, but actually we can apply the subtle energetic uddiyana bandha after the jalandhara bandha at the end of the INHALE. as well. This creates space in the torso and lengthens the spine facilitating traction and extension (ayama). Although this is learned sequentially at first, later the bandhas are practiced so that they are not applied mechanically, but rather gradually and softly and all together in a wave like or spiral motion in coordination with the lungs, ribs, spine, torso, head, and pelvis.

    There exist external "rules" for beginners, but eventually they ALL have to be thrown away as we learn from the prana itself -- as we form a living response-able partnership with the life energy. . Indeed progress means change and there are many planes and transitions/transformations to ALLOW for. How can this occur if we are tightly holding onto the past a authoritative, lawful, or "right"? Indeed how can we allow our sacred cows (false limiting beliefs) to fall away?
    Jai Durga!

    Utilizing the Three Basic Bandhas with the Breath, Pranayama and Advanced Mudra Practice

    The process is like a wave on the ocean -- it is neither sharp angled nor flat -- it is not even three dimensional -- It happens fully when we drop the individual mind and will altogether and allow for it (through authentic isvara pranidhana). Thus the motions do not happen sequentially, but rather in mutual synchronicity. They are mutually synergistic. As practice increases the activity becomes ever more refined and subtle.

    To avoid energetic and physical problems the bandhas are taught first. Then asana, then pranayama proper, then mudra (with asana, bandha, visualization, and breath). Utilizing traya bandha thus in pranayama assumes that we have done at least the preparations.

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