About Jalandhara Bandha or the Chin Lock Pose!
The name Jalandhara Bandha is derived from Sanskrit where jalan means ‘net’ and dhara means ‘stream’ or ‘flow’. One interpretation of jalandhara bandha is the lock which controls the network of nadis in the neck. These nadis are the blood vessels and nerves of the neck.
Jalandhara Bandha is also called throat lock. To practice the chin lock, the yogi drops the chin to the base of the throat to prevent prana from escaping the body through energy channels known as nadis and to redirect it to the manipura chakra.
Another meaning of Jalandhara Bandha or Chin Lock says that it means ‘throat’, jalan, ‘water’ and that ‘dhara’ refers to a tubular vessel in the body. Jalandhara bandha is therefore the throat lock which holds the fluid flowing down to vishuddhi from bindu and prevents it from falling into the digestive fire. In this way prana is saved from and the energy is not wasted.
There is yet another way to define Jalandhara Bandha where ‘Adhara’ means ‘base.’ There are sixteen specific centers in the body called adharas which refer to the major and minor chakras. Jalandhara bandha may also be defined as the practice that locks the pranic network of the neck and redirects the flow of subtle energy from this adhara to sushumna nadi in the spine.
Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock is practiced by bending the head forward and pressing the chin against the throat in the gap between the collar bones. It tones the thyroid and parathyroid glands and helps in regulating the metabolism.
Technique of Practicing Jalandhara Bandha or Chin Lock
- To get in Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock one must get in to Padmasana.
Padmasana or the Lotus Pose
- To practice Padmasana or The Lotus Pose, sit cross legged or in Sukhasana on the floor or on the Yoga Mat.
- Keep your spine straight and erect while starting to practice Padmasana or The Lotus Pose.
- Bend the right leg at the knee, hold the right foot and place it on the left thigh at the root, the heel close to the left side of the lower abdomen or close to the navel while practicing Padmasana or The Lotus Pose.
- While Inhaling, bring your left leg at the knee and place your left foot on the right thigh at the root, with the heel close to the left side of the lower abdomen or close to the navel.
- Exhale deeply and completely while staying in this pose.
- In this pose, your feet should be turned up while your ankle of one foot stacked on the ankle of another foot.
Jalandhara Bandha or the Chin Lock
- Sit in Padmasana or The Lotus Pose on the floor or on the yoga mat.
- Keep your head and spine straight while getting into Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock.
- The knees should be in firm contact with the floor while practicing Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock.
- For those who cannot get into Padmasana, can perform Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock in a standing position.
- Place the palms of the hands on the knees.
- Close the eyes and relax the whole body while practicing Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock.
- Inhale slowly and deeply, and retain the breath inside in this pose.
- While retaining the breath, bend the head forward and press the chin tightly against the chest to get into Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock.
- Straighten the arms and lock them firmly into position, pressing the knees down with the hands in Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock.
- At the same time, bring your shoulders upward and forward.
- This will ensure that the arms stay locked, thus intensifying the pressure applied to the neck while in Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock.
- Stay in the final position for a few minutes or for as long as the breath can be held comfortably.
- Do not strain while practicing Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock.
- To release Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock, relax the shoulders and bend the arms and raise the head and then exhale.
- Catch your breath for a few seconds after releasing Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock.
- Repeat Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock when the respiration has returns to normal.
Breathing Pattern to Be Followed While Practicing Jalandhara Bandha or Chin Lock
- Inhale deeply, while getting into Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock. When bringing the chin to touch the chest.
- Retain your breath while you are in Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock.
- Exhale deeply after releasing Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock.
Duration of Practicing Jalandhara Bandha or Chin Lock
- Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock for at least 5 Times.
- The ideal duration should be for 9 to 10 Minutes and later on increase the time up to 15-20 minutes maintaining the final position and reduce the repetitions.
Sequencing of Jalandhara Bandha or Chin Lock
- Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock is ideally performed in conjunction with pranayamas and mudras.
- If you are practicing The Chin Lock on its own, it should be performed after asanas and pranayamas and before meditation as it helps in improving concentration in the body while meditation.
Benefits of Practicing Jalandhara Bandha or Chin Lock Pose
- Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock regulates the circulatory system by compressing the carotid sinuses, which are located on the carotid arteries, the main arteries in the neck.
- It also helps in regulating the respiratory systems by compressing the sinuses mentioned above.
- By artificially exerting pressure on these sinuses, they allow decreased heart rate and increased breath retention. Normally, a decrease of oxygen and increase of carbon dioxide in the body leads to an increased heart rate and heavier breathing. This process is initiated by the carotid sinuses.
- Jalandhara Bandha practice produces mental relaxation by relieving stress.
- The Chin Lock practice also helps in reducing anxiety and anger.
- The Chin Lock practice develops meditative introversion and one-pointedness.
- The stimulus on the throat helps to balance thyroid function and regulate the metabolism with regular practice of Jalandhara Bandha.
- Regular practice of The Chin Lock helps in getting rid of Double Chin.
- It aids the Vishuddhi chakra, as per ancient wisdom. In turn, you become more efficient in expressing emotions and feelings as it also helps in activating Throat Chakra.
- Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock helps free the shoulders, and aligns the upper spine properly.
- It is very beneficial for people who want to strain their vocal cords as it helps in facilitating blood flow to the vocal cords.
Precautions and Contraindications While Practicing Jalandhara Bandha or Chin Lock Pose
- People suffering from cervical spondylosis should not practice Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock
- People with high intracranial pressure should also not practice The Chin Lock Pose.
- People suffering from vertigo should also not practice Jalandhara Bandha.
- It should not be practiced by people with high blood pressure.
- People with chronic heart diseases should not practice The Chin Lock.
- Get out of Jalandhara Bandha pose or release the pose if you feel a sudden sharp and shooting pain in your legs.
- If you have any doubts about your condition, consult a physician before practicing Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock pose and always practice asana under the supervision of a trained yoga expert.
- Do not over exert yourself while practicing The Chin Lock pose. Do not push yourself beyond the limits. Go only as far as your body allows.
- People who have any issues related to blood circulation in the body are also advised not to practice Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock pose.
- People with breathing problems should also not practice The Chin Lock pose.
- Beginners should practice Jalandhara Bandha pose under the guidance of a trained yoga expert.
- It should not be practiced by people who are suffering from Hernia.
- People who have stomach and intestinal ulcers should not practice Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock pose.
- People with colitis should also not practice Jalandhara Bandha.
Tips While Practicing Jalandhara Bandha or Chin Lock Pose
- Do not inhale or exhale until the chin lock and arm lock have been released and the head is fully upright. If any sensation of suffocation is felt, immediately stop and rest. Once the sensation has passed, resume practicing Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock pose.
- The Chin Lock pose should be practiced after asanas and pranayama and before the practice of meditation. It may also be practiced along with pranayama and mudras
It is important that your stomach is empty and bowels are clean when you practice Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock pose. And always keep a gap at least four to six hours between your yogasanas practice and meal because this will give you enough time to digest the food and create enough energy and vitality for your practice.
- You should practice yogasanas in the morning. In case you cannot practice yoga in the morning, you can practice the same in evening as well.
- To get maximum benefits from this yoga posture, you need to practice it with other apt yoga poses. Jalandhara Bandha or The Chin Lock Pose should be done after Kumbhaka, and before practicing Rechaka. You can practice this while doing Pranayam.
- While practicing The Chin Lock Pose, the awareness should on the throat pit physically and the Spiritual awareness should be on vishuddhi chakra.
- It should be held for as long as the practitioner is able to comfortably retain the breath. Gradually increase this period by maintaining a count while retaining the breath and increasing the count one by one.
Jalandhara Bandha or Chin Lock Pose Variations
- A subtle form of Jalandhara Bandha or Chin Lock Pose is practiced in kriya yoga where the head is simply bent forward so that the chin presses the neck, and the awareness is concentrated on vishuddhi chakra. This kriya variation is the one most commonly used in association with asana practices.