Understanding the Moola Bandha or Root Lock Pose!
B.K.S. Iyengar defines Moola Bandha or Root Lock as “a posture where the body from the anus to the navel is contracted and lifted up and towards the spine.”
The name Moola Bandha is derived from Sanskrit where “Mula” means “Root”, “Bandha” means “Lock” and “Asana” means “Pose” or “Posture.” The English name of Moola Bandha is Root Lock.
Moola Bandha or Root Lock is also called The Perineal Contraction Pose.
Moola Bandha is a technique which is used not only in Asanas, but Pranayama as well. When you practice Moola Bandha or Root Lock, the focus should be more towards the energy, awareness, and stretch rather than doing the physical exercise mechanically. Repeating the Root Lock like a physical exercise without being aware of the energy is useless.
It is said that there is a system of energy that starts at the base of your spine or root and runs up your spinal column to your skull where root chakra is also located. And this energy system can be activated, by using your bandhas where you can control the flow of energy within you.
By contracting your body and activating your Moola Bandha or Root lock can affect many systems of the body and your inner energy to flow which will help you not only physically but in all domains of life.
How to Do Moola Bandha or Root Lock Pose?
- Sit with the legs outstretched in front of the body on the floor or on the yoga mat to get into Moola Bandha or Root Lock.
- Bend the knees and bring the soles of the feet together.
- To practice Moola Bandha, draw the heels towards the body.
- Make sure that the outside of the feet should remain on the floor while getting into Moola Bandha or Root Lock.
- Place your hands behind the buttocks with the fingers pointing backward; raise the buttocks onto the heels.
- Make sure that when you raise your buttock on your heels, your heels press the perineum while practicing Moola Bandha or Root Lock.
- The knees will remain on the floor while practicing Moola Bandha.
- Do not strain the ankles while practicing Root Lock.
- Place the hands on the knees in either chin or jnana mudra.
- You can practice nasikagra Drishti while in Moola Bandha or Root Lock.
- Hold the final position for 3 to 4 minutes if you are a beginner.
- Advanced practitioners should hold the pose for a longer duration or for as long as is comfortable.
- Release the legs and stretch the legs forward on the yoga mat or on the floor.
- Repeat when all the tension has left the legs and feet.
- You can repeat three to four rounds of Moola Bandha or Root Lock.
Reason for Practicing Moolabandhasana or Root Lock Pose
- The purpose of getting this close and personal with these muscles is to integrate the full mind-body connection.
- Using Moola Bandha or Root Lock, you can transform your yoga practice as it helps in adding stability in poses
- It keeps the energy from leaking during meditative practice.
- Please note that it takes patience and time to understand how to have control over Moola Bandha or Root Lock in your body
- As soon as you know how to control Moola Bandha or Root Lock in your body, you will have all the power over life force in your body.
- And when you are able to contain and control that life inside of you, it helps you not to look for enjoyment or happiness elsewhere and finally recognize that all that you need, you already have inside your own body. It is a matter of time till you know how to activate and control the lock in your body that you are unaware of its magical benefits.
Breathing Pattern to Be Followed While Practicing Moola Bandha or Root Lock Pose
- Inhale deeply while folding legs and bringing your heels towards your body.
- Exhale deeply after bringing your buttocks on your heels while getting into Moola Bandha or Root Lock.
- Maintain a constant breath and keep inhaling and exhaling deeply while being in Moola Bandha or Root Lock.
Preparatory and Follow Up Asanas to Practice with Moola Bandha or Root Lock Pose
Preparatory Poses: The various Preparatory poses to be practiced before Moolabandhasana or Root Lock Pose are Supta Trivikramasana or The Reclining Split Pose, Samakonasana of The Straight Angle Pose, Hanumanasana or The Monkey pose, Kandasana or The Upward Ankle Twist Pose, Vamadevasana 1 and Vamadevasana 2. Until you get accustomed with these poses, you must master Virasana or The Hero Pose and Supta Virasana or The Reclined Hero Pose. You should also have mastery in Padmasana or The Lotus Pose or Ardha Padmasana or The Half Lotus Pose before you start practicing Moolabandhasana or Root Lock Pose.
Follow up Poses: The various follow-up poses to be practiced after Moolabandhasana or Root Lock Pose to counter the stretches in this pose are Skandasana or The Side Lunge Pose, Vrishikasana or The Scorpion Pose, Buddhasana or The Awakened Pose, Kapilasana and Padangustha Dhaurasana.
Benefits of Practicing Moola Bandha or Root Lock Pose
- Moola Bandha or The Root Lock Pose strengthens the groin, thighs, knees as well as ankles and stretches them as well.
- It is beneficial in strengthening the spine, pelvis, and abdomen.
- Moolabandhasana helps in maintaining the health of the uterus and ovaries and thus helps in improving the health of the female reproductive system.
- The Root Lock Pose stimulates your abdominal organs and eases flatulence and acid reflux
- Moola bandha Pose also is beneficial in increasing concentration and memory with regular practice
- The Root Lock Pose helps in relieving constipation when practiced regularly
- Moola bandha or The Root Lock Pose improves the alignment of the spine with regular practice.
- The Root Lock Pose helps in balancing the mind, increases the power of concentration, allows more awareness of the unconscious realms and induces physical and mental relaxation quickly. The thinking process becomes very clear and precise with regular practice of Moolabandhasana or The Root Lock Pose.
- With regular practice, Moola bandha or The Root Lock Pose quiets your mind and prepares you for meditation.
- The Root Lock Pose Stand refreshes and rejuvenates you and also relieves you of stress and mild depression.
- It also help people with hemorrhoids as it stimulates the muscles and brings them to their original functionality thus help in treating them.
- Moolabandhasana is also very beneficial for fertility in females and is especially very helpful when it is practiced prior to conceiving.
- It also helps in treating stress and depression to a great extent as it helps in opening of the root chakra or The Muladhara Chakra when practiced daily.
- With regular practice, Moolabandhasana or The Root Lock Pose helps in treating respiratory ailments like Asthma when the proper breathing pattern described above is followed.
- It also helps in the alleviating back ailment like Sciatica and minor back pain when practiced regularly.
- One of the benefits of Moola Bandha is that it also revitalizes and energizes the nervous system and also helps in calming the nerves.
- The Root Lock Pose, when practiced regularly, helps in maintaining the health of reproductive system.
Precautions and Contraindications While Practicing Moola Bandha or Root Lock Pose
- People who have any issues or pain in their neck or back and have had recent surgery to your neck or back in the recent past should also not practice Moolabandhasana or The Root Lock Pose.
- If you have any doubts about your condition, consult a physician before practicing Moola bandha or The Root Lock Pose. and always practice asana under the supervision of a trained yoga expert as it helps to keep away any injuries
- Do not over exert yourself while practicing this yoga asana. Do not push yourself beyond the limits. Go only as far as your body allows.
- People suffering from chronic spinal problems should not practice The Root Lock Pose.
- It is most beneficial when you stay aware of the stretches in the muscles while holding the pose. So, always remain aware while you are practicing this yoga pose.
- You should not practice this yoga pose if you had a heavy meal.
- People with Chronic headaches or migraines should not practice Moola bandha. It should not be practiced by people suffering from Diarrhea.
- Moola bandha activates the energy very easily. So it should not be practiced by people with high intracranial pressure.
- People with chronic heart diseases should also not practice The Root Lock Pose.
- People having any ankle or knee injury should also not practice this yoga pose.
Tips While Practicing Moola Bandha or Root Lock Pose
- Since Moola bandha or The Root Lock Pose is an advanced asana to be performed, there are many variations made for it.
- The purpose of Moola bandha is to tighten the Pelvic floor muscles instead of the whole perineum. So, men must contract the muscles between testes and anus while women must contract the muscles behind the cervix to derive maximum benefits from the practice of The Root Lock Pose.
- To complete the practice of this pose, you can get in Ashwini mudra or Vajroli mudra while being in Moolabandhasana.
- To keep your feet vertical in Moola bandha or The Root Lock Pose, you can join the soles of both your feet together and push all four corners of your feet into each other and bring your toes to the floor in such a way that the ankle bone and heels get light. You can also use a yoga block to rest your feet on them while practicing this pose.
- To deepen the pose, advanced practitioners can keep their hands on knees with the index finger and thumb clasped together with each other and you can also try to meditate while staying in this pose. Keep your eyes closed all this while.
- You must prepare your body to practice Moola bandha by doing the preparatory stretches and steps.
- You should also know your body limits and how much pain and stretch your body can bear if the stretch and pain are too much to bear, come out of the pose immediately and rest in any relaxation poses like Shavasana.
- Moolabandhasana or The Root Lock Pose is an advanced pose and should be practiced with constant efforts and under the guidance of a trained Yoga Expert.
- Beginners should not hold this pose for more than a few minutes.
- If you feel any sharp shooting pain while practicing The Root Lock Pose, release the pose immediately and lie in Shavasana.
Moolabandhasana or Root Lock Pose Variations
Many stretches and props can be used to make the asana easy for beginners as this is an advanced asana. One of the variations of Moolabandhasana or The Root Lock Pose is Bhadrasana or The Gracious Pose.
Bhadrasana or the Gracious Pose: Bhadrasana or The Gracious Pose is considered one of the best poses to activate the Muladhara Chakra and can be done as a variation to Moola bandha or The Root Lock Pose.
Steps to Do Bhadrasana or the Gracious Pose:
- Sit with legs stretched out on the floor or on the yoga mat to get into Bhadrasana or The Gracious Pose.
- Fold both the legs and bring them close to each other. Make sure that the souls of the feet must touch each other.
- Use the hands to hold the toes of the feet.
- Pull the legs towards the perineum to get into Bhadrasana or The Gracious Pose
- The legs should rest on the ground, touching the floor.
- Keep the spine straight and relax the trunk especially the shoulders.
- Maintain this final pose for as long as comfortable.