Mula Bandha Benefits: 10 Ways It Elevates Your Yoga Practice
By PRANA EDITORS | Reviewed by HANSRAJ JOSHI
Mula Bandha is an essential component of many yogic traditions.
In this article, we delve into how it keeps your rooted in strength.
We'll deep dive into it's physical, mental & spiritual benefits.
Also, check out our beginner’s guide to the four bandhas in yoga.
Bandha practices are integral to yoga, originating in ancient texts dating back centuries. Within Hatha Yoga, three bandhas take center stage: Jalandhara Bandha (Throat), Uddiyana Bandha (Abdominal), and Mula Bandha (Pelvic). Simultaneously engaging these three energy locks gives rise to a fourth type known as Maha Bandha, the Great Lock Technique. These yogic techniques are generally introduced to students as a part of asana flows or during pranayama training.
Engaging a bandha involves the deliberate contraction of specific muscles and directing your awareness to the corresponding region, resulting in many benefits for the mind and body. For those new to energy locks, we have provided step-by-step instructions for the yogic root lock technique in our Mula Bandha Guide. In this article, our sole focus will be on exploring the well-established physiological benefits of Mula Bandha and its significance in spiritual growth and energetic well-being.
10 Benefits of Mula Bandha (Root Lock in Yoga)
1. Strengthens Pelvic Floor Muscles
Mula Bandha’s muscular engagement has a notable strengthening effect on pelvic floor muscles. By increasing blood circulation in the area, it has a detoxifying and revitalizing effect on the pelvic organs, muscles, and tissues, which contributes to their better overall functioning.
One recent study observed that engaging the root lock is beneficial in firming the vaginal muscles in women after childbirth. Another study indicates that Mula bandha tones the urogenital system and stimulates the pelvic nerves, making it a valuable tool for preventing pelvic organ prolapse.
2. Supports Lower Back Health
The pelvic floor and its neighboring muscles are pivotal in stabilizing the lower back in everyday movements and activities. Even asana, pranayama, and meditation necessitate a robust and resilient lower back to reduce the risk of strain and injury after long practice periods.
Firming these muscles through Mula Bandha creates a supportive foundation for the spine during pranayama and provides additional stability to the pelvis while sitting cross-legged. Similarly, it reduces strain and promotes proper spinal alignment during asana flows.
3. Advantages for Women’s Health
The dynamic contractions and relaxations of the muscles in Mula Bandha offer a range of benefits tailored to women's reproductive health and well-being:
Reproductive system support: The combination of muscle engagement, enhanced blood flow, and conscious awareness creates a "vital heat" in the pelvic floor. This detoxes and nurtures the reproductive organs and positively affects hormonal balance.
Menstrual Comfort: Anecdotal evidence suggests that Mula Bandha can alleviate the discomfort associated with cramps and pain experienced during menstruation.
Postpartum recovery: Vaginal delivery can result in stretching and weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, and research indicates Mula Bandha can expedite postpartum recovery by accelerating the restoration of normal muscle tone after childbirth.
Pro-Tip: Mula Bandha's benefits also include heightened control and sensitivity in the pelvic region, which can extend to sexual health and well-being for both men and women.
4. Managing Urinary Incontinence
It’s a well-established fact that the pelvic floor muscles support the bladder and control the release of urine, and scientific research has established a clear link between urinary incontinence and weak pelvic floor muscles. A recent study indicates that strengthening these muscles through yogic practices like Mula Bandha can help prevent or manage the issue.
Another study observed that practicing mula bandha is safe and effective in managing the symptoms of urinary incontinence among women. Other studies also acknowledge its role in maintaining pelvic floor muscle health in men, reducing the risk of incontinence as they age.
5. Fortifies Digestion
While Mula Bandha's focal point lies in the pelvic floor, its benefits extend to the digestive system due to its effect on Apana Vayu, one of the five subcurrents of prana. Apana governs the downward and outward movement of energy within the body, particularly concerning elimination, reproduction, and the expulsion of metabolic waste from the body.
In yoga theory, engaging Mula bandha is said to reverse the flow of this downward-moving Apana current, causing it to move up into the gastric fire. The redirection benefits the intestines and digestive system, resulting in regular bowel movements and promoting healthy digestion.
6. Creates Grounding and Stability
Mula bandha acts upon the base of the torso, which is the very foundation of our physical and energetic being. In yoga philosophy, this region is associated with the earth element, so one of the benefits of Mula bandha is that it helps us create a deep connection with the grounding energy of the universe.
This earth connection manifests as foundational stability and enhanced balance during yoga postures and flows. On a subtle level, it creates energetic alignment and helps us overcome anxiety, fear, insecurity, and other mental-emotional vulnerabilities.
7. Mind-body connection
Advanced yogic practices like Mula Bandha necessitate discipline, consistency, and dedication. They train practitioners to cultivate a mind-body connection through various mechanisms, including energetic harmony, breath awareness, mindfulness, and heightened self-awareness.
Anecdotally, it’s believed that practicing Mula bandha improves focus, concentration, and cognition on and beyond the yoga mat. A clinical study also noted that even a single session of Mula Bandha led to significant improvement in cognitive functions among adolescents.
8. Deepens Various Yoga Practices
Engaging Mula Bandha prevents the dissipation of pranic energy, amplifying the effects and benefits of pranayama techniques. This energy lock regulates the downward currents of prana (Apana Vayu), redirecting them to higher energy centers along the spine.
Some styles of yoga, such as Ashtanga and Vinyasa, incorporate Mula Bandha in asana flows and sequences, as it stabilizes the pelvis and encourages proper alignment. Other styles use it as a pre-meditation practice to increase inner awareness and enter deep states of meditation.
9. Activates Muladhara Chakra
In yogic traditions like Kriya and Kundalini Yoga, Mula Bandha draws prana (life energy) into the lower energy centers – the Root Chakra and Sacral Chakra. These chakras are foundational energy centers of the body, associated with survival instincts, grounding, stability, vitality, and rootedness.
Mula bandha facilitates the harmonious functioning of energy chakras by stimulating the prana flow and releasing energetic blockages in the subtle body. Balancing these chakras has numerous benefits, including increased vitality, emotional stability, and spiritual growth and transformation.
10. Awakens the dormant Kundalini energy
In yoga philosophy, Kundalini awakening refers to arousing dormant spiritual energy at the base of the spine and facilitating its rise through a subtle energy channel called Sushumna Nadi. The awakening and ascent of this force balances and harmonizes the seven chakras in the astral body.
Mula Bandha is one of the most widely utilized techniques to stimulate energy flow in the pelvic floor, which is the starting point for the ascent of Kundalini energy. Many branches of yoga consider this activation to be the first crucial step for spiritual growth and transformation.
Mula Bandha Benefits in Hatha Yoga Texts
In this section, we’ll explore the benefits of Mula Bandha in three foundational yoga texts that inform all branches of Hatha Yoga: Shiva Samhita, Gheranda Samhita, and Hatha Yoga Pradipika.
Shiva Samhita, a yoga manual dated pre-1500 CE, states that engaging Mula bandha unites Apana with Prana Vayu, and yogis who accomplish this can accomplish anything (6:42-43). It also states that consistent practice of Mula Bandha results in a lightness of being (Laghima Siddhi).
Adopting a similar adulatory tone, Hatha Yoga Pradipika calls Mula Bandha the key to uniting Prana, Apana, Nada, and Bindu (Ajna Chakra). It briefly highlights the benefits of this practice, stating it purifies the urinary and excretory system and has anti-aging benefits (3: 63-64).
Lastly, Gheranda Samhita, a 17th-century yoga text, asserts that yogis should practice Mula Bandha mindfully in a quiet and distraction-free space. Noting its benefits, the text calls Mula Bandha the secret to controlling Vayu (Air Element) and transcending the material plane of human existence (3:16-17).
Whether you seek to strengthen your core, align your energies, or deepen your yoga journey, Mula Bandha is a potent technique to experience a sense of stability. The benefits of this multi-faceted practice extend beyond physical strength into mental stability, emotional resilience, and spiritual awakening.
Still, it's important to note that individual experiences of Mula Bandha may vary, and its benefits are hinged on the intensity, consistency, and duration of your practice. Moreover, bandha practices are full of nuances, so learning them under the guidance of a qualified yoga instructor is recommended.
Related Yoga Bandha Guides:
Mula Bandha (Root Lock) in Yoga: Expert Guide + Practice Tips