Nirodhaḥ Yoga Blog
Flowing Freely: Bandhas
Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
We’ve been preparing to switch from the scheduling software we’ve been using since opening to a new one, called Ribbon. Switching to Ribbon is going to allow us to make things even more user friendly for our students, as well as create new, exciting features.
Starting with this one! We now have a brand new On-Demand Yoga Class page. Use your existing unlimited pass to watch as many on-demand classes as you want on "Yogaflix" or rent them separately.
(Do you have a pass or credits on your account? You should have already received an email about signing into your new account on Ribbon. Please let us know if you did not receive one.)
We’ve been working on these changes for over a month to ensure that the transition is as smooth as possible. Even so, a big change like this may temporarily create some turbulence.
Honestly, at the beginning of the process, I felt quite overwhelmed. There were so many things to do: set up classes and passes, upload our on-demand videos, update the plugins on our website, and transfer our students’ accounts.
It was good to be reminded of this month’s theme, which is flow. As easy as the living can be in the summer, sometimes we pack our days with so many plans and goals and activities. It’s helpful to remember to flow peacefully throughout, like the ripples on our beautiful lake.
Of course, we’re always reminding you about flowing through your yoga class. So it’s probably no surprise that this virtue is easily developed through consistent dedication to your practice.
One of the more esoteric topics covered in yoga is the energy body, which is called the pranamaya kosha in Sanskrit. Although our practical mind may resist the idea of energy as “woo-woo,” energy is inherently practical and measurable. After all, didn’t that one physicist say that energy is equal to mass times the square of the speed of light?
Though we may not see energy, that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. In fact, you may have noticed all the ways that harnessing your energy leads to better outcomes for you, like less burn out, more time for your family and friends, and a healthy body and mind.
Great yoga teachers from many centuries ago learned how to direct energy in our pranamaya kosha through a series of bandhas, which is roughly translated as “lock” or to “hold” or “tighten.” According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, bandhas and mudras (our lesson last month) work together. Bandhas work to lock prana (energy) into specific parts of the body and undo psychic knots, called granthis, located along the central nadi (or nerve), called sushumna.
The first knot is located in the first two chakras and is associated with the survival instinct. The second knot is located in the third and fourth chakras and associated with “sustenance of the physical, emotional and mental aspects of human existence.” The third knot is located with the fifth and sixth chakras and is associated with loss of ego identification and the “experience of unmanifest consciousness,” (Asana, Pranayama, Mudra, Bandha, p. 472) which allows our energy to flow freely up the sushumna nadi to the seventh chakra. Then our energies - physical, mental, and emotional - become balanced and unshakeable.
Bandhas are best practiced under the guidance of an experienced teacher. Out of an abundance of caution, I will not present how to practice these bandhas, as they really ought to be taught in person, or at least live.
However, I know that many of you are eager to deepen your practice and so, share some basics about each of the four traditional bandhas here.
I hope your month is full of the ease of flow.
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Just some thoughts about yoga as I go...
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