The activation and engagement of muscle fibers, in strategic areas in the body, support in the toning, lifting and flow of energy in the body.
The upward abdominal lock, the second of the four bandhas, is a traditional energetic practice to stimulate an upward lifting flow and control of prana to the heart chakra. Using the transversus and rectus abdominals with a deep exhale, encourages the action of drawing the navel into the midline of your body creating contraction, stability, heat and core strength.
A strong core is necessary for many traditional asanas and will help you avoid injury both on and off the mat. You can start engaging your core in almost every asana by using the bandhas.
Uddiyana Bandha's active engagement in the abdomal muscles is associated with that of the Third Chakra, Manipura or Solar Plexus; which symbolizes the fire in the core and the power of transformation in the body. This practice governs digestion and metabolism by stimulating blood circulation in the abdomen and blood flow to the brain
We are all familiar with the saying "draw your navel in towards your spine or up towards your ribcage”. This is referring to the activation of this bandha, developing a downward and forward movement of the abdominal organs, in which you then counteract with an exhale and abdominal lift. Exhaling as much as possible to stretch the muscle fibers and connective tissue of the respiratory diaphragm to the highest possible position can be fully accomplished with the abdominal muscles . This toning increases the efficiency and productivity of the diaphragm muscle. Increasing the range of motion of the diaphragm also ensures that dukkha (stagnate energy/stale air) that remains in the lung sacs is successfully massaged up and out.
You may associate this with children doing this in play, often combining it with other manipulations such as rolling the rectus abdominis muscles side to side or up and down. It comes easy to some but may take more practice for others, though once it is mastered, liberation occurs spontaneously. Practiced regularly, the abdominal muscles and diaphragm will strengthen and enable you to exhale more completely and breathe more comfortably and efficiently.
A metaphor from ancient Hindu manuscripts shows the importance attached to uddiyana bandha in yogic tradition. The effect of uddiyana is that it causes prana to move up the sushumna nadi (the central energy channel running up the body from just below Muladhara chakra to Sahasrara chakra at the crown of the head.)
"Just as the bird soars into the sky, so does man score a victory over death, like a lion over an elephant, thanks to the vitality procured from uddiyana bandha."
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