mula = root (of any tree, but also figuratively the lowest part of anything)
bandha = bond
Step by Step
Students are typically instructed to contract, to a greater or lesser degree, the (perineal) muscles at the base of the pelvis. THIS SHOULD NOT BE ATTEMPTED WITHOUT THE GUIDANCE OF AN EXPERIENCED TEACHER. Here we'll simply approximate Mula Bandha.
Learn Mula Bandha in Virasana (Hero Pose). Contact the "tripod" at the base of your pelvis which consists of three bones: the tail bone (coccyx) and the two heads of the thigh (femur) bones. Your coccyx should imaginatively lengthen down and through the floor. Your femur heads should similarly sink down and through the floor (if you can't imagine this lay a sand bag across each top thigh). Finally with your hands, press your hip points together, narrowing them toward each other.
The combined actions of the bones will firm without hardening your lower belly, and spontaneously dome your perineum up into your torso without any conscious effort on your part. This latter action will in turn charge your spine, which will lift and lengthen your entire torso up through your crown.
Apply Mula Bandha as you end your inhale, then hold it during Kumbhaka. Slowly release it as you exhale, and soften it during the pause following the exhale.
- Prevents the retained breath from "leaking out" of the torso through the bottom of the pelvis
- Enlivens the entire spine to support the sitting position
Contraindications and Cautions
- Approach the practice of all bandhas and body mudras cautiously, especially without the direct guidance of an experienced teacher