Give Your Tree Pose Roots to Grow: Mula Bandha

This precise explanation of how to engage the root lock will help you find full expression of this pose and improve your understanding of the bandhas.
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This precise explanation of how to engage the root lock will help you find full expression of this pose and improve your understanding of the bandhas.
man tree pose

This precise explanation of how to engage the root lock from Sonima and Jim Bennitt will help you find full expression of this posture and improve your understanding of the bandhas.

According ancient texts, mula bandha, or the root lock, is a contraction and lifting of the area between the anus and navel, and is one of the most elusive practices in hatha yoga. When engaged, it stops the downward flow of prana, or vital energy, and provides support to the organs resting on the pelvic floor. The contracting and lifting of this musculature also assists in stabilizing the sacroiliac joint, which is otherwise prone to injury if the practitioner has hyper-mobile hips. Traditionally, yogis would practice mula bandha by placing the heel of one foot just in front of the anus and sitting on it so the pelvic floor had an upward pressure. The current trend in hatha yoga, however, is to spend a large percentage of the class practicing standing poses. In fact, with the amount of standing and “hip opener” poses practiced in contemporary yoga classes, the muscles that engage to create mula bandha may be over-stretched and lose their tone, making it more difficult to utilize this important technique.

We can, however, use a concept that is currently getting some attention from physical therapists and other movement professionals called “tensegrity” in certain standing poses to engage mula bandha. Tensegrity is a principle based on the relationship between compression and tension within a structure. In the 1960’s, some architects began using tensegrity when designing buildings. The same principle holds true within the structure of our body.

To learn how to engage the root lock in Vrksasana, or Tree Pose, view the original article on Sonima.

See also 7 Holistic Benefits of Meditation

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