Uddiyana Bandha - Abdominal Lock

Uddiyana Bandha - Abdominal Lock"Uddiyana" means 'flying up', and 'Bandha', means 'lock' or 'tie' in Sanskrit. Uddiyana is the 'flying up' of the diaphragm in the thorax and the simultaneous pulling back of the abdominal viscera above and below the navel towards the spine.

Technique
1. Stand erect on the carpet.

2. Place your feet about eighteen inches apart, in line with each other, and turned a little outward.

3. Slightly bend your head and trunk forward from the waist and flex the legs in the knee-joints.

4. Bend the arms and grasp the front of the thighs a little above the knees with the respective hands with all the fingers, including the thumb, pointing inward.

5. Raise your head slowly. Leave the abdominal muscles loose.

6. Exhale completely as fast as possible, breathing out the air from the lungs fully and forcefully at the same time vigorously contracting the front muscles of the abdomen.

7. Hold out your breath and do not allow the air to enter the lungs while the following abdominal movements are being performed.

8. Pressing the palms mildly and evenly against the respective thighs, do vigorous 'mock inhalation' (false inhalation), without opening the glottis or allowing the air to rush into the lungs.

9. While doing this, the thoracic cage will expand and the ribs will be lifted and as they do so, swiftly and completely relax the contracted front abdominal muscles. As soon as the ribs rise, the relaxed diaphragm will automatically rise up and, simultaneously, the front muscles of the abdomen, namely, the part of the abdomen above and below the navel (the abdomen including the navel), get sucked inward and upward towards the ribs, automatically and fill the 'vacuum' in the thoracic cavity.

10. The relaxed abdominal wall, in turn, undergoes a deep depression, extending from just below the ribs up to the pelvis and, as the abdomen thus hollows itself, it will take on a concave appearance.

11. Holding the 'vacuum' in the lungs, maintain this position comfortably for five to ten seconds or until you can go without air without any discomfort.

12. Concentrate your mind on the solar plexus.

13. When the breath can no longer be held out comfortably, start inhaling slowly and deeply. The deep hollow created in the abdomen will be effaced gradually, and the abdomen and the chest will assume their normal shape.

14. Straighten your trunk and head, reduce the distance between the feet, and return slowly to the standing position.

15. Exhale slowly and breathe deeply a few times and then resume normal breathing. One round of Uddiyana is now complete.

16. Take three rounds with sufficient periods of rest.

Uddiyana Bandha is only practiced while holding without breath. This is an important safety measure. Sensitive tissues in the lungs could be damaged by practicing Uddiyana Bandha with air in the lungs.

Benefits:
1. Uddiyana is the sole exercise which helps to maintain abdominal fitness. It promotes the resilience of the abdominal muscles and improves the blood circulation in the abdominal cavity.

2. It provides a natural and powerful massage to the heart, stomach, liver, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, gall bladder, the transverse colon, and the upper part of the small intestine, all in one movement.

3. The participation of the abdomen in the respiratory processes and the increased mobility of the diaphragm make a deeper and fuller respiration possible.

4. Uddiyana restores the elasticity of the lungs and improves their capacity. The chest expands and the ribs are also exercised.

5. It tones up all the nerves which have their roots in the region of the solar plexus.

6. The improved functioning of the somatic nerve helps the coordinated activity of the voluntary and involuntary nervous systems.

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