Jalandhara Bandha (throat lock or chin lock) – How To Do It Correctly

Jalandhara Bandha (throat lock or chin lock) - How To Do It Correctly

Hello my dear ones, in Sanskrit, the word jalan means 'net' and dhara means 'stream 'or 'flow'. Jalandhara bandha is often defined as the lock which controls the network of energetic channels or nadis within the neck region. The physical manifestation of these nadis is represented by the nerves of the neck and the blood vessels.

Within the traditional Yogic traditions, Jalandhara bandha is also acknowledged as the throat lock which bears the nectar or fluid flowing down to Vishuddha from Bindu and prevents it from falling into the digestive fire. In this way prana is conserved.

There is also a third meaning. Adhara means 'base' or 'substratum'. There are actually sixteen distinct psychic centers in the body known as ‘adharas’ which refer to the minor and major chakras. Jalandhara bandha may also be depicted as the practice that locks the pranic network of the neck and actively redirects the flow of subtle energy from this adhara to Sushumna nadi in the spine.

Practice

Sit in siddhasana/siddha yoni asana (adept pose or accomplished pose) or padmasana (lotus pose) with the head and spine straight. Allow your knees to be in firm contact with the floor. Those individuals who cannot manage this may in this case execute jalandhara bandha in a standing position.

Place your palms of the hands on the knees.

Close your eyes and relax your whole body.

Inhale as deeply and slowly as possible, and then retain the breath inside.

While retaining the breath, bend your head forward and press your chin firmly against the chest.

Straighten your arms and lock them firmly into position, pressing your knees down with the hands.

At the same time, hunch your shoulders upward and forward.

This will guarantee that your arms stay locked, thus intensifying the pressure applied to your neck.

Stay in the final position for as long as you can hold the breath comfortably.

Do not strain.

Relax your shoulders, bend the arms, slowly release the lock, raise the head and then exhale.

Repeat when the respiration has returned to normal.

Variation

In Kriya Yoga, a more subtle form of jalandhara bandha is performed where the head is simply bent forward so that the chin presses the neck, and the conscious awareness is concentrated on Vishuddha chakra. This Kriya variation is the one most frequently utilized in association with asana practices.

Breathing

The practice may also be executed with external breath retention.

Duration

Jalandhara bandha should be retained for as long as the practitioner is able to comfortably retain the breath. Progressively extend this period by maintaining a count while retaining the breath and increasing the count one by one. In the beginning, this practice may be repeated for up to 5 times.

Awareness

Physical - on the throat pit.

Spiritual - on Vishuddha chakra.

Sequence

This bandha is ideally executed in conjunction with mudras and pranayamas. If practiced on its own it should be executed after pranayamas and asanas and before meditation.

Contra-indications

Individuals who suffer from high intracranial pressure, cervical spondylosis, vertigo, high blood pressure or heart disease should not practice jalandhara bandha. Even though, it lowers blood pressure initially, long retention of the breath brings about some strain on the heart.

Benefits

Jalandhara bandha constricts the carotid sinuses, which are found on the carotid arteries, the main arteries in the neck. These sinuses assist to regulate the respiratory and circulatory systems. Usually, an increase of carbon dioxide and a decrease of oxygen in the body leads to heavier breathing and as such to an increased heart rate. This process is initiated by the carotid sinuses. By artificially applying pressure on these sinuses, this tendency is blocked, allowing for decreased heart rate and increased breath retention.

This practice cultivates mental relaxation, relieving anxiety, stress and anger. It develops meditative introversion and one-pointedness. The stimulus on the throat furthermore aids to balance thyroid function and regulate the metabolism.

Practice note

One should not breathe out or breathe in before the arm lock and chin lock have been released and the head is fully upright. If at any moment, any sensation of suffocation is felt, immediately stop and rest. Once the sensation has passed, resume the practice.

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