The Jalandhara Bandha is to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade as Uddiyana Bandha is to The Wizard of Oz. A pop culture reference to help you remember. The Jalandhara Bandha translates into the upward pulling net. It’s associated with the Vishuddha Chakra (throat chakra).
…who drinks the water I shall give him, says the Lord, will have a spring inside him welling up for eternal life. Let them bring me to your holy mountain in the place where you dwell. Across the desert and through the mountain to the Canyon of the Crescent Moon… Indiana Jones, The Last Crusade
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika asserts that activating the Jalandhara Bandha destroys old age and death hence the reference to good ole Indie and the Holy Grail. The Pradipika states that this lock prevents the nectar of the gods from falling into the Agni (fire) associated with the Manipura Chakra (Solar Plexus). The upward pulling net captures the nectar when activated.
Since the day after the dawn of time people have sought ways to beat death and aging it’s a story that passes from one generation to the next. And though this 15th-century claim is quite enticing the reality is that it stimulates the respiratory and circulatory systems. The only certain service it provides is a nice massage for your thyroid, that butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your throat. This small little powerhouse effects hormones, moods, and metabolism.
This Bandha isn’t quite as swanky and accessible as the Mula Bandha and Uddhyana Bandha which can be accessed in many Asanas and Pranayama techniques. Accessing your Jalandhara Bandha for the novice is only available in a few Asanas (such as bridge, shoulder stand, plow) and Pranayama.
Let’s see if you can access immortality. Sit in an easy position with your palms placed on your knees. Lengthen the spine, relax the shoulders. Take a few breaths. Then inhale into the belly, allowing your lungs to fill up two-thirds of the way, press your palms into your thighs or knees, jut your ears forward, and then bring your chin down to the chest. Hold the breath for a count of two. Exhale. This practice is called Bahya Kumbhaka, breath retention on the inhale. Can you feel that little net pulling up? Try it a few times.
Yes? That’s the Jalandhara Bandha. No? It’s a very subtle sensation it’s not as strong as the Uddiyana Bandha or Mula Bandha. If you don’t feel it here, another thing that you can do is lay on your back in a bridge prep. Come into a bridge and hold it for 5-10 breaths. See if you can feel the gentle hollowing sensation or lifting net sensation. Most people can feel it here. Another way is to come into shoulder stand or bridge. Still not sure? It’s okay some things take time to feel, and it can be pretty subtle. Bring your fingertips to the base of your throat, where you would wear a bow-tie. Inhale, and bring your ears forward, then bring your chin down. Did you get it that time?
If you got it, play with both the Pranayama and the Asana and see if you can explore with longer holds.