Ah, the Mula Bandha what is it and where is it? Mula translates into root, and bandha into lock, connection or union. The root is considered to be the pelvic floor anatomically. I think when we are discussing the pelvic floor we should think of the Mula Bandha as a connection or union with our root.
Activation of the Mula Bandha is intended to be more of an energetic connection than one created by physical force. Have you ever been in a class where the teacher has told you to squeeze your sphincters together both front and back? Did you ever wonder what purpose that serves?
Like Kegels creating too much squeeze can result in a hypertonic pelvic floor. No fun, literally. We’re talking a potential for painful sex, and urinary frequency. Like I said no fun. What your teacher means is to gently draw up the perineum (that place between the front and back when you sit on a bicycle too long that gets sore). How can we do this if we are not drawing our sphincters together?
First, let’s get you to feel your pelvic floor through a simple pranayama (breathing) exercise. Sit in an easy seat. Inhale through your nose and exhale and stick your tongue out. This is called Lion’s Breath. Notice if you can feel that slight raise that happens in your pelvic floor when you stick your tongue out. Did you feel it? Yes, move on to the next paragraph. No? Come to a kneeling position, place your hands on the floor send your bum toward your heels, rotate your hands back toward your torso, inhale through your mouth and exhale stick your tongue out. This Asana is called Lion’s Pose. Feel your pelvic floor lift when you stuck your tongue out? Yes, skip to the next paragraph. No? Stand in a wide straddle, have your feet going in the same direction as your knees. Sink into your thighs, bend your knees come into what’s called a Goddess Squat. Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth stick out your tongue. Feel it lift? YAY! Good for you. If not it’s okay sometimes sensations take time to notice.
This is a gentle lift; it’s not squeezing sphincters. It’s not clenching anything it’s active and energetic. It’s done without force.
Second, now that you know what it feels like when your pelvic floor lifts gently let’s replicate that without sticking your tongue out. You will do what some refer to as deep diaphragmatic breathing or in Core Strength Vinyasa what we call the Mula Bandha Breath. Inhale through your nose, allow your ribs to expand, your lower abdomen to gently bulge out, your pelvic floor to relax and then exhale draw the belly button in and up and gently lift the pelvic floor (just like you did when you stuck your tongue out but this time with muscle awareness).
Thirdly, breathing this way can help with pelvic floor health as well as increase your core connection. Go forth and play with this breath in your movement connect more fully with your Mula Bandha.