Uddiyana Bandha: Where the Flying Monkeys Live

Ajna Chakra (5)

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine. — Lord Byron

When I approach yoga philosophy, I attempt to connect it with something I know. Many aspects of yoga are ancient in origin by connecting it to something you know creates clarity and allows the idea to stick with ease. With that being said let’s approach the second lock, the Uddiyana Bandha or in English the upward flying lock with cinematic history. The Uddiyana Bandha is said to polish or preserve the Manipura Chakra and move pranic energy upward. Manipura translates into the city of jewels. This is said to be the seat of identity sense of self-value and ego.

When I think of the Uddiyana Bandha, I think of the Emerald City from the Wizard of Oz, and the flying monkeys. Except, these monkeys aren’t filled with malintent. When accessing the upward flying lock think of the flying monkeys soaring up to the top of the highest precipice in Emerald City.

Okay, so what does that translate into anatomically? It’s best explained by action. Make sure when you attempt to explore the Uddiyana Bandha to have an empty stomach. Otherwise, those flying monkeys will feel malicious, not compassionate. Trust me; I’ve made the error of attempting to practice with some food in my belly, not pleasant.

  1. Sit in an easy seat, place the back of your hands on your knees.
  2. Inhale deeply, allow the belly to soften.
  3. Exhale completely, drawing your belly button in and up empty your lungs.
  4. Hold at The bottom of the exhale. Place your right hand over your mouth and plug your nose.
  5. Now without taking any air in creating the sensation of inhaling.
  6. Release and exhale.

Were you able to feel the rise in the diaphragm on your fake inhale did your ribcage expand out? Yes! You’ve connected with your Uddyana Bandha. There are more advanced techniques you can explore, but I wanted to introduce it to you on a basic level of what that engagement feels like. To explore the Uddyana Bandha more deeply I suggest guidance by an experienced teacher. The Uddyana Bandha is activated in many yoga poses, but to get the feel of it requires pausing and exploring from a different angle.

What if you don’t believe in Chakras is there still a benefit? Yes, by practicing the Uddiyana Bandha you massage the organs, increase tone and function in the adrenal glands, help with digestion, there are more neurotransmitters in your GI track than in your brain, so it helps remove stress and tension by creating space for optimal function.

Now that you know what the Uddyana Bandha feels like can you feel it in other movements and poses? Play and let me know.

P.S. Also, if you laugh extremely hard for quite a while you can feel it then too.

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