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The word bandha, means ‘to hold, tighten’ or ‘lock’, and this exactly describes the physical action necessary to perform these practices. Specific parts of the body are gently yet powerfully contracted and tightened.
The physical contraction or lock in turn has an extensive influence on the psychic body (pranic body). The flow of prana that continuously streams through our subtle body is redirected and even stopped. This has direct influences on the mind. The whole body and mind is tranquilized and made receptive to higher states of awareness. Such is the power of bandhas when they are perfected.
The Sanskrit word jalan means ‘net’. The word dhara means ‘stream, mass of flowing fluid’. Therefore Jalandhara is the practice or physical lock that controls the net or network of nadis in the neck. These nadis can be either blood vessels, nerves or pranic passages. The ‘fluid’ or stream can cover all these different levels of subtlety, for Jalandhara bandha will influence all of them.
Take a comfortable sitting pose.
Make sure the knees are firmly in contact with the ground.
Place the palms of your hands on the knees.
Close the eyes.
Relax the whole body.
Retain the breath inside the lungs.
Then bend the head forwards and press the chin tightly against the chest, in particular against the sternum.
Straighten your arms so that they are locked; that is, you have to gently but firmly push your elbows towards each other as though you are trying to bend your arms inwards instead of outwards.
Your hands should remain on the knees.
This action will tend to intensify the pressure applied in the region of the neck.
Simultaneously, hunch your shoulders upwards and forwards-this will help to ensure that the straight arms are firmly locked.
Stay in the final position for as long as you can comfortably hold your breath.
Then relax the shoulders.
Bend the arms outwards and release the lock.
Slowly raise your head.
This is 1 round.
When your breathing rate returns to normal you can repeat another round.
Maintain awareness on the region of the throat and to mental counting of the duration of breath retention.
Don’t exhale or inhale, whatever the case may be, until you have released the chin lock, arm lock and the head is raised. Slowly develop the length of breath retention over a period of time. Don’t strain under any circumstances.
People who suffer from high blood pressure or heart ailments should not do Jalandhara bandha. Though it initially reduces blood pressure, the release of the bandha brings some fluttering of the heart.
Jalandhara bandha influences the individual at all levels: physical, psychic and mental. It controls the flow of prana in the body. The pressurization of the carotid sinuses also helps t bring mental balance by slowing down the heart. The whole nervous system and brain become sedated. One tends to become more one pointed.
Jalandhara bandha allows one to hold the breath for longer periods of time. Normally decrease of oxygen and increase of carbon dioxide in the system lead to an increase of the heart rate and harder breathing to compensate.
This bandha closes the windpipe and compresses various organs in the throat. Notably it massages the thyroid gland which is located in the cavity of the throat. The whole body depends on this gland for perfect development and maintenance. Jalandhara bandha massages this gland and helps to render it efficient.