Uddiyana Bandh: Stay young physically and mentally

By Atul Vyas

When my revered mother late Daya Vyas – the first lady yoga Guru of India, taught me a very important and basic yogic principle that it is very difficult – even impossible to change anything in your external environment until you set your brain’s internal right.

In today’s life, it may include lifestyle changes one wants to make such as dieting and exercising, etc. This phenomenon in modern science is called “neuroadaptation,” which our yogis discovered tens of thousands of years ago.

Neuroadaptation is the unique ability of the brain to adapt to its environment. If there is any change in the brain’s environment the brain changes in response. This is the most fascinating capacity of the brain that can work for or against us from addiction to food, other vices, or being overweight. Not being able to lose weight could be a case of neuroadaptation working against you.

According to yogic physiology and psychology, all forms of addictions are stress responses and yoga not only helps by downregulating stress responses but also makes digestion more strong and more effective. Yoga works with one’s body’s natural adaptive responses rather than against them. Yoga nudges one’s body from a state of allostatic i.e. an easy, relatively unsteady equilibrium to new homeostasis or a state of balanced steady equilibrium.

There are many yogic tools for achieving this state. One of them is “Uddiyana Bandh” in Shavasana or supine abdominal lift. The best time to practice this is the morning after evacuation and before breakfast. In this pose, the upper abdomen will form deep concavity that extends up and underneath the thoracic cage with a chin lock.

Technique

  • Lie down on your back and bend the lower trunk from the knees so that heels touch the hips
  • If they do not touch, just try to keep them as near to the hips as possible
  • Keep hands by side on the floor
  • Exhale fully and hold the breath out and draw the abdomen inside
  • Apply Mula bandh – anal lock and Jalandhar bandh – chin lock after pulling the abdomen in and up
  • Hold in the pose for 3 seconds
  • Release the locks before inhaling and releasing from the pose

Benefits

  • Activates viscera functions, especially of the liver, spleen, gall bladder, pancreas, and intestines
  • Increases efficiency of the pulmonary system and oxygen consumption
  • A remedial antidote for bronchitis, bronchospasm, constipation, flatulence, hyperacidity, urinary tract infection and cardiorespiratory disorders
  • Increases coronary inflow
  • Increases pulmonary efficiency
  • Increases pelvic circulation

Note of Caution

People suffering from acute ischemic heart disease, tachycardia, angina pectoris, ventricular hypertrophy, and high blood pressure should avoid it or do it under professional guidance.

(The author likes to be called a “Yoga Scientist.” He is a celebrity yoga trainer and has trained several top Hollywood and Bollywood stars. He has trained for years under many eminent yoga gurus including his illustrious mother Daya Vyas, the first lady yoga guru of India.)

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