Finding Stability with Uddiyana Bandha
As we slow down our practice to mimic the energy of winter we are presented an opportunity to dive deep into the experience of the asanas, postures. You may have noticed that along with postures that open the chest and throat we have started to hold certain postures for longer periods of time. Slowing down and holding postures allows us to awaken deep muscles to help support the body.
One of the main supports we are looking to activate resides in the abdomen. We cue this action each time we meet at the top of our mat to initiate our ujjayi breath. This action of drawing the navel in and up is called Uddiyana Bandha, ‘upward flying lock’. We are looking to engage Uddiyana Bandha throughout our practice, especially during postures that require us to find stability. Postures such as Warrior 3, Plank, Side Plank, and Boat pose all require us to access our deep abdominal muscles to hold the pose for a length of time.
What becomes interesting in holding postures is its effects on the body. Having more time with a posture gives us space to settle in and feel how the breath and the body subtly shift with time. We can also tune into the grounding effects of each unique posture while building strength and heat. This grounding effect can be felt not only in the physical body but the emotional body as well, having an overall calming effect.
We will play around with finding Uddiyana Bandha engagement in our practice and utilizing postures that build strength, stamina, and stability over the winter months.