James Russell Yoga

MUDRĀ & BANDHA

© James Dylan Russell 2017
MUDRĀ
मुद्र - mudrā (pronounced 'mu-draa')
~ seal/gesture
A mudrā is either a symbolic gesture or an energetic seal, used to contain and manipulate subtle energy called prāṇa. A variety of 'Hasta' - hand mudrā originate from Tantra and were traditionally used to invoke an array of Deities and celestial beings. In asceticism and haṭha yoga a variety of more physicalised mudras were developed to contain and direct the flow of subtle energy and induce longevity and expanded states of awareness.

For example, inverted postures like headstand and shouldertand were originally classified as mudras, and were renowned for their revitalising health benefits.
BANDHA
बन्ध - bandha (pronounced 'banda')
~ bond/lock
The concept of Bandha has been likened to the 'damning of a river' and refers to physical and energetic locks engaged used in order to preserve, contatin and redistribute the flow of pranā (energy) within the body.

There are three principle bandhas: 'mūla,' 'uḍḍiyāna', and 'jālandhara' located respectively in the perineum, abdomen and throat.

The bandhas are often utilised in conjunction with āsana & prāṇāyāma and are a power tool deepening physical awareness, re-aligning consciousness and containing vital energy.
Jālandhara bandha, uḍḍiyāna bandha and mūla bandha are situated respectively in the throat, abdomen and perineum. If their duration can be increased, then where is the fear of death?

Adi Śankaracharya - Yoga Taravali