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Lesson 401 - Mulabandha and Full Yogic (belly) Breathing  (Audio)

From: Yogani
Date: May 13, 2010

New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"

Q: I have recently begun using mulabandha, and it has been quite "clunky." Does the belly still go out with full yogic breathing during mulabandha? It seems like any "lifting" comes from the abdominal muscles. The lower muscle groups don't seem to be liftable, but only contractible. So if I'm lifting on the abdominals, I was unable to still do smooth belly breathing. Maybe you could clarify this?

A: Mulabandha and full yogic breathing are highly compatible once both have been refined. At first it can be clunky, as you say, which is true of any new practice we undertake.

It is true that mulabandha involves a slight lift that can bring some compression in the lower abdomen. This can create some contradiction with the first stage of a full yogic breath, where the belly is expanding. The way around this is to let the mulabandha lift occur naturally later in the full yogic breath, when the lungs are expanding up to the collar bones. At this stage, a lift is natural and the belly comes in a bit. The lift originates in the diaphragm. In time, an energetic/ecstatic connection will be noticed between the impulse in the diaphragm and the mulabandha lift.

When we release the full yogic breath back down, the lift is released also. The gentle compression of the anal sphincter follows along naturally in this cycle. This is how the relationship of mulabandha and full yogic breathing develops. In time, the whole process becomes refined, automatic, and barely noticed as we are doing our spinal breathing pranayama.

As mudras and bandhas refine internally, this relationship between mulabandha, yogic breathing and other physical aspects of emerging "whole body mudra," can be present at any time according to its own need, eventually becoming a mere feeling with little physical manifestation. It is the awakening of ecstatic conductivity and radiance.

Natural (not exaggerated) full yogic breathing remains primary in spinal breathing and does not conflict with the subtle movements of mulabandha in the pelvic region, or any other mudras and bandhas. In time, all of these elements become quite natural and complementary. It is the inner connectedness of yoga occurring.

Mulabandha Related Lessons Topic Path
Spinal Breathing Related Lessons Topic Path

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Note: For instructions on full yogic breathing (belly breathing+), see the Spinal Breathing Pranayama book.  For instructions on mulabandha and other mudras and bandhas, see the Asanas, Mudras and Bandhas book. Also see AYP Plus.

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