Let us now decipher two important aspects of the Advanced practices that regulate the Psychic system of our Energy body: Mudras, the Psychic attitude and Bandhas, the Psychic locks.
Mudras: These are postures or gestures to connect the Individual pranic force with the Universal cosmic force. Mudra practices establish a direct link between the Physical body (Annamaya kosha), the Mental body (Manomaya kosha), and the Vital body (Pranamaya kosha). Mudras, by redirecting energy enables the awakening of the Pranas, Chakras and the Kundalini. It leads to the mind becoming introverted, inducing Pratyahara or sense withdrawal and Dharana or concentration.
Hasta mudras generate a loop of energy which moves from the brain down the hand and then that prana emitted by the fingertips is redirected back again. Included in this category are, the commonly practiced Gyana mudra and Chin mudra, the powerful Yoni mudra and Bhairava mudra, and the sanjeevani-quality Hridaya mudra.
Some techniques adopted by the sages and the yogis engaging eyes, ears, tongue and lips under Mana mudras are Sambhavi mudra, Nasikagra drishti mudra, Khechari mudra, Shanmukhi mudra, Kaki mudra, and Bhoochari mudra.
The postural mudras utilize physical postures with the combination of breathing and concentration, and fall under Kaya mudras, some of which are included in Kriya yoga practices; namely Vipareeta karani mudra and Yoga mudra, also Manduki mudra, and Pashinee mudra.
Adhara mudra works the perineal muscles at the pelvic floor area to redirect prana from the lower centers to the brain, which helps to harness the sexual energy at the sacral chakra into the solar channel. e.g. Vajroli mudra, Sahajoli mudra, Ashwini mudra, Maha bheda mudra.
Finally, the lock mudra, known as Bandhas, which utilize the engagement of subtle skeletal muscles that of Vocal, the Respiratory and the Pelvis to hold in the Prana and redirect it into the Susumna nadi. The three bandhas, Moola bandha, Uddiyana bandha and the Jalandhara bandha, directly act on the Psychic knots, that of the Brahma granthi, Vishnu granthi and the Rudra granthi, respectively.
When the first knot of Brahma granthi blockage is removed by application of the Moola bandha, Kundalini rises beyond Mooladhara and the Swadisthana chakras as it is released from the pull and attraction of the instinctual patterns of the personality. The second knot Vishnu granthi associated with the Manipura and the Anahata chakras when freed with Uddiyana Bandha, the physical, emotional and the mental aspects become harmonious. When the third knot of Rudra granthi is unlocked by Jalandhara Bandha, the kundalini rises beyond Visuddhi and Ajna chakras to unite with the energy of the cosmos.
Jalandhara incorporates jala, that is net, and dhara, which is stream. Jalandhara bandha, the Throat lock, is thus the physical contraction that controls the network of Nadis, Nerves and Blood vessels flowing through the neck to the Brain. It brings mental relaxation and develops concentration.
Uddiyana bandha is Abdominal contraction, where uddiyana means to raise or to fly upwards. In this practice the physical lock applied to the abdomen which causes the Diaphragm to rise towards the chest. It also directs the prana into Susumna nadi, and causes it to ‘fly’ upward. The abdominal organs are massaged and the digestive fire is stimulated.
In Moola bandha, moola refers to the root of the spine or the Perineum where Mooladhara chakra, the seat of Kundalini, is located. Therefore, Moola bandha is also known as Perineal lock, and is effective in awakening of the Mooladhara chakra. It stimulates the pelvic nerves and tones the excretory and reproductive system.
Finally, Maha bandha, the Great lock, is a combination of all the three bandhas- Jalandhara, Moola and Uddiyana. It regulates the entire endocrine system. The degenerative and ageing processes are checked, and every cell of the body is rejuvenated by this practice.