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Do You Know What Chest Expansion Without Air Is, The Uddiyana Bandha And The c?

In this week’s article, we’re going to address 3 Techniques Called Bandhas:

1) Expansion of the chest without air

2) The Uddiyana Bandha

3) The Rajas Uddiyana Bandhasana

Bandha means = blocking, contraction, retaining, closing.

When we perform a Bandha, the flow of energy to a certain area of ​​the body is blocked. When we release the Bandha, this energy flow floods and runs through the whole body, in a more intense way.

The purpose of performing Bandhas is to retain prana (vital energy) in specific areas of the body, and then redirect its flow through the Sushumna Nadi (central and subtle energy channel at the base of the spine) in order to awaken the Kundalini.

When you start learning the Bandhas, you should start by learning how to expand your chest without air, as we can say that this and the Uddiyana Bandha are simpler to perform than the Rajas Uddiyana Bandhasana, however being their base and necessary preparation for the later and correct performance of Rajas Uddiyana Bandhasana.

Those who don’t practice yoga can be very impressed and find it spectacular and complicated to perform bandhas in the abdominal area. However, the expansion of the chest without air and the Uddiyana Bandha do not present great difficulty, and when one understands their mechanism, one can perform them in a short time.

In Hatha-Yoga, these techniques are as elementary as brushing your teeth after meals.

Preconditions for successfully executing these 3 techniques:

  1. Fasting.
  2. To allow the diaphragm to rise, the lungs must be and remain empty (no air) throughout the exercise.
  3. The abdominal girdle must be relaxed and passive; the abdominal muscles do not participate in the exercise, as their contraction would nullify the action of atmospheric pressure. The only time the abdominal muscles contract, and along with the intercostal muscles, is when we exhale to let all the air out.
  4. It is due to a false and purposeful thoracic inspiration (without air) that the diaphragm is driven to a higher position, in the execution of the chest expansion without air and Uddiyana Bandha.

Chest Expansion Without Air

When you start practising yoga, and your teacher explains and demonstrates how you should perform chest expansion without air, at first, and no matter how hard you try, it seems that nothing happens… the belly is contracted, you don’t see the abdominal area to be sucked …

Do not be discouraged! It’s normal, because at the beginning we are all very conditioned to the fact that the belly only moves upwards and inwards if we contract the abdominal muscles.

Contrary to what it may seem, in expansion of the chest without air, the abdominal area is sucked (retracted) backwards and upwards, and not contracted backwards and upwards! There is therefore no contraction of the abdominal muscles, they are simply receptive and passive during chest expansion without air.

During the yoga class, we perform chest expansion without air normally in Uttanásana or Marjariasana, and only for 4 to 5 seconds, hence it is not essential to perform Jalandhara bandha (which is already necessary in Uddiyana Bandha).

However, to perform chest expansion without air for a longer period of time, and/or in a standing posture, you must also, and always, perform the Jalandhara bandha. This is to prevent the throat from being pulled inwards and downwards due to the difference in air pressure between the ribcage and the abdominal area.

Performing chest expansion without air with Jalandhara bandha is called Uddiyana Bandha.

How To Perform Chest Expansion Without Air:

1st step

In the Uttanásana or Marjariasana posture, exhale vigorously by contracting all the muscles involved in expiration: intercostal muscles, abdominals, etc., thus emptying the lungs – including the expiratory reserve – facilitating the expansion of the chest without air.

At the beginning, to be aware of what it is to eliminate the expiratory reserve, at the end of the expiration through the nose, completely eliminate the air (from the expiratory reserve) blowing with your lips, as if you were blowing out a distant candle.

2nd step

In apnea, that is, without allowing air to enter the lungs again, quickly but completely relax the abdominal area that you had contracted to accentuate the vigorous exhalation.

Then spread the lateral ribs apart expanding the thorax again (keeping the lungs empty), performing the simulacrum of a deep thoracic inspiration. When the ribs rise and the diaphragm rises, you will observe with surprise the sucking of the abdomen.

Hold the expansion of the chest without air for a few moments – 4 to 5 seconds – and then breathe in again, repeating the whole process again to perform the expansion of the chest without air.

You can repeat 5 to 10 X.

Uddiyana Bandha

To better understand the Uddiyana Bandha, let’s start by analysing the meaning of the words:

Bandha = blocking, contraction, retaining, closing.

Uddiyana  = to move upwards or fly (this technique allows prana to rise through the Sushumna Nadi).

The Uddiyana Bandha should never be practised in isolation, but always accompanied by Jalandhara Bandha, previously performed, becoming even more effective when accompanied by Mula Bandha.

Performance Technique And Posture

To safely find the correct position, you must:

First, put yourself in a squatting position; so the back is a little convex.
Then get up slowly, without changing the position of your torso, that is, do not change your inclination or the curvature of your back.
When the legs are almost stretched out in a straight line (in this case the knees are bent, as if to ski), the kneecap is in a vertical line with the tips of the toes.
Then place the palms of your hands on your thighs, slightly flexing your arms (projecting your elbows out and forward) to stay in the correct position and facilitate the exercise, the fingers of your hands should be directed towards the inner area of ​​your thighs. Relaxed shoulders.
To relax the abdominal area, the arms must support the shoulders and keep the body firmly in place throughout the exercise.

Foot separation

Adjusting as mentioned above, the feet will automatically be 30 to 40 cm apart from each other, and almost parallel.

When you are already able to perform the Uddiyana Bandha with ease, you can dispense with going through the squatting position.

Uddiyana Bandha can also be performed in Padmasana, Sidhasana, Samanasana.

Method Of Execution

1st step

Exhale vigorously, contracting all the muscles involved in expiration: intercostal muscles, abdominal muscles, etc. In this way, you completely empty your lungs (including the expiratory reserve, blowing at the end through your mouth, as we mentioned in the chest expansion without air) facilitating abdominal suction.

2nd step

Performs the Jalandhara Bandha (swallowing, bring the chin to the sternum).

In apnea, that is, without allowing air to enter the lungs again, quickly but completely relax the abdominal area that you had contracted to accentuate vigorous exhalation. Then move the lateral ribs apart, expanding the thorax, performing the simulacrum of a deep thoracic inspiration – you performed the expansion of the thorax without air.

Holds the Uddiyana Bandha for a few moments – 5 to 10 seconds at first – and the Jalandhara Bandha.
With practice, you can then progressively increase the duration.

3rd Step – End of Uddiyana Bandha

To finish the Uddiyana Bandha, reduce the amplitude of the rib cage by contracting the thoracic muscles involved in exhalation, and allow the rib cage to return to its normal amplitude and the abdomen to its usual position.

Undo the Jalandhara Bandha, and only at this point, inhale: this way the air will enter the lungs smoothly.

If you let the air flow into Uddiyana Bandha, the depression in the chest would cause a violent intake of air into the lungs. Taking into account the very delicate and extremely thin structure that is the alveolar membrane, this is not advisable.

Causes Of Failure In The Implementation Of Uddiyana Bandha And Solutions

Uddiyana cannot succeed if:

  • The lungs do not remain empty, and air is let in at the time of suction.

Solution: Firmly perform Jalandhara Bandha with continuous control of the glottis.

  •  The abdominal girdle remains contracted. In the starting position, lungs empty, feel the musculature of the abdominal area with your hand to check that it is relaxed. If not, Uddiyana is impossible.

Solution: see next paragraph.

  • The ribcage does not expand enough.

Solution: lying in dorsal decubitus, legs bent and knees together, empty your lungs and try to expand your chest without air moving your ribs laterally, always with empty lungs. Despite the suction achieved being smaller, as it is easier to relax the abdomen lying down, this allows you to learn to perform the movement more easily.

Effects

Organic Effects

— The poor functioning of the digestive system is the most frequent cause of most diseases today. Uddiyana Bandha optimizes the functioning of this system, preventing disturbances caused by its incorrect functioning. It also strengthens and makes the diaphragm and other muscles of the respiratory system more aware and flexible.

— Inappropriate breathing and gas exchange is another cause of disease and degeneration. During the performance of Uddiyana Bandha, the lungs are gently compressed and this markedly improves the efficiency of gas exchange (oxygen uptake, carbon dioxide expulsion).

— The suction provoked by the Uddiyana has a powerful effect in tonifying the viscera, organs, muscles, nerves and glands.

— Suction or negative pressure on the thorax stimulates blood circulation, causing venous blood to rise from the abdominal area towards the heart, and at the same time, arterial blood is absorbed by Organs internal organs.

— The heart is gently compressed and massaged by the pressure of the diaphragm.

— The autonomic nervous system, and particularly the solar plexus, are strengthened.

— The process of digestion, assimilation, and elimination are directly influenced.

– Uddiyana Bandha contributes to delaying and slowing down the natural process of degeneration, and can even revitalize and rejuvenate a prematurely aged and worn out body.

— Undoubtedly, the natural degenerative process cannot be totally reversed, but the practice of Uddiyana Bandha causes innumerable and powerful physical, psychological and emotional benefits. However, you must bear in mind that ageing is a natural process in the course of our existence.

— To obtain the above effects, the Uddiyana Bandha must be performed properly. This does not occur before the natural and spontaneous holding of breath (empty lungs) for more than 2 to 4 minutes.

— Remember that to reasonably control Uddiyana Bandha, regular practice for months and months, combined with other Yoga techniques and a proper diet, is necessary.

Energy Effects

— The Uddiyana Bandha is considered the most powerful of the Bandhas.

— The Uddiyana Bandha changes the downward course of the apana vayú, moving the apana upwards (towards the chest), uniting it with the prana vayú and samana vayú in the center of the navel.

— It is through the combination of the Uddiyana Bandha, Jalandhara Bandha and Mula Bandha, that the prana is carefully remitted and enclosed in the vayu samana. When the two opposing energy poles – prana and apana – come into contact in the samana area, they trigger the activation of Shakti that moves towards the Sushumna Nadi. It is this action that leads to the rising awakening of the Kundalini.

— It is clear that this type of effects does not occur with the simple practice of a few cycles. It requires constant and continuous practice, and the combination with other Yoga techniques, as well as the essential supervision of an experienced Yoga master.

Contraindications

— High blood pressure – holding your breath with empty lungs for a long time can cause your blood pressure to rise.

— All acute infections of Organs abdominal organs: colitis, appendicitis, gastric or duodenal ulcers, inguinal hernias, etc.

If the practitioner is unaware that he has an infection, performing the Uddiyana Bandha will cause pain and discomfort – in this case, he should consult his doctor.

— After abdominal surgery.

— Abdominal prolapses, on the other hand, are Not a contraindication; this exercise will even bring you great relief.

— During menstruation.

— During the pregnancy.

Attention: pain in the abdominal area may simply be due to the accumulation of gases in the intestines due to fermentation. When this happens, you should not force the performance of Uddiyana Bandha.

Rajas Uddiyana Bandhasana (standing)

Rajas Uddiyana Bandha (seated)

The Uddiyana Bandha leads directly to the Rajas Uddiyana Bandhasana and Rajas Uddiyana Bandha.

Translation:

RAJAS = movement.
BANDHA = blocking, contracting, retaining, closing.
UDDIYANA = to move upwards or fly (this technique allows prana to rise through the Sushumna Nadi).

Rajas Uddiyana Bandhasana (standing)

Performance Technique And Posture

This technique produces an increase in body temperature and digestive fire. Rest assured, for the fire in question is only that of digestion!

This technique consists of a series of repeated Uddiyana Bandha, with empty lungs, in Jalandhara Bandha., and the same standing posture referred to for Uddiyana Bandha.

Method Of Execution

1st step

Perform the Jalandhara bandha, and then the breathless chest expansion (i.e. the Uddiyana Bandha).

2nd step

Closing the thoracic cage (use the intercostal muscles), let the abdominal area immediately return to its normal position (the belly becomes passive), and then immediately return to expanding the thorax without air again, executing the Uddiyana Bandha again, expanding from new the entire ribcage.

3rd step

Keep repeating this action of opening and closing the ribcage successively, until the need to inhale again leads you to interrupt the exercise.

4th step

To finish, and after executing the last Uddiyana Bandha, you must first relax the abdominal area by closing the chest, undo the Jalandhara Bandha, and only then inhale slowly and calmly, regularizing your breathing.

— After you have regularized your breathing, start again immediately, a new cycle.

— At first perform Rajas Uddiyana Bandhásana slowly, 5 to 15 repetitions per cycle, until you master the technique.

— When you have already mastered its execution, accelerate the pace of execution until you reach one abdominal suction per second, in uninterrupted series of 50 or 60 Uddiyanas or more, without inhaling.

The difficulty (and the challenge!) is to carry out these expansions of the chest without breathing, keeping the abdominal area completely relaxed.

Do not forget that, as for the performance of Uddiyana Bandha, the stomach must be empty.

Causes Of Failure In The Execution Of Rajas Uddiyana Bandhasana And Solutions

— The same referred to the Uddiyana Bandha.

Effects

— Rajas Uddiyana Bandhásana and Rajas Uddiyana Bandha cause a deep massage in the abdominal area, which is compressed and released vigorously. This action later facilitates the assimilation of food and accelerates intestinal digestion, thus justifying the surname of Agnisara Dhauti “purification by fire (digestive)”.

— The same referred to in the Uddiyana Bandha.

Contraindications

— The same referred to the Uddiyana Bandha.

Rajas Uddiyana Bandha (seated)

The performance of the previous Bandha, in the sitting posture, is called Rajas Uddiyana Bandha.

You can do it in a sitting position, following the same steps described for the standing position. The traditionally advised sitting postures are:

– Samanasana
– Siddhasana
– Padmasana.

Note:

You can consult the links, in two videos, the execution of Rajas Uddiyana Bandhásana standing (total plane and abdominal plane).

You can also refer to the video of Rajas Uddiyana Bandha (seated posture).

Attention!

All the techniques mentioned require the supervision and monitoring of an experienced and competent teacher.

Do not try to train these techniques alone.