Hi there, dear friends, 😀
Since I picked up Yoga 3 weeks ago, I have learned a few techniques that have helped me tremendously (aside from the slimming or toning aspects) in my life – specifically on injuries related to my strenuous house chores, like mopping the floors, picking up heavy things, bending a lot, and so on. I have had a lower back slipped disc injury many years ago and whenever I bend often in my work, I usually end up with lower back pains for days.
But since I have been applying this Yoga method whenever I have to exert myself or bend over too much, I am very happy to say that now I no longer have lower backaches! 😀
This Yoga technique is called a Mula Bandha or a Root Lock, one of the three Bandhas (Locks) that were taught by my Yoga instructor. (I will describe the other equally good Bandhas later on.) Basically, we apply this interior lock whenever we have to bend over to lift something heavy, do strenuous activities, or like in my case, having to put my whole weight on my mop to wring it dry. In addition to protecting our spine, this Mula Bandha also have other good health benefits.
1) Increases flexibility of our spine and stimulates heat (good for those of you who feel cold during winter?)
2) Helps to prevent back injury by guiding us to move from our centre of body – when we have this lock in our lower spine, our back is stronger.
3) Ovaries in the female and the prostate gland in the male receive an increased flow of blood circulation. For ladies, this will benefit those with irregular mentrual periods.
4) Helps to prevent haemorrhoids.
5) Beneficial for toning up the kidneys and bladders.
6) Good for those with incontinence problems that most ladies would often get when they reach middle age.
Mula Bandha focuses on those muscles that form a sling in our pelvis, from the pubis in front to the coccyx at the back. These muscles support the upper part of our vagina, the uterus, the rectum, the bladder and the prostate. We ladies usually know this technique as Kegels’ Exercises, which is often prescribed by gynaecologists after childbirth. For men, the area of these muscles can be identified by imagining that you are urinating and that you must stop the flow of urine by using (or contracting) these muscles.
When the Mula Bandha is engaged, we prevent prana (chi or lifeforce) from escaping from our lower body and prana flow is directed in the body. That is why heat is generated internally when prana or chi is flowing well in us. This lock is also used during Yoga asanas (postures) to prevent injury.
1) Sit comfortably on the floor or on a chair, or stand up in a relaxed manner.
2) Take a few breaths slowly, counting 1 to 4 for each inhalation and exhalation.
3) After you have exhaled completely, hold your breath and start contracting your pelvis muscles, as if you are stopping the flow of urine during a pee. For beginners, this will take a short time for you to get used to this step. Contract the muscles as much as you can …..and then, LOCK them in place.
4) With the Mula Bandha or LOCK engaged, continue to breathe in slowly and do normal breathing a few times.
5) Release the Mula Bandha or Root Lock, and repeat steps 3 and 4 again. Do this about 5 times or more if you wish or are able to.
This really beneficial Yoga technique can be done a few times a day…for me, I often have to engage the Mula Bandha when I am mopping the floor, when I reach down to pick up things, and even when I am sitting in front of the PC. It helps my spine to be firm and strong.
Note – DO NOT do the Mula Bandha if you are pregnant, having your menses, or right after a meal (best is 2 to 3 hours after a meal).
For those of you that often get lower back pains like me, I hope you will try to do this Yoga Technique and later say “Bye Bye” to your backaches! 😉