Jalandhara Bandha, also referred to as the throat lock, has a rich history rooted in ancient yogic and tantric traditions. This technique, which involves the contraction of the throat muscles, has been practiced for centuries as a means to channel energy and deepen one’s spiritual practice. Its origins are in ancient yogic texts and teachings passed down through generations of yogis. Moreover, it is one of the three primary yogic locks. It is also a part of the rich array of yogic gestures. It transforms into Maha Bandha, commonly known as the Great Lock by seamlessly combining the Throat Lock with the other two locks, Mula Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha.
Furthermore, the Throat Lock is normally used in advanced breath control practices along with concurrent application of the other two locks. In this exploration, we intricately unravel the layers of Jalandhara Bandha, shedding light on its profound meaning, historical roots, classical textual references, and the myriad benefits it bestows upon those who embrace its practice
Jalandhara Bandha Meaning
The term Jalandhara Bandha originates from the Sanskrit words जाल (Jāla) meaning web or net, धर (dhara) meaning holding, and बंध (bandha) meaning lock. It symbolizes a lock that holds the network of the nerves, representing the internal lock that guides vital energy through the body’s network.
On the other hand, Jalam, the Sanskrit term, refers to water. As we have already seen, the term dhara signifies ‘holding’ or ‘passage’. According to Tantric mythology, Bindu, the nectar, continuously drips from Binduvisarga or Soma Chakra, a psychic lunar region. This region is located just behind the center of the eyebrows. It then drips down to the Solar center in the Navel through Visuddhi Chakra, the throat center. The fire in the Solar Center consumes the nectar. This continuous dripping of Bindu leads to aging in humans, ultimately resulting in death. Jalandhara Bandha locks this downward flow of Bindu, thereby revitalizing the practitioner and conquering death. The concept of stopping the flow of Bindu is associated with preserving vital energy and achieving spiritual objectives.
This lock is achieved by tucking the chin towards the chest, which effectively constricts the throat. Due to this action, it is commonly referred to as the Throat Lock in English. Additionally, some practitioners also acknowledge the involvement of the chin in executing this lock and therefore call it Chin Lock.
Jalandhara Bandha Origin and History
This practice is an integral part of ancient yogic techniques. Moreover, its historical significance shines through as it connects body postures, controlled breathing rhythms, and the subtle energies within us. The landscape of yoga may change over time. But these foundational elements remain steadfast, serving as timeless companions for individuals embarking on a path of self-discovery and personal growth.
With its roots deeply embedded in ancient yogic literature, it finds its origins in the subtle anatomy and energetic principles elucidated in age-old texts. Time-honored scriptures such as Goraksha Paddati (12th Century CE), Hatha Yoga Pradipika (15th Century CE), Siva Samhita, and the Gheranda Samhita provide profound insights into the practice of bandhas as integral components of Hatha Yoga.
This practice, as described in these sacred texts, boasts a lineage stretching over a millennium. Thus, it highlights its enduring relevance and integral role in the unfolding narrative of yogic traditions. Also, the historical depth of this practice underscores its timeless contributions. Hence, this enhances the essence of yoga. Also it reaffirms its enduring significance in the ever-evolving realms of spiritual and physical well-being.
What is Jalandhara Bandha as per Ancient Texts?
Hatha Yoga Pradipika
The Fifteenth Century Hatha Yoga text Hatha Yoga Pradipika vividly describes this practice.
Jalandhara is the bandha that is achieved by contracting the throat through the action of bringing the chin towards the chest. This powerful practice destroys old age and death. It catches the flow of nectar in the throat. Also, it destroys throat ailments. By doing this, the nectar does not fall into the abdominal fire. Also, Prana won’t get agitated. The contraction of the throat paralzes the Ida and Pingala Nadis and sixteen lotuses of the throat center. The Sushumna becomes active by contracting the perineum, performing Uddiyana, and locking Ida and Pingala with JalandharaHatha Yoga Pradipika Verses 70-75
Siva Samhita, in a nearly identical manner, elucidates this particular technique.
Contract the muscles of the throat by pressing the Chin on the chest. This is Jalndhara Bandha. Even the Gods reckon it as immeasurable. The fire of the navel consumes the nectar dripping down from the thousand-petaled lotus. To arrest this, one should practice this. By doing so, he consumes the nectar and becomes immortal. The wise Yogi desirous of success should practice this.Siva Samhita 4.38 to 4.40
Other Yoga Texts
Gheranda Samhita, Hatha Ratnavali, Yoga Kundalini Upanishad, Yoga Sikha Upanishad, Yoga Tattva Upanishad, and Sandilya Upanishad are some of the other ancient yoga texts that describe this practice.
Jalandhara Bandha Procedure
Now, we will embark on a comprehensive exploration of the specific procedure utilized in this technique. As a result of this exploration, we will gain valuable insights into the precautions and contraindications, the systematic step-by-step approach, the duration, and the recommended sequence of practice.
Precautions and Contraindications
This yogic practice requires careful attention to precautions and contraindications to ensure its safe and effective incorporation into one’s practice.
- Neck Issues: Individuals with neck injuries or chronic conditions should approach this practice with caution.
- Blood Pressure Concerns: The practice may influence blood pressure, and those with hypertension should exercise prudence. A gradual and mindful approach is crucial, with individuals monitoring their responses and adjusting the intensity accordingly.
- Breathing Awareness: Practitioners should maintain a heightened awareness of their breath during this practice. Abrupt or forceful movements can lead to respiratory discomfort, emphasizing the need for a gentle and controlled execution.
- Neck Conditions: Individuals with recent neck surgeries or acute neck pain should avoid or modify this practice to prevent exacerbating existing issues.
- High Blood Pressure: Similarly, those with uncontrolled high blood pressure or cardiovascular conditions should refrain from practicing this technique, as it may affect blood pressure dynamics.
- Respiratory Disorders: Individuals with respiratory conditions, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), should exercise caution, as the throat lock may impact breathing patterns.
Not a Stand-Alone Practice
It’s imperative to understand that this practice is not intended as a stand-alone practice. Moreover, for optimal benefits and safety, it should be seamlessly integrated with Pranayama practices and the other two bandhas—Mula Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha—to form Maha Bandha. These combined practices create a synergistic effect, enhancing the overall flow of prana throughout the body. Engaging in all three bandhas simultaneously ensures a balanced and harmonious energy modulation, preventing potential imbalances that may arise from isolating this practice.
In conclusion, while Jalandhara Bandha offers numerous benefits, practitioners must approach it mindfully, respecting their physical conditions and limitations. Integrating it into a comprehensive yogic practice, alongside the other bandhas, not only maximizes its efficacy but also ensures a holistic and safe exploration of this transformative technique.
How to Do Jalandhara Bandha – Steps
Performing this practice involves a step-by-step method to ensure proper alignment and effectiveness. Here’s a detailed guide on how to practice Jalandhara Bandha:
Lower the chin towards the chest, ensuring contact with the collarbone. Simultaneously, hold your breath for a comfortable duration.
Then, Gradually, release Throat Lock by lifting the head and relaxing the shoulders. Exhale in a deliberate and controlled manner.
Also, repeat this sequence for five rounds, incorporating normal breathing intervals of one to two minutes between each round.
Subsequently, practice five rounds with external retention, emphasizing the mindful control of breath and the sequential flow of energy.
Nevertheless, these steps are provided as a foundational guide for learning. Once mastered, the yogi is encouraged to seamlessly integrate this practice with other bandhas, allowing for a holistic and synergistic application.
Jalandhara Bandha Benefits
The yogic practice of throat lock holds profound benefits that extend beyond the physical realm, intertwining the physiological, pranic, and psychic aspects of human existence. As a crucial element in the holistic yogic approach, it plays a pivotal role in modulating bodily processes, enhancing well-being, and fostering longevity.
Regulation of Hormonal Secretions
The intricate dance of hormones orchestrates the life processes associated with metabolism, stress response, and instinctual vitality. Over a lifetime, these processes can contribute to the wear and tear of the body, leading to degeneration. It serves as a key tool in regulating the hormonal secretions of the pituitary gland, positioned in the throat region. This gland is a control center for various bodily functions, including metabolism.
Influence on Thyroid Function
Positioned in the front of the neck, the thyroid gland secretes thyroxine. Thyroxine is a hormone crucial for regulating tissue metabolism, nutrient consumption, and cell turnover. Through the application of this practice, the thyroid gland experiences a gentle compression, influencing nerve stimuli, blood flow, and secretory responses. This modulation impacts not only the thyroid but also the parathyroid glands, which control calcium metabolism and contribute to the body’s overall density.
Conscious Influence on Metabolism
Chronic and complex diseases in later life often stem from imbalances in hormone production and consumption over decades. It emerges as a conscious means to influence the rate of metabolism, with the pervasive influence of thyroxine reaching microscopic levels. This activates enzymatic and oxidative processes within cells. By capturing the metaphorical “nectarine flow” at the throat level, practitioners can consciously moderate the pace of bodily organ system decay.
Yogic Concept of Nectarine Flow
The yogic concept of capturing the nectarine flow at the throat level is symbolic of moderating the decay of the body’s organ systems. While this concept involves subtle processes within the pranic, mental, and psychic bodies, its physiological concomitants provide a tangible understanding. This technique, when practiced mindfully, serves as a bridge between the physiological and subtle realms, offering practitioners a clearer insight into the interconnectedness of their being.
It is a gateway to understanding and influencing the intricate interplay between the body, mind, and spirit. Through the conscious application of this yogic technique, practitioners embark on a journey towards holistic well-being. This unravels the secrets of longevity embedded in the profound wisdom of ancient yogic traditions.
In conclusion, the practice of Jalandhara Bandha emerges as a transformative gateway. Also, it harmonizes the physiological, pranic, and psychic dimensions of human existence. Beyond its physical manifestations, this yogic technique, through its conscious modulation of hormonal secretions and influence on vital glands, unveils a path towards enhanced well-being and longevity. The metaphorical capture of the nectarine flow at the throat level signifies a conscious effort to moderate the natural decay of the body’s organ systems. As practitioners delve into the profound wisdom of yogic traditions, it becomes a beacon, guiding them towards a holistic understanding of their interconnected being and the intricate dance between the tangible and subtle aspects of life.
- Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Svatmarama, Commentary by Muktibodananda, Yoga Publications Trust, Munger, India,1998.
- Gheranda Samhita, translated by Rai Bhagadur Srisa Chandra Vasu, Published by Sri Satguru Publications, New Delhi, 1979.
- Siva Samhita translated by Rai Bhagadur Srisa Chandra Vasu, Published by Bhuvaneswari Ashrama, Bahadurganj, 1914.
- Hatha Ratnavali, by Srinisana Yogi, Lonavla Yoga Institute (India), Lonavla, 2002.
- Yoga Kundali Upanishad
- Yoga Tattva Upanishad
- Yoga Sikha Upanishad
- Sandilya Upanishad