October: Hatha Yoga Part 4 of 4
by Kevin Sahaj, 30-Sep-2016
Hatha Yoga Part 4
Mudra, Bandha and Kundalini Energy
udghāṭayetkapāṭaṃ tu yathā kuṃchikayā haṭhāt |
kuṇḍalinyā tathā yoghī mokṣhadvāraṃ vibhedayet || 105 ||
As a door is opened with a key, so the Yogî opens the door of mukti by opening Kuṇḍalinî by means of Haṭha Yoga.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika describes practices called Mudras and Bandhas for awakening Kundalini Shakti.
Mudra means a gesture, mudras can involve the whole body or parts of the body like the hands or the eyes. Their function is to direct prana in different ways. Bandhas are physical and energetic ways to bind or hold the energy. Their function is to contain, bind and direct prana into energetic centers to purify the chakras and awaken pranic energy.
In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika the main purpose of all hatha yoga practices are to direct the solar and lunar energies into the central channel (Suṣumnâ) that is in the center of the body from the perineum to the crown of the head. This direction of the pranic energy into the central channel awakens the sleeping snake energy call Kundalini which is sleeping at the base of the spine. Kundalini is the latent potential we all have to awaken to our highest potential as an awakened human being. It is described as a serpent "Goddess" in the text.
How do we apply these practices in our daily yoga routine? One example of Mudra is the Anjali mudra when we place our hands together in prayer position. This has the energetic effect of bringing all our pranic energy to unify in the heart center, the true seat of awareness.
One example of bandha is when we apply Mulabandha lifting the pelvic floor muscles during the exhale phase of the breathing in Ashtanga yoga. This has the energetic effect of pulling the downward flowing pranic energy towards the inner fire below the navel awakening Kundalini energy.
An experience of Kundalini energy could be experienced something like during shavasana relaxation you feel a blissful flow of energy in your spine moving and your mind is very clear. Or you may have experiences of lights, sexual energy, wisdom insights. There are no limits to the ways that kundalini energy can manifest, but essentially it is an acceleration of our wisdom potential manifested as an energy experience in the body.
The Hatha Yoga pradipika is rich and deep text that all serious students of yoga will find interesting. Most of the practices in the text are not taught generally in yoga classes but can be learned from a teacher who has experience and guidance from an authentic lineage.
Kevin Sahaj is a dedicated yoga practitioner who has been studying and practicing yoga for 30 years. His approach to teaching is eclectic and draws from many different methods and teachings to help students align their lives towards awakening.