About the body
II.47 Patanjali Yoga Sutra Steadiness and ease of posture is to be achieved through persistent slight effort and through the concentration of the mind upon the infinit
II.48 Patanjali Yoga Sutra When this is attained the pairs of opposites no longer limit.(translation of Sutras by Alice Bailey)
One of the techniques from the classical practices which is really powerful in uniting the two opposites is something called moola bandha. Moolah is “root” and Banda is lock, and the experience of moola bandha or root lock can be activated by several different approaches.
On the physical level a very simple way to begin to activate this root lock is to engage in lift the space between the anus and the genitals. Bring your attention to the area and attempt to draw it up and in toward your navel. Now hold that for your entire practice while breathing at the same time. For me, to be honest, I have the best luck with this if I work with it in seated forward bends and standing postures. Some yogi’s can perform this to an extent they levitate the body. In my opinion working with it on both levels is useful, and working with it simply is safer.
On and energetic level what moolah bandha does is move the energy in an energy center called the mooladhara chakra(the root chakra) which energizes the entire pelvic girdle. To directly experience our energy requires patience and the cultivation of a subtler level of attention. But for some, this is easier. Just know that if you keep practicing consistently and well you will have tangible experiences of this kind of energy and be able to learn to manage it. As a matter of fact we all feel our energy all the time. Some examples are the experiences of sexual desire or butterflies in the stomach. When we’re focused on identification with our sexual identity, our financial identity our tribal identity and our identity as a body (as opposed to as a spiritual being) the energy of this center moves out into the material world. We may notice this as an experience of deep fatigue. The energy also moves outward if we seek our answers outside of ourselves, rather than listening within.
When we work with Moola Bandha this way of looking at ourselves and looking for answers shifts. We begin to wake up to a different way of understanding our lives – what are we creating, how we participate in the larger community of the universe, what is our personal path of love and what is our authentic expression. When we start asking these kinds of questions, looking in these directions for the answers to the questions that arise in our lives Moola Bandha is activated on an energetic level. When it’s activated on an energetic level it often spontaneously arises on a physical level as well. The trick is to keep the state of mind as you re-engage the external world.
A powerful way to support the physical practice of moola bandha is to shift our attention towards these universal considerations while we practice. Our attention will work harmoniously with the physical contraction of the space between the anus and the genitals. By working these two aspects together we activate a powerfully gentle form of transformation. How do we shift our attention while we are in our practice? Shouldn’t our attention during our practice be on our practice? I encourage you to ask those questions when you are on your mat in your personal practice. There are as many approaches to this integration as there are people practicing yoga. Some people meditate before practice. Some people chant before practice. Some pray. Some extend the benefit of their practice to others or take a moment to envision that somehow as the practice transforms them – that the world around them will transform into a peaceful world where beings are happy and free. The possibilities are endless hence Patanjali’s statement about the limits. The important thing is to consider incorporating these kinds of techniques into your practice on a physical level. In actual practice an effective moola bandha will show up in a lightness – a freedom of movement, a steadiness of the mind, and a stability in the grounding of the posture. It may also show up as a different understanding of yourself in the practice and this I will leave you to discover on your own!