How and Why to Use Jalandhara Bandha

Guide to Yoga's Throat Lock

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Jalandhara bandha is one of the of the three interior body "locks" used in asana and pranayama practice to control the flow of energy. Mula bandha is the root lock and is concerned with the the pelvis. Uddiyana bandha is the abdominal lock. Jalandhara bandha, the throat lock, can be practiced alone or in conjunction with the other two. When practiced together, the three locks are known as maha bandha, the great lock.

How to Engage Jalandhara Bandha

Begin by sitting in a comfortable cross-legged position. Place your hands on your knees with the palms facing upwards. Inhale so the lungs are about two-thirds full, and then hold your breath in. Drop your chin down and draw it back closer to the chest making a double chin. At the same time, lift your sternum towards your chin. Relax your shoulders away from your ears.

Hold as long as is comfortable and then lift your chin up and finish your inhalation before releasing the breath. To practice in conjunction with the other two bandhas, first draw the pelvic floor upwards, engaging mula bandha. This leads to the abdomen drawing in and up under the ribcage  in uddiyana bandha. Finally, the chin drops to the chest and draws back into jalandhara bandha. 

When to Do Jalandhara Bandha

Unlike the other two bandhas, the throat lock doesn't often come into use within an asana practice.

The exception is in poses like shoulderstand and bridge, where bringing the chest toward the chin in the posture itself creates the throat lock. It's more commonly done as part of seated pranayama. It's a powerful stretch for the neck, an area that often holds tension and gets knotted up from looking at screens all day.

Energetically, jalandhara is connected to the vishuddha (throat) chakra. Clearing this chakra helps allow for better communication and self-expression. Physiologically, practicing the throat lock is thought to be beneficial for promoting thyroid health. ​

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