A bandha is a physical lock or action which effects the pranic body in a particular way. Bandhas are an element of mudras and are extensively implicit in mudra and pranayama practices. Although they are an aspect of mudras, their inherent actions reveal them to be essentially important practices on their own.
Bandhas contain and regulate the flow of prana within the nadis (energy channels) and our body, much like heart valves do within our hearts, they are positions which close body apertures. By engaging a bandha, we are able to move the pranic flow with greater control through the nadis and thus help prevent the pranic energy from dissipating out of our bodies. In addition, bandhas help us to increase our internal awareness and intensify the cleansing effects when coupled with pranayama, asana, and other mudras.
Once the bandhas are mastered and integration and combined with mudra and pranayama techniques, then the psychic faculties are awaken, thus opening us up to the potential of higher yogic practices.
There are four (4) primary bandhas
Jalandhara Bandha - (throat lock - means “a net” or “a lattice”)
Mula or Moola Bandha - (perineal lock - means “root” or “foundation”)
Uddiyana Bandha - (solar plexus lock - means “flying up”)
Maha Bandha - enacting all three bandhas at once (used in Maha Mudra)