Sometimes it seems like people who are strong were just born that way and that people who are not strong will never be. In yoga you are asked to challenge their notions of what you can and cannot do. If you are weak yoga asks you to be strong. It also provides a solid technique for you to gain that strength both in the body and the mind. One crucial tool, called the bandhas, will give you access to a deep reservoir of power within yourself.
Translated as the inner locks, the bandhas will help concentrate your mind and build core strength. In order to find this deep inner work you will need to calm your mind and breathe deeply. It is best to discover the bandhas while in a comfortable crossed legged position seated on the floor. When you make contact with the inner activation needed to establish the practice of bandhas you can activate them at any time, both in your yoga practice and in your life. If you are just starting off with this subtle work, start off in a comfortable seated position on the floor, close your eyes and tune into the center of your pelvis and the base of your pelvic floor. Find the space between sitting bones and the space between your pubic bone and your tail bone. Gently activate the space between. Next engage the perineum by drawing it up into the pelvis. Contract your anus and the muscles that control your bladder. Tie this all together into one activation and draw it inwards and upwards along the spinal column. This work alone an be considered an entry into the experience of the root lock, known as Mula Bandha. Next find the space in your body between your navel and your public bone and draw that deeply into the pelvis. It feels as though you are sucking your belly inside. Do not lift the belly up towards the rib cage, but instead draw it back and slightly down to hollow out the pelvis. The abdominal muscles are engaged and drawn in. This work constitutes a good entry into the work known as Uddiyana Bandha, the lower belly lock.
Generally performed together, these two bandhas will give you an access point into the deep work of the yoga practice. Practicing yoga without a deep inner awareness of the bandhas means that you will only use your external muscles and perhaps also remain at a superficial level with the spiritual practice of yoga as well. As you touch the depths of the physical being you will also experience the depths of your spiritual being. Delve deeply and active the bandhas.