Maha Mudra (Great Mudra) registers as 5* on the scale of difficulty. In this position, you perform three bandhas (energy locks) simulatenously: Mula Bandha (the closing off and drawing up of the anal sphincter), Uddiyana Bandha (the drawing up of the diaphragm toward the rib cage), and Jalandhara Banda (the tucking of the chin toward the chest to close off the throat). As Iyengar explains, by performing all three mudras simultaneously, ” the apertures at the top and bottom of the trunk are held fast and sealed.”
Iyengar outlines many benefits of Mahamudra: “This asana tones the abdominal organs, the kidneys and adrenal glands. Women suffering from a prolapsed womb find relief as it pulls the womb up to its original position. Persons suffering from spleen ailments and from enlargement of the prostate gland will benefit by staying in this pose longer. It cures indigestion.”Â As if these benefits weren’t enough to convince the practitioner of the pose’s value, Iyengar quotes theÂ Hatha Yoga Pradipika, “‘This Mahamudra destroys death and many other pains.’ ‘There is nothing that one cannot eat or has to avoid (if one has practised it).’”
Poses like Maha Mudra appear so simple, yet can have such profound effects on the body. Often in yoga, the poses that strike us as straightforward have the potential to benefit us greatly. The ultimate effects of the yoga practice are not immediately visible through the observance of a pose. They’re experienced through the flow of prana through the physical and subtle bodies.
Have you experienced the powerful impact of bandhas in your yoga practice? Share your experiences with me.