Hatha Yoga - Glory of The Nath Tradition
By Rishi Dharmachandra (Gandhar Mandlik) - Gandhar is a Electrical
engineer, and currently he is the course coordinator at Yoga Vidya Gurukul, he is
teaching and practicing yoga for the last 12 years. He was initiated in to Rishi
Sannayasa by his Guru Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati.
Mudras & Bandhas in Hatha Yoga
Mudra means a gesture showing particular state of consciousness or emotion or attitude. Bandhas are energy locks used to control the flow of prana. Mudras & Bandhas are very important discoveries by Yogis and Rishis. They used them to successfully alter the state of mind, thought process, emotions and control the higher awakenings of Prana. Some of these mudras allow the mind to become more focused, some are to deepen the awareness & to awaken the dormant energy or dormant potential or kundalini energy. Some of the mudras are described for achieving psychic powers and extrasensory perceptions.
In Hatha Yoga many mudras are described with a purpose to awaken the dormant kundalini energy and channelize it to reach the higher states of consciousness. These mudras have been described as destroyer of old age and death, and to realize a state of consciousness beyond time and space barrier. The body is made of matter and will transform one or other day and there is no immortality to the body but the awareness or consciousness or mind can reach higher dimension where there is no death and old age. This idea which is related to concept of time and space barrier is the subject of interest for the yogis, they described this state as total freedom or immortality, the same state was described by Buddha as Nirvana or Samadhi by Patanjali. In this state there is no binding of time barrier which makes past, present and future for a normal state of consciousness, and no space barrier which binds us to a particular place in the universe. Going beyond this is described as a blissful and eternal state of existence in all the Yogic texts by many great Rishis and Sages. Mudras in Hatha Yoga are used for this purpose.
Mudras and bandhas have profound effect on the body and mind. They affect the body in a positive way by bringing balance to nervous system and endocrine system, they regulate the flow of neurons in neural networks and affect the nervous system. When the nervous system is balanced the endocrine system is in harmony and in balance. Different important organs are also affected by practice of mudras & bandhas as different mudras and bandhas concentrate the pranic energy in the region of vital organs regulating their function and bringing increased health. These techniques have positive effect on the entire body-mind complex. They can be used to treat various health conditions, ailments and diseases.
Mudras in Hatha Yoga are recommended after mastery over Asana and Pranayama. Certain level of proficiency is needed to practice mudras, healthy body systems, stronger nervous system, better neuromuscular coordination, ability to concentrate. This is achieved with Asana & Pranayama practices and then one can have controlled flow of prana & stronger mind which are key to success in the study of Mudras and Bandhas.
Prana - Vital Force or life force
Mudra - Gesture indicative of particular state of consciousness, attitude or emotion
Bandha - Pranic Energy locks
Asana - Physical posture
Pranayama - Control of Prana or vital force
Rishis - Seers or Yogis who discovered higher dimensions of consciousness
Kundalini - Dormant Potential Force, assumed to be present in every living being and associated with higher spiritual awakenings.
Hatha - Ha - Sun, Tha - moon Hatha yoga is a discipline consisting of practices such as Asanas, Pranayama, Mudra & Bandhas to reach the states of balance or harmony or self realization.
Rishi Dharmachandra (Gandhar Mandlik)