This bandh relates mainly to the muscles of the anus, penis and the muscles located nearby. The muladhar chakra is supposed to be located near penis. Hence this bandh relates to muladhar chakra and is termed as mulbandh. Also it relates to the base of the spine, this may be the other reason for naming it as such because 'mul' means root or base.
If the bandh is to be performed ideally it should be performed in Siddhasan. Otherwise it may also be performed in Padmasan. But Siddhasan is supposed to be the ideal preposition.
Action of the bandh
After sitting in Siddhasan, the left heel is properly placed under the penis. The weight of the body creates pressure on that part. After achieving a firm pose, the anal muscles and the other surrounding muscles should be contracted and moved upwards. This is the pose of the mulbandh.
The anus has two muscles. One inside and the other outside. Both these muscles are round. It is expected in this bandh to contract these muscles and to lift them upwards. However, these muscles alone are not to be contracted and lifted but the other surrounding muscles should also be similarly contracted and lifted. The muscles of the penis are also to be lifted in this bandh. Achieving pose in this bandh is easier, however it is important to be in the same pose for a while. This is difficult and requires quite a bit of practice.
The muscles which are not generally used, are contracted in this bandh. This results in more blood supply to these muscles thereby improving their efficiency. This is the obvious benefit of this bandh. Also, the muscles surrounding Muladhar Chakra are contracted and the pressure of such contraction is definitely felt on the Muladhar Chakra. Kundalini power, which is supposed to be residing at the chakra, is awakened due to the practice of this bandh. However, it cannot be definitely stated as to the duration for which the bandh is to be practised for such awakening of the Kundalini power. The beneficial effect of this bandh is also felt on the nerves attached to the muscles involved in the bandh. It is stated that the bandh is to be practised while doing Pranayam. While performing pranayam, the blood is accumulated around the waist. Practice of this bandh results in circulation of this accumulated blood.
The real study and practice of this bandh is to retain it for maximum period. A duration of 5 to 120 seconds may not generate beneficial effects of this bandh. The bandh has to be retained for at least 3 to 4 minutes. With further practice, the duration can be increased to 5 minutes.
If the bandh is not performed properly, it can affect the digestive system in a bad way. This results in indigestion or similar other ailments of the digestive system. Hence, the bandh should be practised under expert guidance.
Persons suffering from hernia, piles etc should not as far as possible perform this bandh. If such a person wants to perform this bandh, onset of any symptoms described above should be immediately reported to experts and the bandh performed under their guidance.
References in the ancient texts
The bandh has been described thoroughly in the third chapter of Hathapradeepika.
Parshnibhagen sampeedya yonimakunchayet gudam |
Apanmurdhwamakrushya mulbandhobhidhiyate || 3-61
The heel should press the penis, the muscles of the anus should be contracted and the gas ( apan vayu ) should be lifted upwards. This results in mulbandh pose. Further it is described as :
Adhogatimapan va urdhwargam kurushalat |
Aakunchanen tam prahurmulbandham hi yoginah || 3-62
Parnapanou nadbindu mulbandhen chaikatam |
Gatva yogasya samsiddhidam gachshato natra samshayah || 3-63
Apan vayu is generally in the downward direction. With deliberate contraction of the anal muscles, the apan vayu is lifted upwards. This is known as mulbandh. The bandh is to be performed till the time the gas is forced upwards. Hathapradeepika in further shlokas describe this bandh as, when the pran and apan and the sound and the point (nad and bindu) will merge with each other due to this bandh, then one can be said to succeed in yoga.
The effects of this bandh are described as under :
Apanpranayoraikyam kshayo mutrapurishayoh |
Yuva bhavati vrudhopi satatam mulbandhanat || 3-65
The regular study of the mulbandh results in merging apan and prana. The excretions are minimised and an old person is transformed into a young one.
Though, as a matter of practice, an old person may not be transformed into a youth, the general meaning can be guessed as disappearance of the signs of old age with return of the enthusiasm associated with youth.
The next four shlokas in Hathapradeepika describe how the bandh is related to awakening of Kundalini power. Hathapradeepika says that when the apan vayu is forced upwards, it enters the vanhimandal. The pressure of this vayu results in increasing the fire. Apan vayu and this fire heats the prana. This results in precipitating the fire in the stomach. The kundalini power, which is supposed to be asleep, awakens like a snake hit by a stick It then enters the sushumna nadi ( brahma nadi ) as if snake entering its hole. Hence, every sadhaka must study this mulbandh daily.
The thirteenth shloka in the third chapter of Gherandsamhita describes this bandh. The description is as given above as in Hathapradeepika. However, the effects of this bandh are described as under :
Mulbandhah paro bandho jaramarannashanah |
Prasadadasya bandhasya sadhayetsarvavanchitam || 3-18
This is a superior type of bandh, which results in destruction of old age and the death. The study of this bandh results in satisfying any desire.
This description too is a bit exaggerated. However, the real meaning behind it is to be guessed and the bandh must be studied.