The Mula Bandha, or root lock in the Hatha Yoga tradition, is an essential component of a beneficial yoga practice. Making Mula Bandha routine in one's exercise will lead to greater concentration in yoga and increased strength for the muscles of the vagina. The Bandhas help direct the flow of energy in the body. This particular Bandha is similar to squeezing to hold back urine flow, but without the same forcefulness and therefore potential negative effects on the muscles of the pelvic floor.
Vaginal Muscles and the Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor and vaginal muscles are the support for the core of our bodies, the cradle that carries the weight of our center. Especially to practice yoga asanas, which require and build a strong core, practicing the root lock is key, because that contributes to toning the abdominals. In Downward Facing Dog, position your head so you can direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button; this lifts the pelvic floor to bring awareness to these muscles. Another way to incorporate Mula Bandha into your asanas is at the end of a deep inhalation. Right before going into a slow exhalation, take a slow moment to pull the pelvic floor up, like an elevator. Then release the hold on the subsequent inhalation. Doing this when moving from one asana into the next will bring great benefit and deeper awareness into each movement.
Staying Connected to the Breath
Breathing through each pose makes your energy flow through your body with each movement, which is just as important for the reproductive organs as the muscles supporting them. Try a breathing exercise, like Legs-Against-the-Wall pose, to connect with and strengthen these vaginal muscles. Lay so your butt is against a wall and legs are straight up it. Inhale deeply, paying attention to the diaphragm and pelvic floor moving downward and making space for your breath. When you exhale, feel these areas lift to close back in again. A study published in the International Urogynecology Journal showed a correlation between pelvic floor muscle strength and expiration.
Vaginal Strength and Pregnancy
The pelvic floor muscles help support the weight of a baby during pregnancy and push out the baby during delivery. The importance of healthy vaginal muscles to a woman in her childbearing years cannot be overstated. These muscles can be so tight that they are inflexible for childbirth, which can lead to a higher likelihood of tearing during delivery. Kegel exercises are one method many women use to strengthen muscles before and after pregnancy. However, Kegels alone may not be sufficient, and if overused they can lead to muscle fatigue and consequently weak or too tight muscles.
As with any yoga practice, perform any strengthening exercise when the bladder and stomach are empty. Light repetition is important, and Mula Bandha can be performed while sitting on a chair at work or when lying in bed. However, muscle fatigue can occur if you overdo it, leading to weaker muscles. So be aware of your body and how you feel so as not to go overboard. Performing the root lock as part of your regular yoga routine is sufficient for toning vaginal muscles, enhancing awareness in poses and greater focus overall.
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