Uddiyana bandha – Abdominal hold

School of Yoga explains uddiyana-bandha (abdominal hold)

Hatha Yoga Pradeepika on uddiyana-bandha:

Ch2 v 55 uddiyana-bandha: Yogis call it uddiyana-bandha because when practiced, prana flies through it to the sushumna.

Ch2 v 56 Because the great bird (prana) flies up continuously, it is called uddiyana (ut = fly + di = up). The bandha is now explained.

Ch2 v 57 The abdomen is drawn westwards so the navel moves up. Uddiyana is like a lion for the elephant of death.

Ch2 v 58 One that practices uddiyana after attaining familiarity as learned from a guru, even if old will become young.

Ch2 v 59 Draw back the abdomen above and below the navel with effort. After practice of 6 months, when one has mastered it death is conquered.

Ch2 v 60 Of the bandhas, uddiyana is most excellent. When it is perfected, moksha follows naturally.


Yogacharya Sundaram demonstrating the Uddiyana in 1920’s

School of Yoga explains – uddiyana-bandha technique (Should be learned under supervision):

  • Starting (sthithi) position: Stand erect with legs slightly apart and hands to the side.
  • Bend forward and place hands on thigh, some 6 inches below the hip joint.
  • Vigorously breathe out and empty the lungs of air. This means breathe out till the diaphragm rises to its top most position in the thoracic cavity.
  • When you feel lungs are completely empty, suck stomach inward vigorously towards the spine as far as possible. 
  • Hold for as long as is convenient.
  • Breathe in slowly and release stomach back to normal.
  • Stand erect and bring hands to the sides.
  • Repeat 3 to 6 times.
  • The drishti (gaze) recommended is nabhigre (middle of the navel) for beginners and nasigre (middle of the brow gaze) for spiritual levels of practice.

School of Yoga explains – uddiyana-bandha benefits :

  • When stomach is sucked inwards, the ascending, descending and transverse colon and intestines are pulled back and upwards towards the spine. The rectus and oblique abdominal muscles are also pulled inwards. Also, the small intestines and other organs such as spleen, pancreas and stomach get pushed towards the spine. This energises the complete abdominal viscera and tissues holding them together in the abdominal cavity.
  • Consequently, faecal matter in the large intestine gets pushed towards the colon by peristalsis. As a result, diseases related to acidity, piles and constipation get addressed by practice of this exercise.
  • The rectus and oblique muscles of the abdomen and the inguinal ligament are rejuvenated.
  • Since the action of completely emptying the lungs and push of the diaphragm inwards increases the stroke of the diaphragm, practice of uddiyana helps increasing lung capacity and efficiency.
  • Uddiayana also energises and stimulates the cartilages of the spine, sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
  • This exercise rejuvenates all major organs such as pancreas, liver, kidneys etc.
  • The primary benefit of this banda is to raise the kundalini, but this is for advanced practitioners and should be done under the supervision of a master (Guru).

School of Yoga explains – uddiyana-bandha contraindications:

  • If you have any form of back ache, do not attempt this asana without adequate supervision and support.


    Yogacharya Sundaram demonstrating the Moola + Jaladhara + Uddiyana banda

  • People with hernia, cardiac problems, lower back problems and circulatory disorders should not attempt this asana without first consulting a physician.
  • This asana should not be practiced during menstruation or pregnancy.

Some noteworthy points on Uddiyana bandha:

Internal Links: Dharma (conditioning), Stress and Situational Awareness, Prana, Asana overview 1, Asana Overview 2, Asana Focus or gazing, PranayamaHatha Yoga Pradeepika

External Links: Prana, Chakra, Pancha Tattva, Pancha Prana, Pancha Kosha, Nadi

  • This asana can be performed in some variations. The first method is when suction is performed when bending forward in the standing position. Another method is to sit in padmasana and perform uddiyana. The last method is to combine uddiyana ith moola banda and jaladhara bandha.
  • People with hernia, renal disease should avoid this exercise. Those with stomach ailments should increase pressure slowly.
  • This exercise should not be performed by pre-puberty practitioners according to Yoga Mimamsa journal.
Editor at School Of Yoga
School Of Yoga is a single point resource for all aspects of Classical Yoga practise. We try to achieve this by placing Yoga's traditional methodology in front of the reader and eliciting his or her experience. We value everyone's Yoga experience and would like you to share and enrich other practitioners so that everyone benefits.
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[…] Internal Links: Dharma (conditioning), Stress and Situational Awareness, Prana, Asana overview 1, Asana Overview 2, Asana Focus or gazing, Pranayama, Hatha Yoga Pradeepika, Uddiyana […]

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