Energy and Bandhas

By Rodney Yee, May, 2011

Energy is the subject of many concerns such as efficiency, sustainability, renewability, production, storage and safety. In our own bodies we have many of the same thoughts, problems and experiments. As I am aging, I find that I want to conserve my energy for desired interest. Getting to bed at a reasonable hour, getting enough sleep, eating well, walking, practicing asana, and meditating are part of the daily plan in order to enjoy my life to the fullest. Learning what not to do and how to conserve my life force is a constant weighing in my mind. And yes I do believe in the saying, “everything in moderation even moderation”. So yes, you will see me doing very silly activities just to circumvent my limited logical brain, and yet more and more I am channeling my energy into spiritual studies.

In asana and pranayama we learn how to channel and store mental and physical energy. Not only do we unlock bindings and tension so that energy flows more effectively and freely but we learn how to store it within the torso. Bandhas sometimes translated as locks can better be seen as valves. It is the bandhas that turn the torso into a pressure cooker by closing off the channels at the floor of the pelvis, the throat and the pelvic belly. But like a pressure cooker it is important to be able to release the pressure when necessary. The relaxed, natural flow of the systems of digestion, circulation, and respiration is of utmost importance when learning the Bandhas. The containment of energy from the Bandhas should not impede the ease of movement in these systems. This work needs constant refinement and study. Eventually we realize that these valves are the natural effect of great posture and deep mindfulness.

As the summer fun and chaos hit the Hamptons we will see an explosion of stored up energy hit the air like the fourth of July fireworks. I hope you reserve some of your time and juice to come to Yoga Shanti and turn inwards to the sun of your inner world.

Rodney Yee

Rodney is a world-renowned yoga teacher who started practicing yoga in 1980. He has been in over thirty yoga videos, and is the author of two books, including Moving Toward Balance. Along with his wife, Colleen Saidman Yee, he is the co-director of Heath and Wellness Initiative of the Urban Zen Foundation, Donna Karan’s project to change the healthcare paradigm to include complementary healthcare practices. He has been teaching at Colleen's studio, Yoga Shanti Sag Harbor, for several years, and is one of the founding members of Yoga Shanti New York.

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