Free Yoga Lesson Planning Tips
How To Teach Uddiyana Bandha


Step 1
Remember The Sanskrit

I never used to be able to remember the Sanskrit for any of the asanas until I learned some memory tricks.  Here’s a memory trick I used to memorize the Sanskrit for Uddiyana Bandha. 

Imagine you’re at the venue where you teach your yoga.  You’re teaching a class how to perform Uddiyana Bandha when a teenager with a hoddie on (sounds like UDDIYana) comes into the room with his rock band (sounds like BANDha) and locks (to remind you that UDDIYana Bandha is an abdominal lock) the door and starts singing, “Uddiy, Uddiy, Uddiya, Bandha, Bandha, Bandha.”  Your class starts singing along as well, “Uddiy, Uddiy, Uddiy, Bandha, Bandha, Bandha.”   And in then end you think what the heck and you sing along, “Uddiy, Uddiy, Uddiy, Bandha, Bandha, Bandha.”

Step 2
Teach The Meaning & Benefits

By practicing Uddiyana Bandha you are giving ongoing support to your lower back.  The ideal is to keep a small Uddiyana Bandha (slightly engaged abdominal lock) during all yoga poses, except relaxation poses, and in everyday life.

Traditional Definition Of Bandha | Lock
Bandha means to hold, lock or tighten.  Its purpose is to lock prana into certain areas and redirect its flow for the purpose of spiritual awakening.

Untraditional Definition Of Bandha | Valve

I think a better metaphor than a lock is to think of Bandha as a VALVE.  Just as a car’s tire has a VALVE that allows air into the tire but doesn’t allow the air to escape, engaging bandhas in our yoga practices helps to direct and hold energy in places where it is useful.

Uddiyana Definition
The stomach valve located around the belly.  

Other benefits include…

  • Strengthens abdominal muscles
  • Strengthens diaphragm
  • Massages abdominal muscles
  • Massages heart & lungs
  • Improves digestion
  • Purifies digestive tract of toxins
  • Stimulates blood circulation in abdomen
  • Stimulates blood flow to the brain
  • Stimulates and lifts energy of the lower belly

Step 3
Teach The Precautions

  • Stomach or intestinal ulcers
  • Hernia
  • HBP
  • Heart disease
  • Glaucoma
  • Menstruation
  • Pregnancy

Step 4
Teach The Philosophy

Don’t shy away from quoting/referencing from other sources (e.g. the Sutras).

Swami Satyananda states: “make a false inhalation, keeping the glottis closed and expanding in the chest, as though breathing in but not actually taking in air. To release, exhale slightly to release the lock on the lungs and finally breathe in.”

The Gheranda Samhita praises it above all others. To perform the bandha we “contract the abdomen above and below the navel and toward the back”. It is suggested that this is done while sitting on your heels.

Iyengar states that uddiyana bandhas is the best practice to learn and mastery will make you young.  He instructs us to lift the diaphragm high up in the thorax and to pull in the abdominal organs against the back of the spine.

Step 5
Teach Uddiyana Bandha

1) Stand with feet hip distance apart & rest hands on knees. 

2) Bend knees slightly and round your torso. Place hands on knees.

3) Inhale through nose and exhale forcefully. Tighten abs to push air out of lungs. 

4) Focus on hollowing your stomach and feeling abdominal lift. 

5) Lower chin to chest. 

6) Hold for 5 to 15 seconds. Release abdominals, lift chin and breathe normally.

7) Perform at least 3 more rounds. Breathe normally between each round.
 

Uddiyana bandha video tutorial

4 types of Bandhas video tutorial


Step 6
Yoga Class Handout

Uddiyanaa Bandha

Uddiyanaa Bandha Handout



Why not go above and beyond the call of duty and create an Uddiyana Bandha handout for your yoga students?  If you haven’t got time to create the handout, I’ve already done one for you.  It’s 1 of 201 yoga class handouts within The Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit.

Each handout took me approximately 2 hours to create.

That means 402 hours of my life went into creating them!


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George Watts

BWY Yoga Teacher at George Watts Yoga
This post was lovingly morphed into reality by BWY yoga teacher, George Watts. If you're looking for a treasure trove of yoga lesson planning goodness, take a quick peek at Yoga Teacher Lesson Plan Kit.

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