Postnatal: The elusive mula bandha

I made a huge oversight in my post the other day about Yoga after Baby. But I was promptly reminded of the elusive mula bandha when I was having a coughing fit last night and nearly pissed myself. Lovely image, no?

Mula bandha is discussed a lot in ashtanga. Ideally, you’re supposed to engage mula bandha at all times… except when you’re trying to go #2 (duh). I would show you a picture of where it exists, but a Google Image search pulls up a lot of anatomical parts that I don’t really care to look at. It’s kind of the kegel muscle, but not. It’s kind of like pulling in the perineum and anus, but not quite. Sometimes, you’ll hear “pelvic floor” to help explain “root lock”, which all sounds a little confusing.

And this may be why I overlooked it when I was writing about the changes in my body and in my yoga practice. When I was pregnant, I didn’t want to mess with mula bandha. Everything in that entire lower part of my body was off limits. So for 9 months and recovery time postpartum, I forgot about it. (Apparently, I’ve forgotten about it the last few months too!)

Fast forward, and this is an area that’s still so weak. It got stretched and shoved around by carrying a baby, and I haven’t taken the time to re-engage and re-acquaint myself with it. Engaging all those internal organs works simultaneously with engaging core muscles. When all of that is strong and tight, that’s where a lot of “lift” takes place. You can hold plank better. You can balance better – hands or feet. You can do navasana with a little less shaking and a little more leg extension.

To new mamas, don’t forget about mula bandha! Just thinking about it and engaging the root lock – maybe try it while meditating – has immediate effects. It could save you from incontinence AND improve your yoga practice.

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