Abdominal Activation/Uddiyana Bandha

This energy lock is also known in the yoga world as the “flying up” lock. This phrase refers to the action of engaging the abdominal muscles not only inward but also slightly upward. This is important because it keeps the low ribs from raising up too high which will create too much of an extension in the low back curve, tightening the mid back. When properly executed in a firm yet gentle manner, the extension of the spine automatically occurs.

To briefly visit this sensation, find a neutral standing position with shoulders drawn gently back, directly over hips. Connect with a long, slow breath or two. On an inhale, gently pull the belly in and slightly up, then release. Note the relaxation response that may cause the back to round again. Come back to the breath and after a few rounds activating gently in and upward, slightly lean the torso forward in a reaching out position, then return. Take the time to really notice this as it assists the movement with great stability, taking some of the load off the back. Movement of the spine was meant to be supported with a balanced body. The ability to share the effort, decreases the chance of imbalance and the cascade of pain and injury.

This is an important factor in seated, twisting and forward torso movement. Clinician’s may find their instrument tray behind them, above the reclined patient or elsewhere depending on equipment and room set-up. The concept of activating both the pelvic floor and the abdominal area during the day is something that comes as second nature after practicing over time. This stabilizing action will activate on its own when the body is aware and balanced.