What is this mysterious “root lock” and how do we access it in our daily asana practice? A quick search on Google will reveal there has been much written about Mula Bandha including this article by my friend David Garrigues; http://ashtangadavidgarrigues.blogspot.com/2011/04/ashtanga-yoga-and-secret-of-mula-bandha.html. However, I tend to think that reading about something like Mula Bandha is like me trying to describe to you the taste of an organically grown navel orange from Gisborne NZ. It doesn’t matter how erudite I am until you actually have a piece of it in your mouth you won’t get close to knowing what it tastes like. The big question in my mind is how to develop an awareness of Mula Bandha and how to activate it in our practice.
In the precious times I had with Guruji I only heard him talk about Mula Bandha once at any length. He said “control your hips, that is Mula Bandha” and then followed up with “practice and Mula Bandha is automatically coming”. He also stated that we should maintain Mula Bandha at all times, not just during our asana practice.
My personal experience is that the development of this important aspect of my practice has happened slowly and steadily over time. When I first started Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga in late 1992 I had no idea what Mula Bandha was, but I was strong. This strength enabled me to muscle my way into some asanas without activating or being aware of Mula Bandha. As my practice has developed and as I have got older brute strength does not suffice. Thus it became necessary to increase my awareness of my centre of gravity, the source of an inner, more powerful strength.
As with so many aspects of this beautiful practice, there is an organic evolution of awareness and understanding that no amount of reading or attending workshops can give you. Do your practice on a regular daily basis and Mula Bandha will creep up on you and as it sneaks through the door into your awareness it will let a little light through. As David Garrigues writes in his blog, hand in hand with Mula Banda comes Ahimsa. Practice, don’t think about it and certainly don’t worry about it. Just practice. It is the kindest and most compassionate thing you can do for yourself.