Integrating the Breath and the Bandhas

Beginner II
This video, the second in a series of three on core stability, covers the breath and bandhas (deep core locks), which together create stability and strength that you can use in your life and in your yoga practice, no matter what you are doing. Learning how to engage and strengthen the bandhas will allow you to feel a sense of power and lightness in your body, length in your spine and will show you how to practice yoga safely. The first class in this series is The 3-Part Breath and Ujjayi Breathing and the third class is Finding Stability In All Poses. You can also find all three together in our program Establish Your Core Stability and Strength and on our Yoga for Beginners page.


Existing Comments

October 17, 2021

The explanations are terrific (although I wonder if the pelvic lift is self-evident to someone who has never learned kegels). Surprisingly, the practice seemed to trigger heartburn pain while I was doing it. Any thoughts on that?

May 21, 2021

This is the guide to yoga I have been looking for for so long, to start at the beginning and really understand on the deepest level the foundation of it all. ever grateful

March 20, 2021

I'm confused. Is uddiyana bandha hollowing or bracing? As I understand it, applying uddiyana bandha means taking a false or mock inhalation after a full exhalation while keeping the abdominal muscles completely relaxed; this will create a stomach vacuum, as well as a little concavity just above the sternum. This is very different from bracing, in which case the abdominal muscles contract as if you were about to be punched in the stomach.

Fiji McAlpine
March 31, 2021

The bandhas are a practice within themselves and many teachers and types of yoga teach them in different ways. Uddiyana bandha is usually done as part of a pranayama practice but can be incorperated into some asanas. The way my teacher explained it is that once the exhale is complete the abdomen is contracted inwards, drawn might be a better way to think of it. Then upon release of the organs and inward movement the inhale can happen. There should be no or little strain while practicing.

hope this helps,

July 20, 2020

I don't understand how to perform these breaths "without tension in the body" when I am holding a kegel, tensing my abs/abdominal wall, keeping my spine up straight, and pulling my shoulder blades together. Definitely no lightness in the head, only tension. Any advice?

David Procyshyn
July 22, 2020

Start with one thing at a time. I would suggest beginning with keeping your spine straight and breathing. Keep it simple, focusing on lengthening and lightening the spine (letting it release 'up') while breathing. Once you can do this without added tension, add another aspect - for example, the kegels.
Let me know how it goes!

April 20, 2020

I thought I was doing OK until you asked us to engage shoulder and neck muscles at the same time as core and pelvic floor muscles. I was only able to hold everything for a few seconds. It felt as if there were so many different muscles to try to engage at the same time, each requiring significant effort, that my whole body tensed up. Even my legs were shaking. The only way I could breathe was fast and shallow. Is that normal, or am I doing something wrong?

David Procyshyn
April 23, 2020

It's normal at the beginning, but with practice - like strengthening any muscles - it will get easier and you will be able to slow your breath down. You're working new muscles, so it makes sense that it feels that way!

December 2, 2019

A wonderful tutorial on breathing and the bandhas that can help you with yoga and your life. I recommend this for all practitioners. David is great at explaining the bandhas and how to engage them.

October 20, 2019

I am always struck by how David radiates kindness in his videos. It is clear he has a heart for teaching, and he has an enthusiasm for wanting to bring beginners gently yet thoroughly into this wonderful world of yoga. Thank you so much!

January 19, 2019

For a long time I had this question "How do I combine full breathing with tucking my belly?". Now I know.
Thank you very much David.

Yogi Paul
July 3, 2018

I have been practicing yoga for over 15 years and I have always wondered how I should breath and engage my core correctly. Thank you for this video. Now I feel I will be able to practice with more energy with the safety of my correct core engagement.

March 20, 2018

Hi David,
Maybe it is stupid question, but I got confused about breathing. You explained the "belly breathing" at the beginning, and then you introduced the concept of bandha, where we don't let the diafram going down (unlike the 3 parts breathing). My question is simple: which one is the right way of breathing during practice? Should I fill up the belly and then up to the ribs and so on...or I should use the bandha and keep the pelvic muscles on...or maybe all together?? Thanks, great video btw ;)

January 12, 2018

It seemed kinda odd to have a whole yoga class (or two in this case!) where you just sat there and breathed. A few hours after doing this class, however, I could feel that my core muscles had definitely had a workout! You know that pleasant ache that comes from engaging a muscle that needs to develop more strength. I got that "just" from sitting and breathing during this video. So cool! Eager to work on the bandhas more.

August 1, 2017

Good video David, and very informative! How important is it to isolate the pelvic floor lift from an anal or sphincter lift? Are they all connected, or does Mula bandha aim at somewhere in the middle of the pelvic floor.

David Procyshyn
August 31, 2017

Wherever you look for information on this, you'll find different advice. In my experience, the main contraction comes from muscles that are between the pubic bone and tailbone (in the middle), but there still is muscle engagement around the anal sphincter. I'm not sure if it matters, though. The most important aspect is connecting the lift that you feel when you engage the pelvic floor with the energy that moves up the spine to the head, creating physical and energetic length and lightness in the spine.

May 20, 2017

Thank you for this video. The last years I've been noticing that sometimes during the day or during meditation or practice I would randomly start contracting my pelvic floor. I could never understand why I did this or why this muscle even is there. If it really is about stability, then this video is a great opportunity to start exploring and using this sensation and these muscles for the good of my health.
Do you have any sources of where you learned this information?

David Procyshyn
August 31, 2017

Thanks for the message. It's great to hear that you're connecting with the pelvic floor contraction. We don't have any further resources - I learned this over the years that I studied yoga with my various instructors.
Take care,

April 2, 2017

This is what I love about DYWM classes. I only had a short amount of time, and having done the 1st of these 3 classes, I was interested to understand more about breathing and the bandhas. Not only did I learn a lot in a short amount of time, I also felt so much better for it. David's teaching style is perfectly paced, allowing me to focus on the internal workings of my body as I breathe. Can't wait for class 3.

Tanja Andrea
March 14, 2017

A very informative and well explained video. Looking forward to the third one. It's always nice to know how to improve one's yoga practice, and how to breath and use the bandhas properly during a yoga class is something I've been particularl interested in. So thank you very much for the theory session.