MAHA-BANDHA (The Great Seal)

The Mula-bandha (root seal) closes off the energy flow coming from Earth, cutting the person off from earthly energies, and pushes the energy reserves from the Muladhara chakra (root) upward.

Thus, the energy moves into the Manipura chakra (stomach). Continuing to hold this first, root seal, we perform a second seal, the Uddiyana-bandha (stomach seal), and push the energy from the stomach still higher, so that now it is near the throat Vishuddha chakra (throat).

The following (and last) seal is the throat seal, or Jalandhara-bandha. This seal does not allow the energy that has been raised to the throat to trickle back down, and redirects it—by a simple lowering of the head—to the Ajna chakra (brow), where it remains "closed in" as it can no longer move upward or downward.

This technique—performing three seals simultaneously—is called "Maha-bandha," the Great Seal.

Holding your breath, which is usually performed during Maha-bandha, further activates the Ajna chakra (brow, or Third Eye). In general, all the breath holds aid the activation of this specific Third Eye chakra. Using bandhas and breath holds simultaneously allows for a very harsh and forceful filling of the Ajna chakra with energy, at the energetic expense of all the lower chakras.

If one already is Grounded and has strong lower chakras, good health, and a stable nervous system, Maha-bandha is highly beneficial and gives the opportunity to break through to other realms and levels of Consciousness.

If one has poor Grounding and a weak first chakra—from which this technique forcefully removes the last remaining energy—Maha-bandha intensifies the imbalance between the upper and lower centers.

Our body is not a set of independent chakras; it is a single system, a single vessel, which aims for an even saturation of each of its levels. If the first chakra is unbalanced and suffers from a lack of energy, there can be nothing good in the upper chakras. There can be a lot of energy in the upper chakras or very little, but in either case that energy will be unbalanced.

If the Ajna chakra has a lot of energy while the lower chakras do not, increasing the energy in Anja is equivalent to suicide: we bring in still more energy to increase the imbalance already present. At the worst extreme, an imbalance in the Ajna chakra risks putting you in the psych ward. At best, it increases emotional instability, irritability, aggression, mood swings from depression to euphoria, "emptiness," and the other "pleasures" of a psyche unable to handle such energetical stress.

If, on the other hand, there is as little energy in the upper chakras as in the lower ones, then we are merely uselessly pushing what little energy we have in our body from one spot to another.

No matter what the situation in our energy system, we must always begin with strengthening the Base: The first chakra. A normally functioning and energetically filled first chakra is the basis for the smooth and harmonious operation of the entire energy system and all the chakras above it. With a functioning and filled first chakra, bandhas, breath holds, and other techniques become safer, more effective and useful. The more energy we have in our foundation, the easier that energy will naturally rise, and the more energy there will be in all the other chakras, filling the Ajna chakra in a balanced, safe, and joyous manner.