Hand Lock

Definition - What does Hand Lock mean?

Hand lock is a technique in yoga whereby the yogi's hands are placed on the ground, with the fingers spread and the palm lifted off the mat in a cupping or tented manner. It is one of the five classical locks used in yoga practice. In Sanskrit, it is known as hasta bandha.

Placing the hands in this manner distributes the body weight more evenly, avoiding wrist strain and injury. The hand lock also lets the yogi lengthen the arms and rotate the shoulder joints more in certain poses.

Yogapedia explains Hand Lock

The locks are so-called because they are believed to lock in the body's life force energy known as prana and direct it where needed. Prana travels through the body via channels called nadis. As the prana flows, it energizes and balances the body's internal organs and systems.

The other four locks are:

  • Foot lock (pada bandha) – weight is evenly distributed between the ball, heel and outer line of the feet with a lift of the inner ankles.
  • Root lock (mula bandha) – the pelvic floor muscles are tightened.
  • Stomach lock (uddiyana bandha) – abdominal muscles are pulled toward the spine.
  • Chin or throat lock (jalandhara bandha) – the chin drops to the base of the throat.
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