Hasta Bandha

Definition - What does Hasta Bandha mean?

Hasta bandha is a yoga technique in which the hands are placed on the ground, with the fingers spread and the palm lifted off the mat in a cupping or tented manner. The term comes from the Sanskrit, hasta, meaning “hand,” and bandha, which translates as “lock,” “harness” or “tighten.”

Bandhas are also known as locks because they lock the prana, or life force energy, in the body and direct it where needed through the nadis. As the prana flows through the body, it energizes and balances the internal systems and organs.

In English, hasta bandha is known as "hand lock."

Yogapedia explains Hasta Bandha

Hasta bandha prevents strain and wrist injuries because the body's weight is spread evenly through the hand, employing the palm's natural arch to balance the body's weight and connect the body with the earth through the fingertips. Some yogis practice hasta bandha with the pads of the fingers pressed into the earth, all the way to the palm and the inner arch of the palm lifted just slightly.

There are five classical bandhas in yoga, three major and two minor. Hasta bandha and pada bandha (foot lock) fit the latter category. The major bandhas are:

  • Mula bandha (root lock), in which the muscles of the pelvic floor are constricted
  • Uddiyana bandha (stomach lock), in which the abdomen muscles are pulled toward the spine
  • Jalandhara bandha (chin lock or throat lock), in which the chin is dropped to the base of the throat
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