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Swadhisthana(Swadhistana Chakra) Swadhi bandha is also not discussed in classical hatha yoga treatises. It also utilizes elements of the pelvis like mulabandha, but differs from mulabandha in that the trans-integrity operates in a horizontal plane, while mulabandha operates more in front/back and top/down planes. Swadhi bandha brings the energy into the swadhistana chakra by balancing and integrating the energy in the middle and upper pelvis, thus it connects the fire chakra with the earth chakra by opening up the knot at the water chakra (swadhistana). It opens up the sacrum area in the back, the area below the navel in front, and especially the sides of the torso between the iliac crest and lower ribs.

The primary move is the swiveling in toward each other of the two iliac crests as the back of the sacrum is given more space to move between the two coxal bones, but also one may visualize the PSIS (posterior Superior Iliac Crests) moving laterally (away from each other) at the same time. It is often described by one school of yoga as the two ASIS (Anterior Superior Iliac Spine) moving in toward each other, but this is not as helpful as the above. It should be realized as a swivel, and more adequately described so that iliac crest hinges around forward toward the front into the indentation below the navel also creating space at SI (sacroiliac) joint so that the two innominate bones of the pelvis move laterally away from the sacrum while the the sacrum can slide down away from the lumbar providing more support in lengthening the entire spine.

For those whose SI joints are compressed, this motion will appear as an outward winging out from the iliac crest as well as from the sit bones (ischial tuberosities). (For an illustration on how the sacrum moves within the pelvic bowl in this manner. For a diagram on how the two ilea (or rather innominate or coxal bones) move independently in this manner,

This is the basic motion in the pelvis which is created secondarily by such asanas such as gomukhasana, matsyendrasana, marichiasana, and garudasana (and most adduction) and also in internal rotation of the hip where the legs help move the two ASIS points toward each other in front while widening the two innominate (coxal) bones at the SI (sacroiliac) joint in back away from the sacrum. As such we are not speaking about the actual anatomical movement which occurs at the top of the femur inside the acetabulum (ball and socket joint of the hip joint), but rather by swadhi bandha we are referring to the movement between the two innominate (coxal) bones in the pelvis proper that is created by the femur as it leverages the two wings of the pelvis outward — as it widens the fascia (width wise) across the back of the sacrum, pelvis, and thigh. In other words such motions as adduction and internal rotation may help secondarily in aiding this motion at the SI joint, while poses which normally abduct the hip and create exterior rotation may be stabilized by implementing swadhi bandha

Here as the iliac crests ROTATE toward each other in a forward direction, while the sit bones move away from each while the iliac crests amy actually move outward (lateral). so that no compression or tension in the pelvis is created, rather the opposite an opening is felt, yet stability is reinforced simultaneously. Both the pelvis inlet (the top of the pelvic bowl) and the pelvic outlet actually expand and open. Perhaps it is more valuable way to describe Swadhi bandha is as the movement that expands the two sit bones and the two PSIS (Posterior Superior Iliac Spine) points away from the midline, however the two iliac crests may appear to be rotating forward and in toward each other , thus creating space at the back of the pelvis for the sacrum to drop and thus lengthen from the lumbar spine.

This lateral opening at the back of the pelvis will take any pressure off the sacrum (at the SI joint). Here we are looking not only for horizontal balance and synergy at the front top of the pelvis (ASIS) but also at the iliac crests, sit bones, and pubic bones. When this is explored and learned there is no imbalance at the sacrum top or bottom, between the pubic bones, sit bones, or iliac crest. The entire front, back, and top of the pelvis is in synergistic symmetry, equilibrium and alignment. This creates stability in the pelvis and SI joint necessary for all twists and asymmetrical asana practice.

In other words when the two ASIS protuberances and iliac crests rotate in toward each other in front, the two sit bones (ischial tuberosities move away from each other, and the two PSIS points also move away from each other in back, there then occurs an intra-pelvic movement between the two pelvic bones which hinge upon the pubic symphysis in front yet this joint does not proximate, but rather remains distracted or in traction. Thus in swadhi bandha we can hinge the two iliac crest bones forward and inward (in a circular motion) through a widening and opening action at the SI joint where the sit bones move laterally away from each other and simultaneously the pubic symphysis provides the front hinge without compaction. Thus not only does the SI joint open, but the trans-integrity of the two pubic bones (rami), the two sit bones (the bottom of the ischium at the ischial tuberosity), the two PSIS bones (at the back of the pelvis), the sacrum, tailbone, and iliac crests all move in a characteristic balance, alignment which eliminates stress and creates synergy and flow in the pelvic girdle. This is swadhi bandha.

Here we go for the balance and energy flow using any or all of these anatomic parts (ASIS, iliac crests, pubic bone, sit bones, PSIS) as landmarks so that the entire pelvic bowl (consisting of the pelvic inlet and outlet) and all their connective tissue, fascia, glands, organs, and nerves are able to release any stress or tension from its wavelike spiral motion. As discussed in the earlier chapters the action of the humerus can exert many vectors upon the pelvis, so here we can learn to utilize these inter-relationships synergistically especially in standing poses. At the same time this awareness allows us to intuitively evaluate the correct placement of the legs or stance as in relationship to its effects on mula and swadhi bandha.

Continue to move so that the sacrum continues to move forward and is able to slide downward creating an awareness of the spine lengthening by opening the two iliac crests away from the midline, while simultaneously separating the two sit bones and PSIS in back. Pay attention to the top and bottom of sacrum so that balance is achieved at the sacrum without tilting/distorting it in relationship to the spine. This movement should allow the tailbone to elongate, drop, and move freely. Do this all consciously (with sensitivity and awareness) and by all means do not create stress. Perform mulabandha first.

Benefits:

Like mulabandha, many of us may be tight, insensitive, or immobile in this region at first and it will only be through constant practice and awareness that these directions will gel making creating a subjective/objective living integration. Like all the rest of the bandhas, first establish mulabandha, then find the synergistic relationship between these two bandhas and the energy flow between their corresponding chakras and the spine. In hip flexion, this movement is very helpful in situations where the hamstrings are tight (as they attach to the sit bones) and thus are pulling them together. Also on forward bends and adduction this also helps loosen tight gluteals, tight abductor, and tight external rotators. Conversely swadhi bandha helps in preventing stress at the SI joint in severe abduction and external rotation. It is helpful in many poses but especially in standing contra-lateral poses such as warrior (virabhadrasana), parsovottanasana, prariivrtta trikonasana, and similar. It works similarly in ek pada kapotasana (one footed pigeon), marichiasana, and the like. In urdva dhanurasana (chakrasana), setu bandhuasana (bridge), purvattoasana (east facing pose) and the like, it helps prevent lateral rotation of the hip and compression at the SI joint, while in other back bends, it helps prevent the hips from hiking (at the iliac crest), compression at the SI joint, and the sacrum from rising toward the lumbar maintaining healthy space between the lumbar disks.

The motion of swadhi bandha is specific for opening up, alleviating compression, and widening at the SI joint specifically but helps also in alleviating stress on the back, stretching the hamstrings, abductors, and especially the deep muscles (lateral rotators) of the pelvis. It opens up the pelvic inlet and outlet. It helps move the energy through the water (swadhistana) chakra preventing outward dissipation. It helps stretch tight abductor muscles and strengthen adductors. Swadhi bandha helps tonify the sacrum, the ureters, bladder, and genitals.

Tightness at the upper pelvis and lower torso is relieved, more fire is created in the manipura chakra increasing gastric fire, the benefits of twists (such as matsyendrasana and marichiasana) are greatly accentuated.

Cautions:

Consult a yoga therapist or avoid if the SI (sacroiliac) joint is unstable or the ligaments are overly loose. As swadhi bandha helps to create space at the SI joint, those who have overly loose ligaments in that area due to past injuries or genetic factors do not need this motion. Also avoid tension or proximation at the pubic symphysis, but rather traction so that flow and balance occurs also in front at the pubic bone. The movement at the pelvis should mobilize the sacrum — create more space for the sacrum to independently move at the SI joint in a natural sliding motion. Especially when working in asana the motion of the sacrum should be inward and supportive both in forward and backward bends. The distance between the iliac crest and the back ribs should stay long — ditto for the sacrum and the lumbar spine. One should not overly concentrate on swadhi bandha as a correct mulabandha will take care of the entire pelvis. This is a bandha that corrects commonly found displacements in the hips, pelvis, and SI joint and helps to prevent injury.

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