This post is a talk I gave as a presentation of my research project to my friends in the Level 2 Teacher Training at Yogaview.

“Mula.” The meanings of this word include root, origin and mule.
“Bandha” is often interpreted as a “lock”.

Mulabandha has something to do with an energetic center at the base of the spine: muladhara chakra. This chakra represents our basic root connection with life on earth, and the central issue associated with it is survival (according to Eastern Body/Western Mind, by Anodea Judith).

Don’t mess with the mula! She is uber-powerful!

The momentary imperative of survival will always, in every situation, hijack long-range perspective.
~Geneen Roth, Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations about Food and Money

Which is why it is important to be attentive to our basic needs, lest the mula-goddess make herself known in a most unpleasant way.

It is also important to be aware of what we are associating with our basic needs. Mental constructs that we associate with basic survival can unlock unconscious behaviors, just as surely as if someone is in a literally life-threatening situation. For example:

It seems that money, even more than food, activates our survival instincts and makes wise, otherwise rational people behave like starving dogs. Any distorted or frozen patterns in our psyches will inevitably show up in our relationship with money, which makes it the ultimate repository for shadowy behavior.
~Geneen Roth, Lost and Found: Unexpected Revelations about Food and Money

We might look to mulabandha to help us balance our relationship with earth. Life here is pretty unsettling at times, especially since it seems that we will all die. And during our time here, many terrible things can happen. It’s enough to make anyone crazy, I think.

So we consult the root.

Since we are yogis, we might decide to look to the physical location of the metaphoric root in the body, which is exactly what I did for this project. Descriptions of yogic technique to consult the muladhara chakra include activating the pelvic floor to create a “root lock”. In Moola Bandha, The Master Key by Swami Buddhananda, the location of mulabandha is also referred to as a “psychic point”, and it is further stated that we learn to find this point through our musculature, but that once we can find it, muscular contraction is not necessary to do mulabandha.

I think of mulabandha both muscularly and metaphorically. It is both a stabilizing muscular action in poses like hanumanasana, and a stabilizing energy that symbolically helps to support my personality.

This quote from Lost and Found shows a skewed association between money and the muladhara chakra:

…feelings of not having enough while refusing to see how much I actually had…

Here a survival-related fear is getting in the way of a clear relationship with an aspect of getting earth-needs met: money. This awareness allowed the author, Geneen Roth, to clarify herself by finding out how much money she had and how much she needed. And in the process, she also discovered the unconscious associations that she had between money and receiving love, another important need that was expressing itself through her use of money.

Another aspect that keeps us rooted here is the capacity to take responsibility for ourselves and our impact on others and the planet. To do this effectively, we need to fully recognize our right to be here, and our right to have ourselves, pleasure, praise, love, relationships, things, power, money… (these rights are from the book Eastern Body/Western Mind)

I suppose the fact that we are social beings with a long history of dominating one another to get things and power, it’s a potential outcome that some people would exploit their kids’ vulnerability and inexperience to feel a sense of control in life (probably unconsciously). They were likely totally unconscious of this behavior and the effect it might have for them when these children became adults. I know too many people’s stories to think that I’m alone in coming from an abusive household.

What sometimes happens is that people can loose their sense of entitlement to basic needs. Someone can feel as bad as not deserving the food they eat and the air they breathe. What do you think might happen to this person’s money: not good… A person needs to value their worth to value their money.

In my intellectual self I know that everyone deserves love, but when it comes to my emotional sense I believe that nobody can truly love me. So it has been hard for me to have love or money. I don’t deserve it. I’m bad. Ugly inside.

I don’t say this for you to feel bad for me, I say it to try to perform an exorcism, or perhaps to connect with a similarly troubled soul and let them know that they are not alone.

I would like to try to more fully embody my right to have love, relationships, pleasure, money and things. It’s a root chakra issue.


This entry was posted in Book, Culture, Investigation, Money, Personal Story, Symbol and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Mulabandha.

  1. It has been so cool to watch your project unfold, Brooks! I really appreciate you sharing this with us.

    As I was reading your talk, I kept coming back to a concept that has been pivotal in my life–what it means to be radical. I have spent a considerable amount of time doing activist work, and my mentors helped me see it as radical–not in the stereotypical sense of wild or extreme, but in the true dictionary definition sense of getting to the root. It’s that idea of peeling back the layers that resonated with me about your talk, which I read as making a similar point about digging in, working through and owning ourselves, our relationships, our baggage, etc. Thank you for helping me think about this in a different context!

  2. Megan Walker says:

    This is fascinating stuff. And so true that much is revealed about our mental patterns and emotional state in our relationship with money — the acquisition, keeping, and spending of it. I need only to look at how my financial situation makes me feel to know what state of mind I’m in… maybe it’s a feminine security issue. I don’t know, but thank you for doing this work and sharing what you learn with the rest of us.

  3. Lyndi says:

    I have truly appreciated your entire blog on this topic, it has been fascinating to read as I have dealt with health issues around my pelvis. You have touched on some interesting points that have lead to further investigation in my own healing process. This post touched me as I am struggling with those issues as I process yet another relationship ending and feeling completely unrooted.

  4. Shanti says:

    Fascinating stuff. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Pingback: Who Polices Gender? Thoughts On Invented & Sustained Difference. | Root Wisdom Yoga

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