Hathayogic Bandhas and Mudras of the Amritasiddhi

968 CE Lokeśvara (i.e. Avalokiteśvara) at the Mañjunāth temple at Mangalore
Photo Credit: James Mallinson

Advice from the earliest known Yoga text to teach the Haṭhayogic Bandhas and Mudrās.

Dr James Mallinson observes in his significant article, The Amṛtasiddhi: Haṭhayoga's Tantric Buddhist Source Text, that the Amṛtasiddhi was composed before the mid-twelfth century in a Vajrayāna Buddhist milieu and it contains many doctrinal innovations.

The Amṛtasiddhi is the earliest known yoga text to teach the practice of Mahāmudrā, Mahābandha and Mahāvedha with the throat-lock (kaṇṭhabandha) and root-lock (mūlabandha).
In a beautiful place, where there are agreeable customs, good people, plentiful food and no danger, one should practise the path of yoga. [...] The practice [of MahāmudrāMahābandha and Mahāvedha] should be done in such a way that the breath is not afflicted. For, when the breath is afflicted, the fire burns the bodily constituents.
śubhe deśe śubhācāre sajjanair vā samanvite |
abhyased yogamārgaṃ tu subhikṣe nirupadrave ||
prāṇapīḍā yathā na syād abhyāsaḥ kriyate tathā |
pīḍite prāṇavāte hi dhātuṃ dahati pāvakaḥ || 
Amṛtasiddhi 19.5 and 19.8 (Trans: Jason Birch) 
Mallinson (2016: 6) states, "These practices, which involve bodily postures and breath control, are used to make the breath enter the central channel and rise upwards.  They are an innovation of the Amṛtasiddhi and are taught in all subsequent haṭhayoga texts, albeit sometimes with different names."

Read Dr Mallinson's full article on Academia.edu:

The Amṛtasiddhi: Haṭhayoga's Tantric Buddhist Source Text