The bandhas: In one of my first Ashanga yoga lessons I was taught to use the bandhas. Bandhas? What's that? "Imagine", I heard "you have to pee and there is no restroom, then you use your bandhas in order not to wet your pants. For women it is the floor of the pelvis which is called bandhas. In India the bandhas were called "penis-control". Is it tradition to call the bandhas so, because in former times only men did yoga?
To use your bandhas all the time during your practice is "science fiction", I learned, too.
"Ah", I thought.
Let's approach the bandhas from another side: What is the intention of it? In the book by Carlisi "The only way out is in" I found an answer. The bandhas remind you to be in the here and now. Use them and almost automatically you are in the here and now. He mentioned that it is not necessary to use them all the time.
Nevertheless this answer didn't satisfy me and I went on with my research: In India I found the answer. I asked someone I had a lot of confidence in: He was a doctor, practiced yoga and pranayama for 30 years (he showed me once how he jumped through), he studied the original texts. I asked him about the bandhas: I was told: Use them when you exhale, don't use them when you inhale. This was a precise answer. Now I knew what to do. Point.
This makes so much sense. There must be a precise description I thought all the time. Regarding the bandhas I only heard to use them all the time. There is inhaling and exhaling, forward bending, back bending and so forth. There is to give and to take. Everything is described precisely even where to look at (drishtis). But the information on the bandhas are rudimentary. Not for me now anymore.
Usually when I exhale when I go into an asana, I need stability, protection. Using the bandhas supports this. When I inhale my body is open, I want to stretch, I want to lengthen my body, no bandhas are needed. They might even work against this lengthening movement.
Why is this not taught I asked my Indian teacher: It's lost, this info got lost in teaching.
I think, it's easy to correct a wrong posture, it can be seen. The gaze is seen, the breath can be heard, but the bandhas are inside the body. How to control if a student uses them at all? It's easy to neglect the bandhas.
I use the bandhas when I exhale. My bandhas are loose when I inhale.
Before you protest, please test it only once during your practice. Only once and then reflect about it again.