What are Pawanmuktasana?
Not many people know about Pawanmuktasana because they’re rarely taught in modern yoga studios.
This is a shame because they’re great for purifying the body and helping to establish the type of internally focused attention necessary for circulating prana.
Pawanmuktasana is a fantastically simple series of movements that lubricate the joints, tone the muscles, limber up the spine, and generally get the circulation moving.
More specifically, they are broken into two groups:
Pawanmuktasana Series 1: anti-rheumatic exercises which focus on lubricating the joints and toning the various muscles associated with them.
Pawanmuktasana Series 2: anti-gastric exercises which focus on removing stagnation from the intestinal tract, improving the functions of the stomach, and toning the abdominal organs.
The word Pawanmuktasana is taken from three words:
- Pawan = wind
- Mukta = release
- Asana = posture
So, quite literally, the Pawanmuktasana Series is a group of exercises that removes excess wind and gasses from the body. According to the Bihar School of Yoga,
“wind not only refers to the gastric intestinal gases but also the wind that is formed in every joint in the body, since due to incorrect chemical reactions rheumatic pains and stiffness occur. The acid and bile refer to the juices necessary for digestion and such things as uric acid, which must be regularly removed from the body. If there is excessive acid in the system, the malfunctioning of certain organs can occur. The practise of Pawanmuktasana will help remove excessive wind and acid from the body, especially from the joints.”
Ayurveda’s 3 Humors and Pawanmuktasana
Within India’s ancient medical science known as Ayurveda there are three classifications of humors in the body:
- Wind – which relates to Vata, governs all movement in the mind and body. It controls blood flow, elimination of wastes, breathing and the movement of thoughts across the mind. Since Pitta and Kapha cannot move without it, vata is considered the leader of the three Ayurvedic Principles in the body.
- Bile/Acid – which relates to Pitta, governs all heat, metabolism and transformation in the mind and body. It controls how we digest foods, how we metabolize our sensory perceptions, and how we discriminate between right and wrong. Pitta governs the important digestive – agnis – or fires of the body.
- Phlegm – which relates to Kapha, governs all structure and lubrication in the mind and body. It controls weight, growth, lubrication for the joints and lungs, and formation of all the seven tissues — nutritive fluids, blood, fat, muscles, bones, marrow and reproductive tissues.
These three humors govern all the functions of the body.
Pawanmuktasana regulate the three humours
Due to several factors such as diet, exercise habits, and stress, disharmony within their functions occurs, leading to adverse reactions in the body’s metabolism.
Naturally, when these kinds of irregularities arise, we see the onset of disease.
The Pawanmuktasana movements are a very simple and effective method in regulating the humors and restoring balance.
They are also incredibly beneficial, when appropriately modified, for relieving the symptoms of the modern age.