If you have had any yoga class experience, you would likely have performed the Pawanmuktasana. When I teach a yoga class as well, I try to make this yoga aasan a part of the routines that I create for my students. This is because Pawanmuktasana has many specific benefits. It is also relatively easy to perform which makes it a valuable part of your yoga class experience.
What is Pawanmuktasana?
The word Pawanmukta comes from the two words – pawan meaning wind and mukt meaning free. Hence the principle benefit of this yoga position is the relieving of trapped gas or flatulence and overall digestive health. Not only does this aasan help release gas from the intestines, it also stimulates the digestive process by the pressure that is put on the entire abdominal area including the stomach and the intestines, and by the improvement of blood circulation in the area. The aasan can also help to relieve mild constipation by this stimulation of the digestive system and blood circulation.
The aasan also gives the entire lower body a wonderful stretch that helps to free up the muscles in the lower spinal area, the thighs and the buttocks. You can feel the stretch in the muscles as you perform this aasan which not only relieves muscle tension in the area but also strengthens the muscles and helps to ease or avoid lower back pain. It is also thought that the aasan has some beneficial impacts on menstrual cramps and sterility /impotence.
How and when to perform Pawanmuktasana
It is best to do this aasan several hours after eating; ideally it is recommended that one should perform this aasan first thing when one wakes up in the morning. It may be a good idea to perform this aasan fairly early in your yoga routine as the release of trapped gasses and the stretching of the lower body muscles will make it easier to perform other, subsequent aasans.
To perform Pawanmuktasana, lie flat on your back and then raise your legs up a few inches into the air. Now bend your legs at the knees and at the hips to bring the knees towards the chest and to get the thighs to rest on the abdomen as far as possible. Now encircle your folded legs with your arms and try to clasp the elbows of your right arm with your left hand and vice versa. Bend your neck forward and bring it as close to the knees as possible. Hold his position for several seconds while continuing to breathe normally. You can hold the position for longer as it becomes easier for you to perform this aasan.
Also perform this aasan one leg at a time, while keeping the other leg completely straight. Raising the neck and head is optional. If it feels uncomfortable, keep the head flat on the mat.
This aasan is to be avoided if one has had any kind of abdominal surgery in the recent past. Those with back problems such as slipped disc pr a hernia should perform Pawanmuktasana only after the say so of their doctor. Pregnant women may also best avoid this aasan, particularly in the second and third trimesters.