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"The limbs of the eight-fold path are as follows: respect for others (yama) and yourself (niyama); harmony with your body (asana), your energy (pranayama), your thoughts (dharana), and your emotions (pratyahara); contemplation (dhyana); ecstasy (samadhi)." - Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, 2:29

Pawanmuktasana is not only a yoga asana in itself, but it is also a group of asanas meant to strengthen the digestive system and belongs to the Vinyasa branch of yoga. Movements following this pose have been extremely beneficial for those who suffer from digestive disorders or problems.

Pawan, mukta, and asana are three Sanskrit words which mean ‘wind’, ‘free’, and ‘pose’ respectively. In pawanmuktasana, the practitioner lies supine or with the face upwards on the mat and hugs the legs. This asana is great for releasing gas from the intestine, and even for more complicated problems such as lack of appetite or diabetes, as well as for disorders of the reproductive system. 

Pawanmuktasana is also known as the wind liberating pose, wind relieving pose or simply the gas release pose in English.

  1. Steps: Correct way to do Pawanmuktasana (wind-relieving pose)
  2. Benefits of Pawanmuktasana(wind-relieving pose)
  3. Who should not do pawanmuktasana (wind-relieving pose)
  4. How to do pawanmuktasana (video)

To do Pawanmuktasana correctly, follow these steps carefully:

  • Lie in a supine position, flat on your back with your face upwards.
  • Inhale deeply and bring your knees close to your chest so your thighs touch your stomach.
  • Interlock your hands around your legs just under the knee as though hugging them.
  • While exhaling, raise your chest, neck, and head to try and touch your knees with your nose.
  • Hold this posture for a few long, deep breaths.
  • Inhale again, bring your head back to the floor and exhale.
  • Inhale and lift your legs straight upwards and exhale as you bring them down on the mat without bending them.
  • Do this at least two to three times.

Here the following benefits of performing the pawanmuktasana:

  • Pawanmuktasana gives the abdominal organs a good massage as the practitioner’s abdominal muscles are contracted. It boosts digestion and provides relief from constipation to the practitioner.
  • The foremost benefit of pawanmuktasana is that it releases toxic and excessive gas from the body. It is also why most people choose to perform this asana early in the morning.
  • Pawanmuktasana helps tone the abdominal area, thighs, and buttocks.
  • It gives the back and neck a very good stretch. 
  • Pawanmuktasana is believed to cure sterility and impotence, as well as menstrual problems as it puts pressure on and massages the pelvic area.

Also read: How to improve digestion: Foods and tips

While it is an extremely helpful exercise for most of us, you should not try this pose if you have any of the following conditions:

  • People with migraine should not practice this asana as breathing gets restricted when pressure is put on the abdomen. This leads to increased pressure in the head.
  • Women should avoid this asana during their periods; pregnant women should avoid this asana as well.
  • People with slipped or herniated disc in the back should not do this asana, or seek an expert’s guidance on how to do it.
  • People with any neck problems should perform this asana without lifting their heads.

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