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Pawana-muktasana (Wind Releasing Pose) for strong core and healthy back

pma
Pawana Muktasana

Pawana-muktasana (PMA) – पवनमुक्तासन – is a simple asana, easy to practice, and yet has many far-reaching benefits. It is a great pose for eliminating excess gases from the digestive tract, strengthening the core muscles, massaging the internal organs and giving relief to the lower back.

The name of the asana is a composite of two words – pawana means the wind or air and mukta means liberated or released. So, the common English translation for the pose is "Wind releasing pose".

Step-by-step

  1. Lie down on your back in Shavasana for a few breaths.
  2. Fold the right knee. Lifting the right foot up, hold the right shin with the two hands.
  3. While exhaling, gently begin to pull the knee toward the chest while at the same time lifting the head up. In a conscious effort to round the spine, try to close the gap between the raised knee and the forehead by lowering the chin down to the chest.
  4. Inhaling, lower the head down.
  5. Repeat steps 2, 3 and 4 for three more deep breaths.
  6. Relax in Shavasana for a couple of breaths.
  7. Repeat the above sequence with the other leg.
  8. Now fold both the knees. Lift the feet up and wrap the arms around the knees gently pulling the knees to the chest.
  9. Exhaling, begin to lift the head up. Again, in a conscious effort to round the spine, try to close the gap between the knees and the forehead by lowering the chin down to the chest.
  10. Inhaling, lower the head down.
  11. Repeat steps 8, 9, and 10 for three more breaths.
  12. Finally rest in shavasana

Variation 1 (breath retention after exhalation)

pma

  1. Lie down on your back in Shavasana for a few breaths.
  2. Fold the right knee. Lifting the right foot up, hold the right shin with the two hands.
  3. While exhaling, gently begin to pull the knee while at the same time lifting the head up. In a conscious effort to round the spine, try to close the gap between the raised knee and the forehead by lowering the chin down to the chest.
  4. Remain in this position while holding the breath (kumbhaka) for a duration that is comfortable.
  5. Inhaling, lower the head down.
  6. Relax in Shavasana for a couple of breaths.
  7. Repeat the above sequence with the other leg.
  8. Now fold both the knees. Lift the feet up and wrap the arms around the knees gently pulling the knees to the chest.
  9. Exhaling, begin to lift the head up. Again, in a conscious effort to round the spine, try to close the gap between the knees and the forehead by lowering the chin down to the chest.
  10. Remain in this position while holding the breath (kumbhaka) for a duration that is comfortable.
  11. Inhaling, lower the head down.
  12. Finally rest in shavasana

Variation 2 (breath retention after inhalation)

pma

  1. Lie down on your back in Shavasana for a few breaths.
  2. Fold the right knee. Lifting the right foot up, hold the right shin with the two hands.
  3. Take a long, deep inhalation. While holding the breath, gently begin to pull the knee while at the same time lifting the head up. In a conscious effort to round the spine, try to close the gap between the raised knee and the forehead by lowering the chin down to the chest.
  4. Remain in this position while holding the breath (kumbhaka) for a duration that is comfortable.
  5. Exhaling, lower the head down.
  6. Relax in Shavasana for a couple of breaths.
  7. Repeat the above sequence with the other leg.
  8. Relax in Shavasana for a couple of breaths.
  9. Now fold both the knees. Lift the feet up and wrap the arms around the knees gently pulling the knees to the chest.
  10. Take a long, deep inhalation. While holding the breath, begin to lift the head up. Again, in a conscious effort to round the spine, try to close the gap between the knees and the forehead by lowering the chin down to the chest.
  11. Remain in this position while holding the breath (kumbhaka) for a duration that is comfortable.
  12. Exhaling, lower the head down.
  13. Finally rest in shavasana

Benefits

pma

  • Pawana-muktasana expels the gases trapped in the digestive tract and the large intestines.
  • It will help relieve the symptoms of indigestion, flatulence, stomach acidity, constipation, belching, and gases in the colon.
  • Massages the whole back, improves the flexibility and blood supply to the entire spine.
  • Stimulates kidney function.
  • It massages the internal organs – liver, pancreas, intestines etc. and improves their function.
  • Very helpful in strengthening the core muscles, flattening the stomach area.
  • Enhances blood circulation in the hip joints.
  • Brings about a healthy appetite.

Contraindications and precautions

  • Avoid practicing Wind-Relieving Pose (Pawanmuktasana) if you are suffering from hyperacidity, hernia, slip disc, menstruation, neck and back problems, and during pregnancy.
  • Use no force to bring the knees close to the chin.
  • If you suffer from neck pain or lower back pain, do not lift the head up. Instead, keep the tail bone firmly on the ground and try to bring the knees close to the chest. This will provide great relief to the lower back.
  • After PMA, a gentle sideways roll of the body will also provide relief to the spine.

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