The Pawanmuktasana series of yoga postures is an important group of practices that has a profound effect on the human body and mind. It is one of contributions from the teachings of Swami Satyananda Saraswati and can be found in his book “Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha” which was one of the core texts that I studied when undertaking yoga teacher training.
There are three parts to this series, the first of which we looked at in our Zoom classes this week. As a whole, the series is valuable for understanding the meaning of asana by developing awareness of the body’s movements and the subtle effects they have at the various levels of being. The series is very useful as a preparatory practice as it opens up all the major joints and relaxes the muscles of the body and can be practised by anyone: beginners or advanced practitioners, young or elderly.
The word pawan means “wind” or “prana”, mukta means “release” and asana means “pose”. Pawanmuktasana therefore means a group of asanas that remove any blockages that prevent the free flow of energy in the body and mind.
We focused on Part 1 in class this week which is called the “anti-rheumatic” group as it is concerned with loosening up the joints of the body. It is particularly beneficial for people with rheumatism, arthritis, high blood pressure, heart problems or other ailments where vigorous physical exercise is not advised but equally it can be used to prepare the body before a stronger asana practice and to retain suppleness around the joints. It brings to the practitioner a deeper awareness of the body’s movements, reduces tension from the joints, encourages the free flow of energy around the body and helps to improve coordination and self-awareness. It is a lovely gentle practice and well worth including in a regular home practice. I have just made a simple video recapping the postures that we looked at in class from Part 1.
[Text source credit: Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha by Swami Satyananda Saraswati]