The Pawanmuktasana series is the first sequence of yoga poses in the Satyananda tradition. It is an easy but efficient programme, beneficial for all regardless of one’s physical condition or level of experience. This programme was devised by Swami Satyananda but teachers of other styles have embraced it as well. It is a great programme for beginners because it is so easy to learn.
The Pawanmuktasana sequence favours relaxation of body and mind and stimulates the natural healing processes. In contrast to most other modern asana practices, the aim is not primarily to develop flexibility or to build strength. Instead, the P
Structure of the Pawanmuktasana sequence
The programme begins with small dynamic movements. First, you bend and extend your hands, your arms, your feet and your legs. Then, you rotate your wrists and ankles as well as other joints. The whole body is systematically covered and as a result, joints that are normally underused are addressed.
Certain movements influence blood flow, others massage internal organs and the spinal cord. Some exercises prepare your hips to sit in a meditation pose, others to stimulate your back. You should do the movements slowly and consciously in order to build up concentration. It is a precise sequence with a beginning a middle and an end.
The Pawanmuktasana series should start with savasana. When your mind is calm the energy released by the exercises are more easily distributed and absorbed. Also during the programme, there are regular breaks where you are asked to sit still or lie down on your back with your eyes closed. These moment of motionlessness are important. They harmonise the effects of the exercises and allow you to become aware of the subtle changes in your state.
The deeper exercises are at the end of the programme. The lion,
The boat pose, naukasan is another beneficial asana. While holding your breath you contract your whole body vigorously. When you let go of the tension you will feel immediate relaxation. The more you tense up the deeper the letting go afterwards.
The programme ends with a few minutes in the hare pose, shashankasana.
What the name Pawanmuktasana tells us
Pawana means air. Mukta means liberation and asana
In the yoga tradition, we believed that
Prana in Chinese medicine
The meridians in Chinese medicine correspond to the nadis of the yoga tradition. Qi corresponds to prana. The endpoints of each of the main meridians are situated in the extremities of the fingers and the toes. They are called sei points. For example, the sei point of the lung meridian is found at the tip of the thumb. That of the heart meridian is on the inside of the little finger.
The qi or prana enters and leaves the meridians at these points. The state of the energy in the endpoints reflects that of the flow of energy in the whole meridian. Little exercises like the bending your toes or fisting your hands stimulate the sei points in a way similar to that of acupuncture or acupressure.
Chinese medicine also describes gen points or source points. You find these points in the wrists, the ankles and between these joints and the
The knee joints, the hips, elbows and shoulders all have gen points. Thus, they can play a role in the functioning of the internal organs.
You can find the original explanation of sei and gen points in the Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine. It is more than two thousand years old and contains the basic theory of Chinese medicine.
Do Pawanmuktasana slowly and with
Usually, it takes a bit more than one hour to go through the P
“The Pawanmuktasana series is one of the most important series of practices…”
Swami Satyananda in Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha
The Pawanmuktasana series in Yin Yoga
Another modern yoga current that has embraced P
The pose Pawanmkutasana
There is also a yoga pose called P
The western perspective
From a western point of view, the P
These exercises also act on the blood circulation in the veins and in the lymphatic system whose role in eliminating waste is crucial.
The Pawanamuktasana series as daily practice
Daily practice of this programme helps to improve the general physical condition. It’s preparatory, preventing and healing effects are outstanding.
Even on the most advanced yoga and meditation retreats in the Satyananda tradition, like Swami Janakananda’s three month course, this programme plays an important role. I know many yoga teachers who in spite of years of practice regularly revisit this series to stay in shape. When prana flows freely in the body it also flows better in the mind. The result is sharper thoughts and deeper meditations.
Practice the Pawanmuktasana series online
In Forceful Tranquility, you can learn and practice the Pawanmuktasana series online with audio instructions. I have integrated this programme into my long yoga and meditation sessions. It is available as an independent asana programme as well.